Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Don't Get First Class...

...Be first class!

That's what a teacher at school would say to us. Unfortunately he passed on before we got to senior school, but in many ways, his teaching has outlived him.

He taught English Literature, did Mr. Joe Sheth. One of those aristocratic teachers, he had an aura about him. An air of class and panache. His leisurely afternoon smokes in the Gent's Staffroom were commonplace, much to the chagrin of fellow teachers and most certainly the school principal. His faults notwithstanding, the man left an impression on you.

I only wish he had taught us Julius Caesar like he did for the batches 3 or 4 years senior to us. I love the play even without him teaching it to me and I can only imagine the effect his interpretation of the play would have had on me.

I loved school life, the rowdy lunch breaks in an all-boys school, playing dodge-ball, this sometimes painful game called abba doobi, volleyball, cricket, football... the works. The days we got detention for making nuisances of ourselves, the few classes that I enjoyed, art, physics (at times), english literature and a few others.

But one of the things I'll be grateful to my alma mater for is the times spent with a few wonderful teachers who were also outstanding characters.

While I may have taken the first part of Joe Sheth's quote ("Don't get first class, be first class.") a bit too seriously, it is the second part of the quote that will always be an aspiration and an inspiration for me. I didn't learn very much academically throughout my education. I was an average, or at best a slightly-above-average student. But I remember the little lessons that our teachers taught us that never there in books. And those are the lessons that I find help you through life the most. The good times and the bad. Not some Pythagorean equation to find the hypotenuse length of a right-angled triangle.

Of the many many important lessons I've learned in school, the one that is reverberating through my head these days is... Don't get First Class, be first class.


Mee said...

What is abba doobi? Lagori? or smthg else?:)
Yea true, those impressive teachers ( well most of them barring a few nasty ones like my boring maths teacher whom I didn't like) taught us much indeed!:) I learned to be creative in a regular academic school, thanks to my Arts and Crafts teacher Ms. Manju who enthused me and egged me on to big-small achievements in school. I couldnt even draw a strt line and today I am in a creative feild thanks to her:) I loved my Marathi class teacher Ms Aptebai becuase she taught us grace under fire ( I could not speak Marathi to save my life but she taught me that language with much fndness and love),I loved my geography teacher Ms Laxmi because she showed us the world in this regular classroom and made us thirst for globe trotting.And most importantly my biggest lesson in school was learnt from one of my not so fave teachers - when you do not succeed it is not the end of the world but a beginning of a great lesson to learn and get better. Sigh...The wonder years:)

Ajeya said...

abba doobi is this game where the "den" has to whack you with a small tennis/rubber ball and all you can do is run and defend yourself with your fists. painful sometimes!!! :)

Yes, definitely the wonder years. :) BTW, I totally identified with Kevin Arnold! :D I was like... where's my Winnie Cooper!?!?!?

Mee said...

O yea:( same game - hated it, becos I used to play with the boyz gosh still remember the red welts becos of the smacks:( so u can guess it was not a vry popular sport with me!!

Hey thot u found your Winnie Cooper from one of your posts:) all the best:)

Ajeya said...

mee... haha... yeah!! the red welts!!! we got A LOT of those.

Oh yeah, I've found my Winnie Cooper alright. ;) But back in school, times were hard. No women at all!:)

Mee said...

heheheheh u were searching for girls when in school?:)I was way too busy with my friends, watching movies, playing sports with the boyz, hanging out with them, that none of this occurred to me till I got to college! pretty backward eh?:)

Ajeya said...

:) yes, i was! that's what happens in these single sex schools, your god-damn hormones go into overdrive! college?!? yeah, a bit of a late bloomer for sure ;)

Mee said...

heheheh think its all our stories:-), mee too went to a all girls convent, then elphi n xaviers happnd - was all gauche and awkward in the early weeks despite knowing boyz all my life, but its different in college right?:) College turned out to be super fun ...made tons of friends...and yea well late bloomer alright too..the first guy you go out with u think u wanna marry him...u know... :)