I had a wonderful Biology teacher in Year 10, one of those gutsy inspirational teachers who go all out to keep you enthused and learning. He was creative, we did a forensic science unit in biology so we could see the practical application of what we were learning. He was also a teacher who let his personal life seep into his classroom. I think the best teachers do this, give a little of themselves to their students, it's a gift.
Our teacher had been away to India and he was relaying his travel stories, a break from biology but equally enlightening. He had clearly been very affected by the trip, and the despair he felt during his journey was written on his solemn face. He wanted to let us know how lucky we were, how much we took for granted in our self centred sixteen year old lives. He did this not through preaching, but through story telling.
He told us of India's slums, the kindness of the people, the poverty, the diseases, open sewers, the corruption, and how remarkable it was that people found happiness, in the worst of places. He spoke of India's brightness, cows roaming the streets, the beautiful clothing and jewellery, a rainbow of colours, the gods, and the festivals. He told us about the beggars at the airport, that some had been hurt, so that they would bring in more money. Somehow he penetrated my self indulgent teenage mind. The saddest thing he told me was about two men, filthy and malnourished, sitting on the side of the road. One man bent down towards the other and drank his snot.