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GUIDING LIGHT| The beautiful eyes

Zest for life is far more important than your physical appearance, writes Mukesh Setia.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 15:47 IST

Ask someone what a class looks like and you will most probably get the reply, 'A room with a big board, a teacher and some students.' Furthermore, students sitting in the front row are supposedly more brilliant and more attentive.

And those at the very back are the teacher's nightmare, the disturbing elements, students who just while away time by cracking jokes, making fun of the teacher or of fellow students or by simply gossiping. That's the general view.

I avoided using the term 'backbenchers' because of the idea it conveys, the one, which I have already discussed, above. My experience as a teacher tells me this is not true. I have seen many students, brilliant ones, who prefer taking the backbench, as they are more comfortable there.

I have one such student in my class. He is one of those introvert ones. Reticent, a bit shy but highly determined, with average looks, sober in his choice of clothes and usually seats himself in either of the last two rows. His attentiveness in the class is remarkable and his eyes are set on his future. He wants to do well.

He has got a squint in his eye, but those eyes talk to me continuously, throughout the lesson and often tell me, 'you can count on me sir, I will do well, I won't let you down.'

Early on he was hesitant but now he has opened up a bit. His courage and confidence have gone up. Often he is the only one with the answer to some question that I've put up to the class. He is there telling me, 'don't worry sir if no one is responding, ask me and I won't fail you.'

During a lesson, we try and make sure that not a single second goes waste, and here a silent conversation goes on continuously, an interaction between the students and the teacher, maybe it sounds bizarre, but it is an ultimate truth. I continuously talk to my students and study their silent responses.

When I cast a glance over this particular student, sometimes he says, 'A year ago we were strangers to each other and now we have this wonderful bonding, call me your son or your friend, but I vow to achieve, not just for my sake, but for your sake as well.'

I really thank GOD for giving me this wonderful opportunity of teaching all these beautiful souls. Zest for life is far more important than your physical appearance, which is superfluous.

Mukesh Setia is the founder director of A View To Education (AVTE), a educational institute in New Delhi. His first book Bansuri The Feelings was released in December 2004 the book was on courage and dreams