who's the most effective teacher of all?
Daily musings #592 - Monday, 5 September 2022
Today is Teacher’s Day in India. A large part of my life was there growing up. And yet here I am in Canada pondering about my early life sitting here in Canada on a day off today for Labor day.
I was thinking about who was the most influential in my learnings. A few teachers came by on my list - all for the wrong possible reasons. Teachers I did not like were the one’s first came to my mind. There were several who taught me the basics of structured language, maths, science, methods, and tools. But none really stood out.
Not even in my University years, except two of my professors who encouraged me in my thirst for learning in computer science. But these two did not teach any of my courses, they were people I reached out to on my own initiative. To their support, I am extremely grateful.
In my later years of finishing my University and starting my global journey, Dr. Sastry was instrumental in helping me with my learnings. He died several years earlier and is no longer with us.
And that is it. My regret from my early formative years is that no one taught us how to learn. And on how to think. And how to connect between various learnings. And on metacognition. How to think about the thinking process itself. These would all come later. Driven by curiosity to learn things. The insatiable desire to find out what drives “humans” as individuals and the collective.
One of the greatest early influencers in my life was my mom. Not by what she taught but more by who she was that I mirror or mirrored a lot in my life and I still do. And my other influencer was my wife, she was all that I am not and never ever be.
And the biggest teacher of all I realize has been life. And what it has taught me. In fact, the whole journey of who I am and the meaning-making of it has led to speeding up my learnings. But then again learning is not knowledge and knowledge is not understanding. That much I understand and this has brought humility to my learning process. So the best teacher of all to me, right now, is me. And I like that.
One of the things that the last two decades have done to me is that I have to deliberately unlearn or park to the side what I have formally learned in my first 3-4 decades. Including most things that I have learned in school, in my university, and in my MBA. Strange thing life is, isn’t it? You learn. Then you learn that what you learned is possibly a “boat load of crap” - then you go back to your drawing board. Learn again. And continue to learn while questioning everything you learn, while you learn.
I will talk later on about my influencer in the last 10-15 years in another narrative. There are too many to count. And I need to spend time prioritizing those influencers. And some early influencers are no longer influencers as I have moved on…
Dr. R. Prabhakar
Prof. CMK Selvaraj
Prof. Dr. S.R. Narayana Sastry