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The role of a teacher in a child’s life

Over the last few years, we have seen a different kind of cinema dominate the Indian film industry, and successfully at that, we might add! We have seen some heart-warming stories succeed which larger than life potboilers would have, normally, overshadowed.

And before you think that the blog here discusses Indian movies, let’s clarify it does not! However, movies can help communicate the importance of certain relationships in our life quite effectively. And as we celebrate Teacher’s Day, we thought, what better way to understand the significance of a teacher in a child’s life, than to look back at some of the heart rendering stories that reveal the significance of the role a teacher can play in a child’s life. Whether it’s the dramatic “Black” that portrays how a teacher helped a physically challenged child to not only blossom into a young lady, but eventually also find her purpose in life. Or the subtler “Taare Zameen Par” that aptly showcases how one encouraging teacher can be the difference between a talented young boy finding himself or not.  Even the more recently released “Stanley Ka Dabba” teaches us a thing or two on how children can flourish or wither, depending on how their teachers respond to them and their ideas.

Yes! A student teacher relationship can have a significant influence on a child’s development.  Take for example the character of “Nikumbh sir” from “Taare Zameen Par” who prodded each child to imagine beyond the ordinary, and identified the potential in “Ishaan”, when no one else could, not even his/her own parents.  Or for that matter even “Rosy maam” in Stanley Ka Dabba, who with her small words of encouragement, instantly lit up Stanley’s face each time she entered the class.

A role of responsibility

A teacher that provides the right encouragement and direction to his/her students, can actually help them grow into a fine young individuals of tomorrow, by imparting values such as perseverance, hard work, determination and respect. Right from the child’s toddler days, his/her interaction with this parent-like figure begins, and goes right into his/her adulthood, and while the faces that interact with him/her may change over the years, the role remains a constant.

The way a teacher influences a child in his/her life, is different in different phases, lets take a look at how a teacher moves from being a guide to a mentor to a friend, to his/her students in order to help them grow into capable individuals of tomorrow.

In the early years: A guide: The role of a teacher for in a child’s early years is that of a guide. A guide who leads them down new paths.  A guide who walks beside them and keeps them safe from harm, while letting them explore all the new things around them. A teacher in a toddler’s life is essentially a partner in their learning experience, and is a person who encourages them to find their own answers and discovering the world that they live in for the first time.

Pre-teen to early teenage years: A mentor: Once teachers have guided young toddlers to find their own voice, in the next phase of a child’s life, teachers can help them explore special interests or talents, which can have a great impact on their future development. At this tender and influential age, children often look to their teachers as role models, and the qualities that a teacher demonstrates through their own behavior can affect a child later in life. Even the way a teacher communicates and expresses himself/herself can be a big influence on a child’s behavior. This is also a stage, when teachers can be firm with their students, by setting boundaries for them, on what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Children in their school environment with the help of teachers often imbibe values such as punctuality, perseverance and morality.

Early Adult life: A friend: The student teacher relationship is primarily one of trust, guidance, and encouragement, and as a child grows into a young adult, a teacher often starts being a friend and confidant for the student. If a teacher majorly influences a student, he/she is likely to seek advice and counsel from him/her on the future he/she should build, on the choices that he/she can make, the set of ideals he/she should follow.  Teachers shoulder the responsibility of breeding good citizens of tomorrow, by not only providing education but also providing students with a chance to mold their future into a bright and promising one. Take for instance to “Professor Duggal”, in “Do Dooni Char” who was an ordinary middle class mathematics professor, but yet set an example of integrity and honesty, such that his students thought him as an idol long after passing out of his class.

It is often said, education is the foundation of progress of a nation, and without teachers education itself would be incomplete. To sum up, on how important teachers are in a child’s life, we would like to quote the famous American historian, Henry Adams, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”  – Happy Teacher’s Day!

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