The American author James Michener was once invited to be a guest at a banquet hosted by President Dwight Eisenhower at the White House, but the writer declined the invitation with regret. He wrote to the President, ?A wonderful teacher, who taught me how to write, is being honoured on the same day, at the same time?you will not miss me at your banquet Mr. President, but she might, at hers.?
The President was so moved that he wrote back, ?Dear Mr. Michener, in his lifetime a man lives under 15 or 16 presidents, but a truly fine teacher comes in his lifetime far too rarely??
Vaswani says that instruction may be offered through the virtual classroom; information may be made available through the computer; but teaching is much more than this? teaching in its true sense is communicating?a process in which the personality of the teacher interacts with the personality of the students. One can go to a library and read hundreds of books; one can collect data from the internet; one can listen to recorded lessons on CDs; but can any one of these compensate for the living, moving presence of a good teacher?
Swami Vivekananda had said, ?He alone teaches who has something to give, for teaching is not talking; teaching is not imparting of doctrines; it is communicating?All teaching implies giving and taking; the teacher gives and the taught receives, but then one must have something to give and the other must be open to receive.?
J.P. Vaswani quotes from the sacred Upanishads which extol the teaching?learning process as the tapasya or knowledge. This great tapasya is what we and our students perform when teaching-learning process takes place in the right spirit. This tapasya helps young learners to harness the tremendous powers of inner shakti within them to grow into wholesome, complete and good human beings, besides equipping themselves with the knowledge, wisdom and ability harness the resources of their natural, cultural and social environment for the benefit of the nation and all humanity.
J.P. Vaswani reveals new facets of the ideal teacher who is a lamp-lighter, a sculptor, a builder, a moulder and shaper of the spirit; a gardener who cultivates character; a torch-bearer and transmitter of values and ideals; and above all, a friend!