Since our childhood, there are several people who are instrumental in shaping us as a person. One of the most important roles, in this aspect, is of parents and our teachers. There are teachers who have profound influence on our life and whose guidance help us reach new heights. And then there are a few teachers out there who leave no stones unturned to make your life nothing short of a nightmare.
I was unfortunate enough to study under one such person who had such a bitter effect on my life that I still cannot get over it.
He was our Mathematics teacher. I first met him when I was in the 7th standard. The very first question he asked upon entering our class was how each of us fared in the previous mathematics examination and it seemed from his gestures as if he already had made a mental note of the list of his 'elite students'.
From the very first day, due to some incomprehensible and unfathomable reason, he really disliked me.
I was not particularly good in maths and my maths grades were not something to boast about but still I managed to score decent marks. As a teacher, it is expected that he should encourage and motivate each and every student and not a select few and he should in fact give special attention to the academically weak students so as to help them overcome the fear.
I am not sure whether in my case, it was the fear of the subject or the fear of the teacher which prevented me from scoring good grades in that particular subject.
Every day, he used to come to class and miss no opportunity to ridicule and humiliate me in front of the entire class.
I was told that maths was not my cup of tea and that I was unworthy to be a science student considering my low level of intellect and that all I was capable of doing was mugging up theoretical subjects and vomit them on the answer sheets as that requires practically no application of brains.
He shattered every ounce of self confidence and belief I had in no time. I was literally tired of his incessant taunts and never ending insults. I made it a point to skip school on the days he had classes with us. Gradually, there came a point where my parents were called and told that their child should take up history as all she could do was "memorise" things without understanding any of it.
No wonder my grades and self confidence were both declining. In fact after a certain time, I actually gave up practicing maths altogether because I actually started believing that I was the dumbest possible student and maths was really not my cup of tea.
But like they say, every cloud has a silver lining, similarly the silver lining in my life was my elder brother who understood my ordeal, having been a sufferer of such humiliation himself. He ultimately took charge of my education a few days before my board exams and with his unconditional support and motivation, not only did I manage to score well in my exams but I also was one of the top scorers in mathematics from my school.
I never met that teacher after leaving school nor do I have any intentions of meeting as I don't have any amount of respect left for him after what he did.
Sir, if you are reading this, I am sorry to say that respect doesn't come just like that, you have to earn it.
Another thing, stop demoralizing academically weak students, rather help them explore their true potential and work towards restoring their self confidence and not shattering it completely.
I really hope no one has to go through the mental trauma that I went through during his tenure. It is also high time people stop belittling subjects like history where the general notion is that it is all about mugging up. No. Every subject requires understanding and has its own value.