Dear Teachers and Students,
When a good teacher and a good pupil come together, astonishing results follow and under ideal conditions incredible transmutations of the personality take place. The greatest demand made today on the contemporary teacher is to revolutionize education and thus aid in the process of transformation of human nature. The three instruments provided to the teacher for this purpose are instruction, example and influence.
A good teacher makes a sparing use of instruction by words. He instructs without instructing and allows the inner mastery of his own knowledge to shine out through actions rather than through words.
The second and more important tool at the hands of the good teacher is example. The example expected from the teacher is not merely her outward behaviour, but her inner life, her aims and the sincerity with which she pursues those aims. It is sometimes argued that professional competence and a power of communication alone should be expected from teachers. But this contention ignores the fact that the example set by the teacher’s inner and outer life is automatically communicated to the pupils, whether this is intended or not.
Giving a good example is an inherent part of the teacher’s task.
Even more powerful than example is the direct influence the teacher exercises upon his students. Influence is the power of contact and the nearness of the teacher’s presence. A good teacher who is always intent upon cultivating healthy and positive attitudes and traits is bound to have a salutary effect on students.
A good teacher is a constant learner. She not only renews her knowledge in the field of her specialization, but she also continues to enrich her personality and strives to achieve deeper and higher realizations.
Let us now turn to you – dear students.
At an important stage of your life, there comes a choice, and the quality of the student will be judged by and will depend upon the choice you make. This is the choice between the good and the pleasant, shreyas and preyas, to use the terms of the Katha Upanishad. Dear students, the secret of self-discipline lies in seeking good and finding pleasure in it.
Making the right choice will become easier for you, if you have in you the most sublime of qualities, sincerity. Indeed, sincerity is the golden key to continuous and integral learning. We are all students – whatever age or station of life we may be in. And no student can continue to remain a good pupil unless he has an ever-fresh sincerity which grows continuously and so becomes a burning fire of integral sincerity, that is, sincerity in all parts of the being.
In testing times such as what we are experiencing today, it is the responsibility of both the student and the teacher to work together, even if it is remotely. This is your time and regardless of what the situation, it isn’t coming back. Our job today is to make the most of this time and continue forward in our educational journey.
I am certain that if we work on self-discipline and truly commit to not letting this Pandemic get in our way of learning, then there is no stopping us from achieving our goals!