Don’t let a school stand in your way of education

We thank our teachers in September. September also has days for engineers, daughters etc. So basically a month filled with thankless roles in our life. Apparently, it also has translation day, language day and so on. Overall, it’s a dull month. Thank God, it is over now. 

BTW What’s the relation of sin with cos? Answer: they are identical twins, but cos was born 90 min too early 🙂 [My grandma told always start with a joke when you blog, so there’s that.]

Okay, back to the topic. Teachers. Of course, We should cordially thank them. We are what we are because of them, and this goes without saying. It’s a tough and thankless job.

Once a year, we should all remember the best teacher we had and, post an internet generated greeting on WhatsApp status. Then we conveniently assume our teacher will read it and will have a better sleep that night. (Sarcasm intended, for those who skipped class on the day that was taught )

Unsure who the creator is, happy to give to credit if someone points at right IP owner.

But always remember, there is yang for yin. Once in awhile, we need to remember yang not just yin.

I am sure you would’ve had experience with bad teachers who suffocated your enthusiasm, killed your courage and left you with broken confidence? When do we remember them?

I had a fair share of such teachers. And you guessed it right, I have few stories to share.

Many many years ago I’d enrolled in a college which is prerequisite for University education. For these obvious reasons, the college designed and configured to be a conveyer belt to dispatch heads with only two stamps – either a doctor or engineer. With a few exceptions, these colleges generally do not tolerate seeking knowledge and education in general.

Day 1. Chemistry. The topic was petroleum, and the question was posed in the general direction “what can you tell about Petroleum”. I knew a thing or two and started off with my’ opnion’. The word petroleum comes from Latin petroleum, which comes from Latin petra, “rock” and Latin oleum, “oil”. Before even I could reach to the point where I explain processes, and products teacher went bonkers. She said I should shut up and if I want to learn history or etymology, I should go join an art class and become a clerk in my career.

Week 1: Physics. Topic radio waves, who invented it? I said Jagadis Chandra Bose, she said: “Nope. Marconi”. I argued that I had read about it recently. And I still remember this “Stop reading everything you are reading and read my notes alone” And also “shut up, join commerce class, become a clerk” etc.

…. and finally, she said the most astonishing colonial hangover statement “Nobody from India invented anything interesting ever. ” !!! (I am paraphrasing)

We do have adequate and definitive information on the Internet now.  I can still look up that specific lecturer and share this info abundantly registered currently. But I know what she will say. “Stop reading everything you are reading and read my notes alone, and nothing else”.

Bose conducted experiments that would lead him to almost invent the radio – something for which his contemporaries Guglielmo Marconi (1874 – 1937) and Karl Ferdinand Braun (1850 – 1918) won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909. Neither Marconi nor Braun mentioned Bose in their Nobel Lectures; despite the fact that Bose’s invention of a specific coherer, which turned out to be a crucial component for wireless telegraphy, predated Marconi’s experiments by 21 months.

Meanwhile, Marconi had less scruples. On 12 December 1901, Marconi used Bose’s 1899 improved version of the coherer to receive the first transatlantic wireless signal. Marconi also applied for a British patent on the device that was not his, in which he did not even mention Bose’s name. Marconi deliberately muddied the waters when presenting “his” invention at a lecture at the Royal Institution on 13 June 1902. As Probir K Bondyopadhyay writes: “By the time Marconi gave his lecture at the Royal Institution, he was already under attack by his own countryman, and Marconi, through his careful choice of words, caused deliberated confusions and, using clear diversionary tactics, shifted attention to works of Hughes, who was already dead at that time”. – Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose: The man who (almost) invented the radio

This continued for two years. Only thing I could manage to learn was to shut up.

  • Calculus: the most beautiful calculus was taught as “Delta by Delta and when Delta tends to zero, and repeat it thousand times”. My God. Say it already, it’s a formula for slope/trend. I doubt he knew what it is.
  • Trigonometry. This was taught as religious chants. Students literally oscillate while learning this by-heart. 100% class did not know how the beautiful sine wave looks like and one practical usage of these formulae.

It was a great consolation that, baring that school, I had a fantastic set of teachers. 99% of the teachers of them either brilliant or gave us the freedom to be brilliant.

But there is still this 1% of those who left a scar and stood in the way of education. We should celebrate them too.. Thoughts?

23 thoughts on “Don’t let a school stand in your way of education

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