He was a teacher. He taught middle school English.
He was a boarding master. He supervised boarding house residents.
He was a sports master. He supported the coach and the players.
But he was much more than the sum of those parts.
He was no ordinary teacher.
He was a leader.
He mentored and molded youth who would become leaders themselves.
Recently I was at my old high school to pay my respects at the funeral of an old school teacher of mine. He spent over 40 years of his life at the same institution. Even after retirement he continued to serve the school on a voluntary basis. He participated in every school function until his demise.
All those present were reminiscing of his contribution to their lives; not only the academic aspect which was considerable, but most of us were narrating anecdotes of how this teacher influenced us in varied ways.
By his exemplary conduct, acts of kindness and compassion, humility, generosity, faithfulness and loyalty he inspired and molded several generations of young men.
We are better people by having come into contact with his personality and lifestyle.
Do we see teachers in the present generation who are similar leaders?
Education is not only about imparting knowledge and skills to students; it is also about helping them find their way in the world. It is also about imparting values and morals. Education is also about forming leaders. Education is about helping today’s youth become tomorrow’s leaders.
SO here’s a word to teachers. While teaching your students, may you also inspire them by your conduct and example.
Be a teacher? Yes, and also be a leader.
The challenge for today’s youth is to be aware of the world around them which is evolving so quickly. At the same time the challenge is for them to be equipped to handle the fast pace of change. Traditional classroom education and rote learning is not adequate to deal with life and all its challenges.
Traditional learning is full of knowledge which is undoubtedly useful but does it equip youth mentally, emotionally and physically to deal with disaster, for example?
Imagine your son is travelling in an aero plane which crash lands in the jungle. Does he have basic survival skills? Will he stay calm and not panic? Will he be able to help others worse off than himself?
There is a huge need to develop leadership skills in today’s youth; skills which would help them face challenges, change problems into solutions, guide those weaker than themselves and generally leave the world a better place than they found it.
Camping and related outdoor activities are some of the ways in which today’s youth can be unplugged from the electronic devices and get plugged into the great wide world out there. (See How: CAMPING IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS)