Monday, December 11, 2017

Footnote 9 ( Being a teacher)

During Emergency, when it was clear that the revolution was not round the corner and in capitalism, all of us have to do alienated labor to survive. I zeroed on teaching, as it is one job in which the alienation can be minimized, if one wishes to. Also it could me made (partly) into activism by motivating students into critical, rational, thinking human beings, irrespective of the curriculum aimed at contrary. I wish I had conducted myself well, ha ha ha, I would have 'spoiled' many more batches of students. What a wisdom at the verge of the retirement. I really feel grateful to the circumstances that I fortunately got a teaching job in a prestigious college of DU. I have really enjoyed and am still. I was hostel warden for 3 years and would be probably rare teacher who would say to have thoroughly enjoyed the tenure. I never thought that I could be an administrator but you continuously invent yourself. Once Abhishek Rathour, (now an IRS) told me (probably jokingly) that I was not a good administrator, I had told him that I was not an administrator at all. Forget about good and bad. A teacher can be best administrator in matters involving dealing with the fellow human beings. Abhishek's comment was for not taking action against anybody except love letters. I had told him that taking action is the easiest option, and I don't do easy things. Love letter was the only punishment anyone got.The "punished" ones love me more(I feel). It would be put up in dining room notice board for a week. Before shifting in the warden's huge bungalow I did a brief research on the history-geography of the hostel and apart from other things, resolved to: 1. end the ego war without ever allowing the police in the hostel. 2. No one shall get the honor of rustication. Our students are not criminals. They are intelligent, young people full of possibilities and potentialities. They are (as all of us have been) in the most important phase of the life full of youthful energy and identity crisis. Tell them that the work identity is the best. I shall write about my hostel experience some other time. My hostel students are as dear students, as those of my class. This dear student of mine, Rahul Kumar, who tagged me in his comment, was a hostler and leader of one of the two 'hostile' camps. For indulging in some petty rifts, I had issued well worded show cause notices (love letters as they call it) to 4 students including him. He submitted a very well written assignment and got highest and thought I am pleased with him as I had asked all 4 to talk to me writing first. He came to me "Pranam Sir". Without responding to his greetings, I asked him to get lost as I was not talking to him. I wanted to share some my teaching experience but footnote on hostel has over shadowed it. Details, some other time. Yesterday I had lunch with Santana Khanikar (Assistant Prof. in JNU) in a JNU canteen. She had been a wonderful student and is an extremely good human being. I always "envied" her for being gifted with scholarly patience and intellectual discipline. Another wonderful student from her batch is her "country-cousin" (Assamese) Jyotishree Nath (presently working with International Red Cross). Most my students make me feel proud. I stop this comment here otherwise more important things shall be left out, I will certainly share my experiences with my student. My informal students number as much as formal ones. But being teacher provides space and legitimacy to informal teaching. In the very first class I tell them that key to any knowledge is questioning -- anything and everything beginning from one's own mindset and to "unlearn" the socially acquired values independent of conscious will and replace them with rational ones. Wish my all the students to fly high as if even the sky is not the limit.