PERSPECTIVES: TEACHERS

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“Teaching; The One Profession That Creates All Others” ` Unknown

 

I recently received news that one of the teachers whom I respected very much passed away. Though such news is shared more often as we all advance in age, it was still a shock.

At times such at these one tends to hit the Pause and Reflect button. Though both Time and Life are difficult to define, their irreplaceability accords them a value to be generously shared with those immediately close to us, our wider circle of friends and those beyond.

There are certain professions – nay, callings – where the ripple effect reverberate down the years, decades, even centuries and millennia. It reflects in how we have been formed and transformed, how we think and the values we have made our own, instilling principles and how we carry those forward to those who come after us – our children, their children and their children’s children.

The teaching profession is one of those professions, and as I have said in a private conversation – for me one of the more noble ones. I include farmers without whom there would be no food on the table. Then there are others such as physicians and those in the medical profession – whose effects are much more visible in the shorter term. And there are other professions that touch our lives – physically, emotionally, intellectually, mentally, socially, and spiritually.

Teachers. They hold us in the palms of their hands during the most formative years of our lives to mold us, guide us, lead us, mentor us, inspire us, prepare us for a life beyond 4 classroom walls – to be a friend, even a confidante – to perhaps turn us into giants on whose shoulders other giants will eventually stand to move the world forward – perhaps not realizing that they themselves are the giant foundation layers and one of Life’s Golden Threads who have to patiently wait many years to see the outcome of the seeds they have watered.

I believe a good teacher dwells in you for life – and is reflected in those who come after you. We do not have to go far to have evidence of this: Socrates was the teacher of Plato who was in turn the teacher of Aristotle. These three philosopher-teachers laid the foundation of Western philosophy and science. Plato founded the Academy which was the first institution of higher learning in the Western World. His dialogues have been used to teach philosophy, logic, mathematics, ethics and religion. Alexander the Great once commented about Aristotle “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”

No-one has a right to have a good teacher – it is a privilege. And not all teachers are “created equal” in our lives. Dieter Pakendorf was one of those whom had been more than equal – and one of the few whom I had accepted as mentor-teachers during the 5 years I spent in high school from the age of 12 onwards. Since many of us stayed in the boarding school, these teachers also assumed the roles of older brothers, as most of us would only be able to return home every 6 weeks or even once a quarter.

No doubt they also shaped me, guided me, helped me develop and instilled principles which I still adhere to until this day. I have become a life-long learner who at the age of nearly 70 still study, read and write on a daily basis.

 

Good teachers make us students for life.

RIP “Meneer” Pakendorf

 

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