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Year 1980, few young students of 12th standard attending Prof. Joshi lecture on Organic Chemistry, floored by his immense knowledge on subject. He could cite page numbers for related topics from various books. He was perhaps best faculty by then, naturally, each student would follow his method to prepare for exams. The time has gone by few decades, & many questions arising today to those students of 1980 about what it takes to be a good teacher, or how one qualifies someone to be a good teacher. Prof. Joshi could teach well, could demonstrate the formation of Kenton or Formaldehyde group in few seconds. However the fact remains today that none of the student of 1980m batch took up organic chemistry as principal specialization or none of them could take up pure science as a principal specialization.

That brings the question raised in 5th line, who is best teacher? I have come to some conclusion that either there is good knowledgeable teacher or someone who inspires. There are enough examples from school times, where one who let you prepare meticulously, while someone fires up the new ways of seeing. Prof. Joshi couldn’t make the subject more imaginative, partly due to programmed way of teaching, or shear exam based delineation. While teaching organic chemistry he could have cited examples of chemical weapons of mass destruction versus production of organic compound from nature & use as alternate energy. It may have made subject matter more interesting & could have inspired someone to be specialized in that subject.

Contrast to Prof Joshi, a School teacher, Ms Choksy was teaching English to vernacular students, rather much difficult situation than Prof. Joshi. However Ms. Choksy could teach with example of English movie, cricket radio commentary, club with routine subject of English grammar. This is precise difference that student could take active interest in English subject, partly for exam while learning different language with great ease. Attributing major subjects to monolithic format is a typical rudimentary & parochial thinking.

To my mind any subject can be interesting if one brings about generalization from specificity. It is intellectual & moral experiences that brings about meaning & richness in teaching, & perhaps prerequisite for good teacher.


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