Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaLong Live Good Teachers!
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content
Long Live Good Teachers! Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Tanmay N. Vora, India Mar 27, 2007
Education   Short Stories


Some people leave an indelible mark on our psyche and play a small but all important role in shaping our future. It could be parents, teachers, friends, relatives, boss, colleague or may be someone unknown.

One of my teachers played this crucial role in my life and left a long lasting impression on me as a student. Mrs. Gill was our class teacher in seventh standard - a very charismatic and polite lady who taught us English, Social Studies and Moral Science. She was very polite, highly communicative and believed in making a dialogue with the students she felt had some potential. She had a holistic perspective of education, which was not only limited to the subject matter.

In our school, the annual function comprising of cultural and extra curricular academic activities was scheduled after the first preliminary exams in September. For the even in 1990, Mrs. Gill was the coordinator of the extra-curricular development activities. She was given a responsibility to organize recitation and elocution competitions. She had to identify students, give them the subjects, and co-ordinate their rehearsals and final performances on stage.

One day after our Social Studies class was about to end she read the list of participants for poetry recitation competition. While I was least attentive to what she was reading, I heard my name! It was a surprise - albeit not a very pleasant one for me since I never thought someone would consider me for such competitions. The same day after school I nervously approached her in the staff room and requested her politely to remove my name from the list of since I thought I could never read out poetry aloud in front more than 1000 students. She asked me to sit and extended some comfort.

"Why are you so afraid?” she inquired.

"No, it is not possible for me to read poetry on stage. I am afraid I will not be able to do it" I honestly responded.

She continued her counseling, "Tell me, what do your parents do?"

"They are both government servants and work together in the same engineering college" I informed.

She gently moved her hand on my head and said, "Look, your parents work so hard, pay your fees and send you to such a good school. They have many expectations from you right? I think you should participate in recitation and show that you also can do it."

I was listening.

She continued, "Each one of us has a lot of potential and it has to come out. I see that you have the ability to do this. The only thing you really need to overcome is the fear. Fear of failure and dejection. And even if you fail - so what? The world is not going to stop because you failed nor will you die. Why not give it a try?"

I was still listening.

"See me in the rehearsal hall tomorrow" she instructed.

Next day in rehearsals, I was given a poem to recite. The poem was Thomas H. Palmer's "Try again". It took me some time to gain confidence but I was improving as each day passed. Finally, after a few weeks of rehearsals, I was able to recite the poem in front of all the students of my school. Even though I did not win the competition, it was a big victory for me. I had left the fear of public speaking behind me. It was my first small success that taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life.

The words of the poem I recited go like this:

'Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try, try again;
'If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try, try again.

Once or twice though you should fail,
Try again;
If you would at last prevail,
Try again.
If we strive, 'tis no disgrace
Though we may not win the race;
What should you do in that case?
Try again.

If you find your task is hard,
Try again;
Time will bring you your reward,
Try again.
All that other folks can do,
With your patience should not you?
Only keep this rule in view--
Try again.

Mrs. Gill aptly selected the poem for someone like me who feared failures. When I first read the words of poem, I thought it was written only for me. Mrs. Gill was a teacher in its true sense and her message to me in form of this poetry was loud and clear - if everyone else can do it, you can certainly do it.

Growth comes from doing things beyond one's capabilities and there is an element of fear attached to anything that we have not done before. In such moments, we need someone who pulls us out of our fears, believes in us, reaffirms our faith in ourselves and shows us the right direction. Mrs. Gill did exactly this.

The lessons I learnt from the small poetry competition helped me all the way in my career - first as a worker and now as a manager.

I haven't seen Mrs. Gill for the last 16 years, but I still feel indebted to her for whatever small magic she did with me in my formative years. Long live Mrs. Gill and long live good teachers!



You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile
Tanmay N. Vora

A software quality & management professional - passionate explorer of management/leadership subjects - chooses to look at brighter side of life - loves writing.

your poem and experience
Pam Eley | Aug 24th, 2009
Dear Mr. Vora, I too was affected by this poem when once upon a time I was in fourth grade. I too had to recite it in front of the entire school. I never forgot it and keep a copy of it in my wallet. I have long since become a teacher and recite this poem to my students every year. I am taking a course to further my education a bit further and have an assignment where I have to do something with a quote (or in my case this poem) that is important to us. I was doing a little research and came upon this story. I was wondering if there is any chance you could record your story and send it to me so I can use it in my presentation? This story is great and hits the meaning for me 150%. Please reply if you get this. -Most appreciative and can relate....P Eley

Great teacher
ajay | Oct 23rd, 2009
Dear Tanmay, your short true story reminded me my schooling days. During 5-6 and 7th grad, I was studying in Bhavnagar. I used to give my speech on almost all function of our school and was even taking part on drama and all other activities. On my first time I remember my dad wrote my speech (it was in gujarati) and he mentioned that famous old line "guru gobind dono khade kako lagu pai, balihari guru aapki gobind diyo batay".. As it was first time I didnt remember on the stage, which my teacher reminded me. But later on dad told me to not to focus on what i didn't remember but try to remember what I spoke in front entire school. After that time i never was afraid to stand on stage. and the same year during the annual day of school, I performed the lead role in the gujarati drama called "kalam ni takat" (Power Of Pen). You are right, sometimes one line is more than enough to inspire the entire life.

You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.