As we celebrate Teachers’ Day today, September 5th in India, we honour a rich and timeless tradition of the Guru-Shishya parampara (Teacher-Student relationship) that has been the bedrock of our Indian civilisation. For millennia, seekers around the world have turned to some of the finest Teachers in history for spiritual, intellectual and emotional learning and that vast source of Knowledge continues to Inspire millions in the form of Yoga, Meditation and more.
I’ve been privileged to attend the finest of schools and through the institution of St Joseph’s, imbibe many qualities that great Teachers stand for. I’ve been blessed to also live many years with my Guru, wherein the subject I studied was Life itself. When you live with a Yogi, you don’t go to learn Yoga – rather to become a witness to how a Yogi lives and through that you are inspired to grow yourself. We all have our boxes, pigeon holes that we exist in – however, to live around a truly liberated being shows us our own limitations; and hence drives us to break through our self-constructed barriers.
Qualities of a Good Teacher
Firstly, there is no such thing as a bad Teacher – cause if you give the person a couple of years; they probably won’t be around as Teachers. That a person survives as a Teacher in the free market usually means that there is some quality worth learning from the Individual. Last year the BBC did a research piece on the toughest jobs to replace by AI and Counselling and Teaching were deemed to be the toughest jobs to replace. These require Emotional Intelligence.
Having said that here are a few Qualities that would serve anyone well:
- Stay a STUDENT forever: It’s easier becoming a Teacher these days then it is to remain a Student. The faster we learn to discern the difference between Wisdom and Information the better. We’ll then understand the value of putting in the long years fine-tuning our craft as Teachers.
- Emotional Quotient: At the heart of the Teacher-Student relationship is Emotional empathy. This depth of understanding and acceptance from Teacher towards Student brings about a real possibility for Growth and Nurturing.
- Inspirational & Motivational: Even though I don’t stay with my Teacher anymore, I do go to visit him once a year. Every year I visit him, he’s doing something totally different in Life. Right now, my Teacher Bharat Thakur is a painter. For the 14 years I’ve known him, he’s been everything from a Yoga & Meditation Teacher, to a Movie producer, Software entrepreneur, Farmer, Poet, Cross-country cyclist, Mineral-water & Garments business owner – to much more. This ability to constantly re-invent himself and keep growing is what Inspires me.
On this day, I wish all of you the very best to seek out the best in yourself – to get Inspired and to Inspire people around you through your own Mentoring processes. The World certainly needs more great Teachers!