Tuesday, July 14, 2009


A newly appointed teacher was assigned the duty to handle a class in a school. The teacher who was handling that class had a very bad impression about the students. So she warned the new teacher about them and advised her to be stern, strict, rough and tough from the outset. Influenced by this advice, the new teacher entered the class with a grim face waving a cane to generate fear. The students were frightened seeing her expression. She asked them a question to test their previous knowledge and ordered that those who knew the answer should raise their right hands. Many students raised their right hands. Others who did not know the answer sat still, anticipating her violent reaction. While examining the students, she found that a boy in the last row had raised his left hand instead of his right hand. She assumed it to be an expression of gross misbehaviour and indiscipline, as she was prejudiced by the report of the previous teacher. She noted that he was probably the naughtiest student in the class.

In a fit of anger, she rushed to the boy and thrashed him violently with the cane, shouting savagely, hoping that it would be an effective warning to all. The poor child fell down and cried aloud. Then she noted that his right hand was crippled and that was why he raised his left hand instead of his right hand, to show that he knew the answer. The teacher was shocked. She tried her best to pacify the crying child. Later she learned that the child had been a victim of poliomyelitis and used to write with his left hand as his right hand was totally deformed. This incident transformed the teacher. She became friendly with every student, asked them personal questions and learned the names, abilities, defects, special talents and family background of every student in her class. With this personal and affectionate approach she could easily win their appreciation and admiration. She became a very successful teacher and was loved and respected by all her students.

Bias and prejudice may impair our judgment and damage human relations. Personal contact with intimate interaction with others is the best method of teaching, catechesis and evangelisation. Love is the language prescribed by Jesus for evangelisation.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” {Matthew 22:39}.

St. James advises, “Remember this, my dear brothers! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry” {James 1: 19}.

St. Paul advises, “If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin….Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you….Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ” {Ephesians 4: 26-32}.

By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is Story No. 156 in this site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of a page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of a page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

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