The Unconventional Pedagogue


A good teacher is almost a cliche in these day and age wherein it would be a misnomer for whoever you apply to. Paradoxical as it may sound, considering the rich history of us as a country in producing a rich pedigree of teachers, class apart from the rest of the clutter, one immediately darts in their mind to teachers such as Vikas Divyakirti, Khan sir and the likes. However they stand for the highest and truest tenet of what characterizes one as a teacher, the undeterred and unchangeable commitment to serve students where money is the last check box to be ticked, the priority is to serve students and to ensure the personal talent they possess is put to the right use.

One found himself in the throes of cynicism of the aforementioned ilk, as it were, of teachers are the last in the league inching quickly to extinction, God shoves an example flipping your thesis on its head. By the virtue of marketing and media exposure, some teachers get the limelight, putting them at the centre stage, establishing them as the epitome of pedagogy. Unfortunately, we live in era where television media and social media in particular shapes public opinion. We are being conditioned to think , eat, feel and function according to a preconceived narrative without us even realising it. Before someone acts up in frustration, thinking we are digressing from the moot point, I would like to connect the dots by putting things in has to acknowledge the hidden gems who are  doing equally good work as a teacher, operate from a place of expertise and meticulous precision, know their subject like the back of their hand and yet oblivion engulfs their sheer talent. Why you may ask? There are two reasons, in order to understand and appreciate, more importantly, you need some degree of astuteness which clearly is absent in a generation high on the intoxication of social media indoctrinating the youth,  wherein the cringe worthy has become binge worthy, commonplace has become classic and bragging and bravado has become the bastion of the boisterous section, which has pushed true potential, humility and inherent sense of security and confidence to the backburner.

Touching upon my jaundice mindset for the last time, I summoned every bit of scepticism at my disposal, when a friend of mine , told me , wait for it, he has found someone who can give the best of the teachers a run for their money, citing what he called an incredible experience of being trained by a certain Rohan Shah an IELTS trainer from Vadodara, Gujarat. To give you some context as to why we are suddenly talking about him is that my friend has been trying to immigrate to Canada through EXPRESS ENTRY route where he needs to get a highly difficult score of triple 7 bands in SPEAKING, WRITING AND READING and additionally an 8 in LISTENING module. This was his 3rd attempt and after two consecutive failures, someone told him about ROHAN. Not sure if he should train under him, when already the best of trainers in MUMBAI had left a lot to be desired. However, he finally attended a demo session in his desperation to clear IELTS and what he described as a cogitative and trenchant teaching style brought on board by Rohan instantly hooked him. He went on to say he is the equivalent of khansir, in his teaching appeal , I thought he was romanticizing and is embellishing for no rhyme or reason.

I being the eternal sceptic decided to test his claims and posed as an IELTS aspirant to get a free demo from Rohan. I was determined to debunk the hype and prove that teachers, these days may be good but excellence in them is as rare as finding a polar bear in Mumbai. The demo started, a young man appeared on my laptop screen and greeted me, taking me through what was to follow. I am eloquent in English to say the least and assumed what would he teach me that I do not already know. He said, he would like to start with establishing a normalcy and comfort with the English language. I was like, okay? Afterall, this definitely is unexpected for an English class. He asked why most relationships between people fizzle out, and cease to have the chemistry which one  enjoyed initially? I was impressed and glued. This was different, I thought. He helped by explaining the fickleness of human mind and the extremely short attention span that is a by product of the era where from entertainment to food to friendship to shopping comes in various shapes and forms , all appearing to seduce you at the click of a button. Scroll through reels , products, potential partners and products until someone or something strikes as interesting and if not move to the next application. Sounds familiar isn’t it?

This guy has such in depth insight into a human mind, the way people think, their reactions, probable reactions. I tried too hard to puncture holes in his theories but failed, he very calmly would explain the rationale which one could not contest. Wise beyond his years. I thought I would ask him about some genuine problems that one faces in this dynamic world of a eddy, we are a part of. He, I mean. The explanations. The pragmatism. The outlook . Rohan and everything that transpired in the demo session can only be defined as sublime. A lesser human being may have found his session boring, but this man is an artist, his approach is unparalleled. Out of the box. Something one needs to experience. And despite having such an understanding, his sense of humour is equally sharp. He can say the funniest things with a poker face. Wrapping pun around serious issues showing you how humour can be used as an effective tool both to teach and to underscore social issues that otherwise would get scrambled in the confounding nitty-gritties.

Rohan Shah, is a teacher with all the qualities that would be found in a great one that are ruling the roost on social media, idolised and revered by one and all. As I previously described a hidden gem, who, needs more exposure not because he needs it, but because people like us who still value sharp minds deserve him.

My cynicism is too embedded to be washed out by one good teacher, but ROHAN SHAH, I am thankful for toning it down and giving me hope that all may not be lost. It also got me thinking why do the best minds inevitably has a Gujarat connection on a lighter note.



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