In the 21st Century, most children, like myself, are born to busy parents. We have heard the old saying,” Children are lumps of clay, they’ll take in whatever shape you assign them.” Unfortunately, in this century, our parents shed their entire blood and sweat at the workplace to provide us with the best life and hence, circumstances do not permit them the time to provide us with a beautiful shape when we are just a lump of clay. That is when teachers play the most critical role, by giving us a unique shape that helps us excel in every sphere of life. As my parents were working, I used to spend most of my leisure time reading books. When I was in the first standard, our class teacher told us a very empowering story,” Did you know, children? An alcoholic father had two sons. One son followed his father’s footsteps and started drinking saying,” My father was an alcoholic, I had no choice.” Meanwhile, the younger son worked tremendously and got a reputed job in a multinational company. He said,” My father was an alcoholic. I had to support my family. I had no choice.” So, children, two sons went through the same tragedy but one of them chose to step into the light while the other chose to remain in the dark. You will also come across pathetic circumstances but what you make out of it will define exactly what you are and lead you towards your destiny.” That story has left an everlasting impression on me, and since childhood, I have tried my best to make a mark everywhere I go no matter how terrible the odds are. When teachers interact with children from a very tender age in this century, they imbibe values that they can carry in their hearts forever in their lives and brave every challenge they face.
Growing up, I had a habit of lying about little things, for example, if I was late to any class owing to my laziness, I would always blame the traffic jam. So, that day, we had to submit our homework and as expected, I had forgotten. So, I told our English teacher,” Ma’am, actually I did my homework but I forgot to put my copy in the bag.” My teacher told me that I was lying and when I tried to convince her otherwise, she said,” You can just say that you didn’t do the work. Utmost, I will scold you or punish you. If you don’t have it in you to face a simple punishment and have to lie to avoid it, how will you face the greater challenges in life?” I was numb after that. I apologized and promised her, as well as myself, never to lie again no matter how dire the consequences would be.
During my college days, I interned under an Advocate to get practical learning about the law. On the first day, he asked me to read about a concept and handed me the book. The language of the book was so baffling that after five minutes, I kept the book aside and started studying from random blogs available on the internet. When he asked me certain questions, my answers told him that I did not do any proper legal reading, which was to be done by reading that book only. The thrashing I got, I still get chills down my spine when I think of it. His strictness compelled me to read books, case files, and other documents, and by the end of the internship, I was competent enough to contribute to his work and be a useful resource to him. On the last day of the internship, he handed me a small note stating,” Gold radiates even brighter after it is put on fire. I had dealt with you harshly every time to bring out the best in you. Here’s a small reward for enduring all my tantrums and performing your best at work.”
And then, he handed me an envelope with three thousand rupees in cash. My joy knew no bounds. As we step into the professional world, we are clueless or just not motivated to put our best foot forward. That is why, teachers are important to bring out the best in us so that we can serve society through our respective professions.
Coming to the latest incident, a boy used to stare at me in a very indecent way, pass cheap comments, and ask me out despite telling him ‘no’ for the thousandth time.” One day, he was in his usual behavior with me in the library and crossed all limits by touching me inappropriately. I slapped him and warned him never to get near me in any way. That evening, I got certain texts from an unknown number. Those were my morphed illicit photos. A call came. It was his voice. “Come with me tomorrow in the hotel room. We will spend some ‘quality time’ together if you know what I mean.” I was shocked and didn’t know what to do because if those pictures went out, I’d be rusticated and my parents would throw me out of the house. The next day, during the lectures, came his horrifying texts. “Come today to the hotel. Otherwise, you will face dire consequences. I will create such a mess that this one lifetime will be short to clear it.”
With that phone in my hand, I was petrified. Just then, the professor came by and snatched the phone. And accidentally, read all the texts. “Meet me at the Principal’s office after lunch,” he said in an extremely stern voice. The entire world fell apart for me and I thought I was doomed forever. With trembling hands and beads of perspiration all over my forehead, I entered the Principal’s office. The Principal said immediately,” Your Sir has told me everything. You need not worry. That boy will be rusticated and henceforth, if anybody bothers you, make sure you inform the authorities immediately.”
I had never known what relief was until now. I went up to Sir and said,” Sir, Thank you will
be very little to describe what you have done for me.”
He said,” Whatever I did, was my duty. As a girl, if anyone tries to blackmail you for anything,
always stand up bravely. Your fear will give them the liberty to crush you down.”
“Yes Sir, I shall remember,” saying so, I went back to the class.
Life is a vast sea, where we can get lost anytime due to storms, blizzards, or any such circumstance. Teachers are like the northern star, that will always guide us to our destination whenever we get lost. In the 21st century, we face so many challenges like peer pressure, mental health issues, imposter syndrome and every other thing that we are not able to convey to our parents, and our friends don’t have enough grey hairs to give proper advice.
In such a situation, teachers help us sail through all our difficulties unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. Hence, they are our true heroes, who sacrifice relentlessly to bring vibrance to our lives.
About this article The article, "Elevate Teachers: Society's Unsung Heroes" by Somdatta Ghosh, emphasizes the pivotal role teachers play in shaping individuals amidst the challenges of the 21st century. Drawing from personal experiences, the author highlights the transformative impact of teachers in molding character, instilling values, and empowering students to navigate life's hurdles. The narrative underscores how teachers act as beacons of guidance, offering support and wisdom, especially in facing contemporary challenges such as harassment and societal pressures. This article was recognized for its excellence in a national-level writing competition, underscoring the importance of acknowledging and honoring teachers as true heroes.