Today I am here to narrate a story, a splendid tale of how a teacher changed the course of a student’s life forever.  This story chronicles the student’s inspiring and motivating shift, from an individual who despised a subject to one who has now mastered it. So let us begin-

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.“  Albert Einstein.

Tanisha grew up hating English until class 7. Until then, English to her was this legacy that the British had left behind, something that was alien and something that was to be shunned. However, this was only until class 8 when she got a new English teacher, Mr. Sharma. Mr. Sharma was the one teacher who intervened and changed Tanisha’s outlook towards English as a language and towards life in general.

He awakened Tanisha to the real depth of the English language, and introduced her to a whole new world of literature and poetry. He was the one who convinced her that there was an unlocked door waiting for her to open. He believed, without a doubt, that Tanisha had tremendous talent and huge potential for English. He had no real evidence, but just believed. It was he who helped Tanisha understand that a particular language is only a means to a far more significant end. Whether it was English or Hindi or any other language, if it helped achieve the final objective, it did not really matter what language was used.

Today, thanks to Mr. Sharma’s intervention, and I must admit not always taken in the right spirit at Tanisha’s end, she is an English buff who digs into Shakespeare, relishes Milton, loves the charm of English literature and is most at home with the English classics. It was the English language which opened the doors of great Indian poets, novelists and writers to her. She was equally at home with Vikram Seth, R.K Narayan, Arvind Adiga and so many other greats.

The transition in her was not sudden and certainly not an easy one.Mr. Sharma was the one who helped her with this journey. He had been goading Tanisha to take more interest in all that the English language had to offer. Tanisha on the other hand had been wriggling out on some pretext or the other. He continued to show this unexplained faith in her. He was a friend guiding his student and cheering her on. He recommended books to Tanisha, tried igniting in her a passion to read, and engaged by spending a lot of his own time and effort to help her develop a love for the language that she had grown to hate.

The day of awakening arrived when he gave her ‘A Passage to India’ by E.M Forster to read. Despite Tanisha’s reluctance and protests, he put on this no nonsense attitude and told her that she would have to read the entire book and then summarize it for him. Tanisha started reading reluctantly; however surely but certainly found herself immersed in it. She could visualize herself as a character in the 1920s taking part in the Indian Independence Movement, actually feel living the lives of the four main characters in the novel. The clash of cultures in British India after the turn of the century flashed vividly before her eyes. By the time she finished reading, she was yearning for more.

Over the next several months, Tanisha’s journey took her to other destinations. From novels she moved on to poetry. She started reading and writing articles. Her articles started getting published in the school magazine. All this came about because she had found a special teacher. When she was down and the world seemed dark and empty Mr. Sharma lifted her up in spirit and made that dark world seem bright and full. He taught Tanisha how to extract the true meaning of poems and how to look into the depth of an article. His classes were the ones that she looked forward to the most. Not surprisingly, her English grades improved significantly. She started taking part in debates and competitions and was doing very well. Today, she sees herself making a career connected with the English language.

Tanisha was not the only one whose life was transformed by Mr. Sharma. He wanted to make an impact on every student’s life. He cared about all his students, their studies and their goals in life. He taught Tanisha so many lessons, not just in English but of life as well. His discipline, selflessness and love for his profession are some of the virtues I believe Tanisha tried imbibing in herself.

In class 10, Tanisha moved to another city and another school. While Mr.Sharma is no longer there to personally guide her, I know he is always there praying for her success and that of all his other students. Even today, when Tanisha has doubts or is not sure of something, he is only a phone-call away!

Benjamin Franklin could not have said it any better when he said ” Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.

This is the ending of a beautiful narrative of how an individual’s life was changed, on how their outlook towards another language was changed. This signifies the influence and force that reside with teachers, and how they are the biggest contributors in sculpting a child’s future!

This is not a fictional account, but it is the true life story of being guided by an educator, instructor and mentor, told from a first person account by nonetheless your storyteller herself!

An educator, instructor and mentor
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