BangaLore #26: Professing our appreciation

Sept. 7, 2009, midnight | By Sonalee Rau | 14 years, 5 months ago

On Friday, countless Indian Ph.D. students took time away from their classes, jobs and paid internships to applaud their professors and cut a cake for them. There was no mistaking it: it was time once again for Teachers' Day (celebrated on the fourth this year, since the fifth was a Saturday) – a day solely devoted to showing gratitude to teachers and professors from the primary to the graduate level.

In high schools, seniors usually take over the work of their teachers on this day, teaching the classes for younger children. For girls, the job description includes dressing in traditional saris. Following this, the students present an "entertainment program" during which they act, sing, dance and generally make fools of themselves in front of their teachers.

Relationships between students and teachers in Bangalore are complex. Teachers expect to be greeted not with "Hey, Mr. so-and-so," but rather with a stiff "Good morning, sir," which is usually met with a curt nod. It may all seem a bit cold and impersonal – but that's just on the surface. The seemingly paradoxical student-teacher dynamic here makes Teachers' Day in India even more special and truly something to celebrate.

Interestingly enough, you can call your teachers at 9 p.m. the night before a test to ask them a question – or as they say in Bangalore, a "doubt" – about a unit you've been studying in class. Many teachers even let you text them or Facebook them. Maybe they make themselves so accessible because they are, literally, always around you -- they live in your town; they ride the bus home with you; they eat two meals a day sitting with you in the school "dining hall" (cafeteria).

This year, due to the demise of a local Chief Minister, the Friday before Teachers' Day was declared a national holiday and the celebrations put on hold. But the sentiment behind the occasion was still keenly felt.

What better time than Teachers' Day to show your instructors how much they mean to you while getting out of classes?

And since you missed out on the festivities: happy Teachers' Day to all those educators at MBHS!

Sonalee Rau. Sonalee (suh-NAH-lee) is a chipper Chipper and a would-be magnet junior. She spends a great deal of time playing tennis (Blair is red hot), doodling, reading, quoting famous people, quoting not-so-famous people and lamenting her inability to play the piano. She is also a big … More »

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