Tuesday, March 5, 2013


                     A young professor of sociology in the prestigious Johns Hopkins University, Maryland state, USA, sent his students on a special assignment to the slums of Baltimore. They were directed to study systematically the living conditions, background, attitudes, aptitudes, aspirations and prospects of 200 children residing in the slums and make scientific predictions about their probable future. The students interviewed  200 poor boys from the slums and studied their sociological and economic background and problems. After analysis they predicted that at least 90% (i.e.180) of them were sure to grow up as criminals and end up in prisons.
                     The report of the results of their research and the 200 cards describing the details of each boy, were left in the Department. It was discovered about 25 years later by the Professor. Out of curiosity, he asked a fresh batch of students to enquire about the present fate of the 200 boys in order to verify the accuracy of the predictions of the earlier batch. They could meet 90% (i.e. 180) of the original 200 boys.
                     The results of the new investigation were very surprising. Only four of them had ever been to a jail. The rest of them had developed their career successfully and were well placed in society. Many of them had become renowned service-minded citizens.
                     They were asked about the factors that led to their successful transformation. The investigators received the same answer from all of them. They acknowledged with gratitude the sincere and selfless services of a lady teacher who taught them in the local school. She had provided timely advices and valuable guidance to them during their school days. Her tremendous influence was a corrective force throughout their life.
                     The students searched for this mysterious teacher who made a miraculous change in her students' fate. Finally they found her in a home for aged persons. She was about seventy years old but could remember the faces of her former students. When asked about her immense influence on her students, she calmly replied, "I have not made any miracle. I just loved each one of my students as my own children."
                           The students imbibed from their teacher the virtues of life. Supported by her affectionate assistance, constant guidance and encouraging comments, they could boldly face the problems of life and shape their conscience and career to a level of perfection.
                     The seven letters in the word, 'TEACHER' may be expanded to list the seven essential qualities of an ideal teacher: Talented, Enthusiastic, Affectionate, Co-operative, Humble, Encouraging and Reliable.
                     The word denoting 'teacher' in Indian languages is 'GURU' which is derived from two syllables 'Gu' and 'Ru' in the Sanskrit language. 'Gu' represents the darkness of ignorance, especially spiritual ignorance. 'Ru' denotes the light or radiance which destroys the darkness of ignorance. The Guru of ancient India was a saintly sage, a beacon of spiritual light who looked after every facet of the life of the students who used to stay with him throughout the period of their study. He used to impart spiritual knowledge along with material knowledge for the balanced, integrated and complete development the students' personality involving the body, mind, intellect and soul of the students.
                     Teaching is an art, a science, a mission and a divine vocation. It does not end in the intellectual interpretation of ideas, concepts and theories. It aims at the physical, mental, moral, emotional and intellectual development of the students. Information imparted should lead to formation of character and transformation of the head (intellect), heart (emotions), hands(actions) and habits (life-style) of the students.
                     Henry Adams said, "A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops." The Bible teaches that those who have taught many people to do what is right will shine like the stars forever.
© By Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India, Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally, Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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