Teachers play such an important role in our lives during our formative years, a good teacher can bring out the best even in the worst student, and a bad one can sometimes force you to lose interest in your favourite subject. Not to forget that their role outside of academics is a very important one as well, whether it’s building confidence, helping us discover hidden talents, teaching us to have confidence and faith in ourselves, or simply being a gentle shoulder to cry on and a patient ear when we feel the burden of the world is on our tiny shoulders.
However, most of us, whether you studied in convent schools, co-eds, boarding, or all girls/boys schools have had our fair share of teachers who not only punished us verbally and physically (yes a smack on the hands with a ruler does count as physical abuse) but often even also broke our spirit and sense of self. This did make many of us fantasize about our own Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter’s headmaster in Hogwarts) or Ram Shankar Nikumbh (portrayed by Aamir Khan in Taare Zameen Par) who would have more faith in us than we did ourselves. Although we are certain some of you were wishing a sexy Ms Chandni (portrayed by Sushmita Sen in Main Hoon Na) or a lovelorn Raj Aryan (Shah Rukh Khan in Mohabbatein), who was shockingly more interested in his students love life than in teaching them, would come waste some of your formative years with enticing distractions rather than teach. And no, Ross Gellar (David Schwimmer’s character in FRIENDS) was also a terrible teacher, you should never date your students!
This Teacher’s Day 2021, let’s take a look at some of the best onscreen and literary teachers that taught us how a gentle guiding hand can truly unleash your inner brave heart, genius and talent. Read on…
Albus Dumbledore – Written by JK Rowling long before her controversial stances, Harry Potter’s headmaster at Hogwarts was most understanding, almost to a fault, allowing Harry to be the ultimate wizard, letting him fight battles he was possibly not prepared for and being supportive like the ultimate cheerleader, leading Harry to become the greatest wizard of all time. Although some may argue that Harry was only a child and that in this context Professor Snape was more concerned, although from afar, about Harry’s safety.
Ram Shankar Nikumbh portrayed by Aamir Khan in Taare Zameen Par was Ishaan Awasthi’s (portrayed by Darsheel Safary) art teacher who not only recognised that Ishaan had a learning disability and needed to be taught differently, but also helped his parents and Ishaan himself see that his true potential was greater than just acing academics. The movie was ahead of its time as often we tend to think that academic intelligence is the only measure of intellect.
John Keating (portrayed by the late Robin Williams) in Dead Poet’s Society is by far one of the most well written teacher characters according to us. The movie is a lot more than just about poetry, it’s main message being ‘Carpe Diem’, that one must always seize the day! The story, based on real instances and characters, shows how a progressive English teacher teaches his students to take the path less travelled and to discover the world for themselves through their own experiences, and to take every opportunity and make the most of it. The ending with the ‘Oh Captain my Captain speech’, had many of us in tears and is still considered one of the best performances by the late actor.
Morrie from the book Tuesdays with Morrie is an all time favourite when it comes to books written about teachers, and what makes it even better is that it’s a true story. It is the true account by journalist Mitch Albom who was very close to his college professor Morrie Shwartz and upon discovering that his professor was soon going to succumb to a life-threatening disease decides to spend Tuesdays with him in the hopes of learning some valuable life lessons. The entire book simply talks about how when one knows and understands that death is inevitable, they start to understand what truly matters in life and start to live more meaningfully.
Kabir Khan portrayed by Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De India is one of the best characters King Khan has portrayed on screen. The story revolves around the Indian women’s hockey team led by the former hockey captain of the India men’s team Kabir Khan who is disgraced and forbidden from playing the sport again on account of a misunderstanding making it seem like he intentionally lost an important game. Kabir’s determination and incredible speeches and words of wisdom throughout the movie are extremely uplifting and definitely had quite a lasting impact on audiences.