Posted in My life, Painting

Good Teacher Bad Teacher

Knowledge is wasted without motivation.


I was 9 years old then. My brother who is a few years older than me was already pretty good at painting. So, my father arranged for a tutor for him during our two-month summer break. He was a good painter–somebody my father had employed to paint his own portrait at that time. I was so excited at the prospect that my father asked him to tutor me too. He was sure I’d quit within a few days as I did everything else. But he was fine to pay the fee, as long as I got a fair chance.

I was an average fourth-grader, but I was proud of my accomplishments. My ‘paintings’ would cover the house walls in all the prominent places–a family of bears (mom, dad, baby), a family of ducks (mom, dad, baby) and a rainy season scene (a building with flowers and raindrops) were my trophy pieces. My parents showed their unwavering ‘fanhood’ no matter what I created. They would applaud and suggest a good place on the wall to display the painting. I was sure I was destined for great things.

Our class had another couple of kids, and we differed in ages and sincerity level. When I joined the class, I had great enthusiasm. I expected myself to turn into a great painter by the end of the summer. That day, my teacher gave me an art book, which was far beyond my years, opened a page of animal pictures, and asked me to draw a Squirrel. No explanations, no tips.

I tried my best and achieved what a 9-year old could in 45 minutes. I was rather proud of myself when I presented my teacher with the best painting in the world.

He took a look and guffawed. Then he added springs to his feet, and told the class, it was a Kangaroo and it was about to jump. Everybody laughed.

That was the last day I went to his class. At least, mentally I was always absent. He reported to my father and he told him not to press me. I even stopped painting for a few months. I don’t remember talking about that incident but it was always there in the back of my mind.

A couple of years later, I was talking to my brother and I told him I longed to paint like him but didn’t know how. He told me, “Practice daily. You will get there, I’m sure.” Then, to motivate me, he gave me a tiny unruled notebook and told me to practice in it so that I do not lose my work and see my progress. The first thing I made in this diary was…any wild guess?

My brother told me that Chip and Dale looked great, and that I should practice daily. I’m sure I did not become a wonderful painter overnight–I hadn’t practiced in two years. But he saw I was putting in the effort, and he got me going. Within a couple of years, I was creating portrait sketches, and my work was far beyond my years.

David Dachovny (X-Files fame)–my first portrait sketch I made in eighth grade
Sachin Tendulkar (the Cricket legend)–a sketch I made in 10th grade

Thanks to my brother, I got my Bachelors in Painting–with Merit and second highest score in the Painting subject in the University. My practicals exams had 98% score–a rarity in Arts.

All this was thanks to the great teacher who told me to believe in myself. Both my brother and I are now in the business of adult education and I can vouch for his method.

A successful teacher does not teach great things. He motivates his students to forge their own path.

-Me again

Just for the sake of bragging, here are some paintings I made during Bachelors.

Hrithik Roshan in oil paint (My second love)…a story for another day
Gul Panag–former Miss India and actress
Mom and dad on swings–my own style–finger and nail painting.
Tiger in the river–Water colours


I am an Instructional Designer, avid reader, small-town woman and working mother with a fish-eye perspective. I have just published my first book, The Forest Bed and other short stories. If you like my stories on this blog, feel free to Like, Comment, Reblog and Share. You can reach me at or through my Facebook page

13 thoughts on “Good Teacher Bad Teacher

  1. I have realized some significant things through your site post. One other subject I would like to mention is that there are lots of games available and which are designed specifically for toddler age children. They incorporate pattern identification, colors, pets, and forms. These usually focus on familiarization instead of memorization. This helps to keep little kids occupied without feeling like they are learning. Thanks


  2. My jaw literally dropped ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. You are a fantastic painter! My best is the finger n nail painting style. Your brother deserves more accolades. Thanks to him ๐Ÿค—, you’re able to share your amazing gift with the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Ngozi! My brother can draw portraits on Laptop using a mouse. He is a Graphic designer and a lot better than me. I am soon introducing another awesome artist to the world…by best friend Manpreet. She is a lot better than me!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your work is amazing. Your brother is amazing. Your former teacher is a jerk.
    Once the internet and computers came into our classrooms, I had to change with the times. I told my students they didn’t need me for finding knowledge. Computers had changed that. They needed me to excite them about learning the things I taught.

    Liked by 2 people

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