Teachers walk into one's life in schools and colleges and sometimes outside these edifices. But the mark they leave in your life is an indelible one.
Teachers Day provides an opportunity to honour unsung personalities who have made a difference to their wards by not just providing them with an education, but also by empowering them with life lessons about dealing with emotions and friends, making decisions, or just by being more humane.
Assam’s Uttam Teron was just a paan-chewing man who loved shooting breeze with his friends in the state’s Kamrup district, until he saw young tribal children scouring for firewood instead of attending school. Moved by their plight, Teron started a makeshift school in the area in his old, unused cowshed in 2003 and now runs an academy for 700 children.
Deepak Narayan Nayak is also known as ‘Rastar Master’ in West Bengal’s Jamuria village. He entered the lives of young tribal children in the village on a motorcycle, on which he travels from one place to another imparting free coaching to students after school hours.
Saquib Ahmed’s personal initiative sparked off a library movement in Bihar’s Kishanganj, a district which did not have a single library.
In Bihar’s East Champaran district, Premchandra Ram has introduced the spirit of competitive learning to students from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes by starting an examination coaching programme ‘Super-30’ dedicated to guiding them for such tests.
Jyoti from Karnal in Haryana rebelled against her family and her village to inspire girls and young women to enrol in schools.
Priya Gopalen and Sandhya Rajan took it on themselves to start a football coaching centre in Chennai to enable children with a passion for the sport to take a plunge.
Outlook has curated a selection of profiles of personalities who have made a difference in their pupils’ lives. Some of them are teachers, but not all of them are associated with formal roles as educators in schools and colleges. But all their stories have lessons for the taking.