A Letter Of Gratitude For A Professor At IIM Kozhikode
This is a letter I have written as gratitude towards Anupam Das Sir, our Managerial Communication Professor, appreciating his pedagogy. The letter is written in first person and addressed to Sir. It also showcases positive reflections of education at IIMK.
LETTER OF GRATITUDE
“RHETORICAL” is the adjective that used to come to my mind while describing the Indian education system before joining IIMK. I was highly apprehensive of pursuing higher education in the country because of the degree of disbelief I had in the system. Though I have been fortunate to have had some great mentors and teachers during my school and Engineering, as all of us know, most of the people who pursue the teaching profession do it out of helplessness or lack of better options.
Teaching in the mainstream Indian education institutions is probably one of the few professions where there is minimal accountability for the teachers in terms of the quality of teaching. Rarely, a teacher is influential enough to bring about a positive change in the everyday life of a student. Moreover, most of the teachers simply used to read a day before and teach the same in the class the next day.
Eventually, if they were questioned by an inquisitive mind, it was either answered through GAS, ridiculing of the question or postponement of the discussion, for obvious reasons. At the risk of sounding a show-off or a self-obsessed individual, I would like to state that such lectures never had any learning outcome for students like me who could comfortably understand the concepts by self-reading of the books and came to the class for something which helped us in a deeper understanding of the subject and in further relating the education to the real world. To my disappointment, this hardly happened and I only went to the classes for “Attendance”.
At the end of every day of school or college, I used to count the number of hours I wasted in the process of the education system without getting anything in return, other than learning the social aspects of interacting with people, of course. Being frank about it, for a person who doesn’t want to control his mind and achieve greater heights in multiple domains at the same time, it takes a lot of patience to waste so many hours every single day. After all, why was I doing all of it? Just for the mere sake of moving with the crowd, excelling in the fields which the system had senselessly designed. Very few of us actually have the guts to dropout of such systems and disown them completely, because we have to live in a society, which respects the same systems at the end of the day.
By the time I was done with my Engineering, my patience to deal with the system had reached a saturation point. Still, I didn’t have the guts to leave a 99 in CAT and hence, I joined IIMK, which proved to be a blessing in disguise. Some of the courses and professors here, completely changed my outlook towards the Indian Education system. And I would proudly like to mention that your course of Managerial Communication and your pedagogy, form a part of the very few catalysts that have had the strength to influence me in a constructive manner and to rebuild a belief in the system within me.
The fact that a person who used to attend classes only to fulfil the minimum attendance criteria had 100% attendance in your course, stands testimony to the above statement. At the end of every session, I got brilliant answers to the questions I ask myself, “What did I learn from the session? Do I know something more? Will this help me in becoming a better person?” Very few people in my life have been able to do that. I have utmost respect and gratitude towards you for the same.
In most cases, there is a huge gap between the student and the teacher. Most teachers follow “BOSSISM” and exert the power of authority over the students. Even though they might be illogical or wrong in a discussion, they use their position in their favour and the student is left with no other options. It’s a pure showcase of one-way communication in a place where learning cannot take place without two-way communication. In simple terms, such teachers “DEMAND RESPECT”, whereas, some teachers like you “COMMAND RESPECT” through their pedagogy. There is a very thin line of distinction between the two terms, but the difference is strong enough to influence the entire system single-handedly.
There was never a need for pretence in your class. We could just be ourselves and give inputs to the discussions freely. Your opinions were never enforced on us. You played the perfect role of guiding the discussions in the right direction and in leading them to a constructive conclusion. Even topics that are controversial or are considered a taboo, were dealt with utter subtlety in your sessions. At times, we were even allowed to use our personal lingo while talking to you or be a little vulgar with our friends when you were around. But none of it ever meant, that there was a lack of respect for you. Being allowed to act the way we do normally, always built more confidence within us to have better conversations with you and actually gain something out of it.
Whenever I try to think of the right pedagogy to teach a course as practical and real as Managerial Communication, I realise the intricacies involved and that how difficult it is to teach such a course. I say this, on behalf of all your students, you have done an amazing job, Sir. Initiating the right kind of discussions in the class, keeping the students’ attention intact, supporting them with the right kind of contemporary videos, trying to relate things to the level of our generation, along with some fun element in every class, all of this requires a massive effort, and hats off to you for implementing it flawlessly. I had always wanted to be part of a course wherein there are practical points of reference while grading. Hence, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to your course.
It started with the 2 minute narration about our first two weeks of experience at IIMK. Those who religiously pursued the task, had the pleasure of self-analysing their communication skills after listening to their own voices and on a philosophical note, digesting the eventful first few days of b-school. Next, came the task when we are asked to write a self-introduction for 500 words, with the dual purpose of preparing ourselves for placements. I can never thank you enough for making me do this as part of the course. After following your guidelines, I had almost perfected my intro and during my placement interviews, the intro came out effortlessly with the best application of the communication skills learnt. Hence, the summer placement in my dream company, Goldman Sachs.
The strategy followed by you to make us learn the power of communication by organising a movie session of “12 Angry Men” and designing a mid-term question paper on the same lines was something which filled me with a feeling of awe. The atmosphere of the exam where we could just relax, be ourselves, listen to music and let our thoughts flow was overwhelming in itself. Finally, the process of group presentations and the related end-term exam was an extraordinary way to make us apply the concepts in the field of marketing.
In the end, I would sincerely like to thank you for designing this course for us. I always feel that we rarely appreciate the teachers in our lives, who through their noble profession, transform us into better human beings. It was a pleasure attending your course Sir, and hence, this letter.
About the Author:
The author is a First Year PGP student at IIM Kozhikode. He pursued Computer Science Engineering from PESIT, Bangalore and joined IIMK as a fresher.
Facebook Id : https://goo.gl/QhS4Pt
Linked In : https://in.linkedin.com/in/siddharth-jain