But I soon realized that regular classroom teaching and popular guest lectures are extremely different. In a classroom I have to address 20-30 young boys and girls, ages between 19 and 21. Every word I deliver, every sentence I complete, my eye and body language are keenly observed by 40 to 60 curious eyes. Any slip in any area you invite uncomfortable state of affairs. It took me a couple of years in becoming comfortable in my new role.
After completing a long professional career of over four decades in a multinational industry, I returned to my home town and own University as an Emeritus faculty member to teach post graduate studies to boys and girls on the subject of my specialization. I often used to deliver popular industry based lectures to students and faculties of various Universities and Engineering colleges during my professional tenure. I contemplated that classroom teaching on a programmed course would be equally easy.
I usually like to share my long experience with my students and tell them to be regular in class, attentive and participative so that they can learn well and perform their best in the examination. But during this process I come across a unique, un-con vincible and surprising student.
I noticed that this particular student was not attending a single theory and practical class throughout the session. I learnt that the student was working as a primary school teacher in his remote village. But he kept contact with his class mates and probably know what was being taught. He also managed to appear in the post graduate final year exams and to my complete surprise he scored the highest marks in both theory and practical.
The next surprise occurred when he topped the selection list in the campus interviews. He came to me thereafter as a mark of respect and to take my advice. His passion was to teach primary class students in his remote village just like his father, uncle and brother. He had to decide between his passion and taking up a job with a MNC.
I advised him, “Teaching primary school students in the remote village is a noble cause in life. But think of a scorching summer noon in front of the University road, 10 to 15 years from now, a luxury car stops next to you, the dark window glass slides down, a cool breeze soothes your face and the person in the driving seat says,” Hello”. He is none other than your classmate of this PG class. If you think you will not repent at that moment, be sure, and then please feel free to continue teaching the school children.”
He made his decision. He has changed two multinational companies by now, has kept frequent contact with me to share his achievement, happiness and sorrow. May God bless all my students and make them stay in the right path to give them happiness in life.
We think the author’s advise to his student was not about achieving the materialistic things in life. It is about seeking the bigger things in life, things that give you prosperity, happiness and content. The bigger things also create a gateway to support all the passions and dreams in life.
This story has been provided by Dr. Swapan Haldar, a professor at Presidency University and Calcutta University and author of many books on Mining and Geology. He is also a passionate story teller and believes in sharing his life experiences. We are honored that he shared this story with us. An important life lesson for all of us, to implement in our life and to teach our children.