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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Obituary on teachers day!


Good evening Fellow toastmasters and dear guests.
How many of you have watched the Hindi movie Bhag Milkha Bhag. (Run Milkha Run).

In this movie about the legendary Indian Athlete Milkha Singh there is a scene where Milkha is felicitated by old colleagues from the training academy amidst a lot of camraderie and fun.

Everyone at his Alma mater is heaping praises upon Milkha for his achievement in winning so many races.

Milkha then, quietly goes upto his Mentor Havaldar Gurudev Singh and transfers the medals from his own neck onto his mentor’s neck while thanking him for being there for him when it mattered most.

This shows the kind of regard that Milkha had for his teacher which prompted him to bestow this honor on Gurudev Singh.

In order to illustrate how a teacher can have a positive influence on his or her pupil, I want to talk about a teacher of mine who later went on to be the school principal to the delight of the students. (Honest)

I am talking about Fr. Tony Fonseca, a sports-loving, silver-haired, smart-looking Maths genius, who also put his school on the sports map of Mumbai besides helping students understand Newton’s laws and the theorem of Pythagoras.

Fr. Tony's methods were ahead of his time.

I remember that I had learnt one of the first lessons in team-work from him during the inter-class football matches. Father Tony used the black board to explain that we should not try to dodge and dribble past the opponents and instead we should use short passes! (Analytical and logical)

Coming to Father Tony’s teaching methods, the examples that Fr. Tony used to give in his Physics and Mathematics class, made remembering the subject child's play, they were that simple. (honest)

For instance, for explaining the principles of magnetism and how opposite poles attract, he spoke about how boys from our school (A Boys’convent) were drawn towards the window sills, during recess at the nearby girls convent.  

Another incident I remember proved to be one of my earliest lessons in planning and preparation.

Well, our class had to visit SnehaSadan, an institution for orphaned children which Father Tony was closely associated with, for charity and gift the children therein, from the money we had collected during a fund-raiser campaign.

As we were undecided on what gift to buy, Fr. Tony gave us an example that if you have to buy a gift for a man he would like to receive a shirt, whereas in case of children they would take to sports as a fish would take to water.

A few of us went with the sports gear and we were pleasantly surprised to see that Fr. Tony had prepared for the entire class to be there at Snehasadan. That was the degree of preparedness that he believed in.

For Fr. Tony service was a way of life and he often took time out to visit the homes of children and the children whose homes he visited were indeed blessed.

It was not a surprise to me when I learnt that Fr. Tony was the one who was instrumental in getting ex-students from our class to collect on the occasion of the 25th anniversary Alumni reunion.

I had sent Fr. Tony an SMS to wish him on last New Year's eve and received a reply after a while saying Ratan have a great year and keep smiling. That was his trademark style.... spreading smiles.

Moving on as I recall the contribution a great teacher makes to the life of a student, I would say that

You educate as well as reassure.
You inform as well as inspire.
You open our minds as well as our eyes.
 You've touched our lives.

Yes, You are truly the Unsung Heroes.

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