By Ramanuj Mukherjee
It is customary to pay homage to one’s teachers on Teachers’ Day, but I will deviate a bit. I will talk about my tryst with teaching. This is a personal story and kind of a confession.
My first opportunity to teach came through CLAT coaching – and it was absolutely fascinating for me to work with high school graduates with dreams in their eyes. At that time, I was an under-confident kid in second year of law school, quite nervous about public speaking – but the responsibilities of teaching made a man out of me.
It was not about just going to a class and explaining some things on a white board – it was so much more. Apart from designing the whole course and planning classes that would help literally thousands of people, I got the opportunity to actually mentor some bright kids who were just a few years younger than me.
I created bespoke workshops around legal reasoning and speed reading that would transform outlook of the students about their own abilities. This was a transforming experience for me too. I was so transformed that I could barely begin to like other kind of work later in my professional life.
Everything else was so dull compared to the challenge and thrill of teaching something exciting – the glory that only a teacher knows – provided they have allowed their psyche to be consumed by it. Hence, when I knew I am going to start a business, education was the automatic choice.
I may be bad at many things, I may fail a thousand times in other roles, I may under-perform as a businessman – but when it comes to teaching, I will not and cannot let my students down.
Knowing my passion for teaching – many professors and well wishers have encouraged me to go and teach in colleges. I did not feel like doing it for one reason: a tenured teacher is allowed to do a few things, and he is restricted from doing much more.
My goal is not to achieve normal results as a teacher – the task at hand is to make legal education accessible in a country where respect for the legal system is going down day by day. Teaching hundreds of students every year will not satisfy me – I want to teach thousands, and one day crores of people – and make legal education truly universally accessible in India.
Happy Teachers Day to all our teachers, may they continue to change our lives for good.
Ramanuj Mukherjee is the founder of iPleaders, a legal education start-up.