Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Monday Musings 300 Teachers, Predictions and Sundry Lessons

Teachers, Predictions and Sundry Lessons

I have always wondered how teachers remember all their students. I wonder if they are able to predict well enough how will the lives of the brats that they teach turn out to be. I have always wondered if they have been proved wrong – either when their favourites do not end the way they had imagined or when the ones they had no hopes for surprise them for the good. I also wonder what do they go through when they life takes them by surprise in such cases.
I must make a declaration about what has triggered the above. Two incidents happened too close to each other to be ignored as isolated events. About two months ago I came in contact with someone (lets call him J) who happened to study in the same college as I studied in but at a space of about a decade. We had absolute no common connections whatsoever and our meeting now was complete happenstance. Once our acquaintance was made he mentioned that a certain professor would often make a mention of me (rather kindly) and in the same breath along with the mention he would also make a certain prophecy about me. As J recounts this I am touched and surprised by the fact that my teacher remembered me even after decade of me leaving college - even though we were never in touch after I passed out of the institution. The nature of the prophecy is not material to the point – what is material is that a certain prophecy was made, in absentia and from memory.
Cut to a few days back I came across a professor from another institution that I subsequently went to – a place known for its liberal political views (in contrast to the times we have come to inhabit), liberal business views and overall promotion of inclusive, mutli dimensional and multi disciplinary view to education. The head of the institution there lived, breathed and through staunch practice, promoted and protected those liberal tendencies (never in words – always in actions) in a world around him which was quite the contrary. He is retired now – Let’s call him X. So this professor of mine, whom I met a few days ago, upon knowing my work on and with Kabeer and upon listening to my political beliefs and general stance of things, commented ‘X would be proud of you’. Again a kind opinion – but as I said that the nature of opinion is not material – what is material is how often do teachers turn out to be correct or wrong on such predictions and how do they feel about being correct or wrong – finally what can we in the corporate world learn from it.
I would like to believe teachers - at least most of them, and even when we do not quite like them while we are under their tutelage – are optimistic about their wards. They believe most of us will turn out to be good. I also believe over time they also acquire this wisdom that academic brilliance, a general disposition towards discipline and obedience is not a very great marker of future success. I think they get it even when they do not quite express it. I think most of them develop a sixth sense about these things after a while.
What I am not sure about is the following – what happens when they are proved wrong? Do they regret having predicted to too early the powers of meandering destiny that each kid brings along? Do they rubbish it as exception to the rule or they go back and stop making those prophecies in the rare cases they end up being wrong?
Those of us who are in the professions of leading people – how accurate have we been in predicting the overall success and longevity of the people who come to be associated with us. How accurate have been our predictions – how many times have we been proved wrong. How many times those who we had written off , in another space, place, profession have turned out to be rockstars. What lessons have we learnt from these experiences? As a lot - do we give up on people too soon?
The two teachers remind me yet again – not to give up on people too soon. They might make us proud eventually. || || @musingsbyguru

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