There are teachers whom we meet everyday at school or at college. The one who nonchalantly scribbles on the blackboard or the one who makes sure that you memorise each syllable by heart, each one holds a special place in our heart. But there are some who are so special that you can’t miss knowing about them. Lets meet the extraordinary teachers.

1. The one who swims across a river to be on time to teach.

A T Abdul Mallik is a teacher in a Primary School at Padinjattumuri in Malappuram district of Kerala since 1992. Earlier, he used to be late to work as he had to travel for three hours via two buses and walk two kilometres to reach his destination. Abdul decided to take matters into his own hands and cut short his journey. He walks for 10 minutes to reach the river Kadalundipuzha and swims across it to save time and Rs 30 everyday. He wraps his clothes and belongings in a plastic bag and wades his way to the other side. With an average salary of Rs 25,000, Abdul’s efforts is beyond an applause. An English doctor gifted him a fiber glass boat for his dedicated struggle. By far he has swam around 700 kilometres.

abdul malik

2. The Engineer

Rajesh is a Post Graduate lecturer in Jadau Senior Secondary School. He is crippled in both his hands and uses his legs to write on the blackboard to teach his students. A B.Tech from NIT Hamirpur, Rajesh has made himself skilled at computers and can very well type from the keyboard and mobile phone. His colleagues and students are inspired by him every day. Rajesh conveys a very strong message to the youth of India and he hopes that they are listening.


3. The Olympian

Jagwinder Singh is an armless art teacher who uses his feet to sketch, paint, cook, eat and even work on his computer. Being a cycling enthusiast, he bought his own bike after being inspired by the 2012 Olympics and started cycling from Patran to Patiala. He covers a distance of 25 km thrice in a week. Like his inspiration Joseph Veloce, Jagwinder too wants to be an inspiration rather than a victim.


4. The lady with the knowledge lamp

Beena Rao is a lecturer at Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology. She stepped out of her comfortable life to teach 5000 children from slum areas in Surat. Beena voluntarily started her quest in 2006 and by 2009 she built Prayas Free Coaching Classes attracting young college students who willingly devoted their evenings to educating slum kids. Apart from mathematics, science and regular subjects, Beena also coaches them in craft, yoga and sports.


5. The Durgas, Kalis and Saraswatis

On their way to the market, inquisitive Bengali housewives in Vadodara asked a young boy selling vegetables on the street whether he goes to school or not. A mere negative reply was all they needed to turn their world around. Since that day, the housewives have been dedicating their free time to teach the children on the street. They are not an organisation, not a big name; they are just ordinary people who are now teachers and huge inspirations to the entire nation.


6. Barefoot college

Founded by Sanjit “Bunker” Roy in 1972 in the village of Tilonia in Rajasthan, The Barefoot College engages local people in classes for solar energy, water, communication, women’s empowerment, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s action,  and wasteland development. Women from African countries like Tanzania and Zanzibar are also travelling to this village to become solar engineers and are lovingly known as ‘Solar Mamas’. Armed with knowledge and their training, these women then go on to educate others bridging the gap between women and freedom.


7. The bread winner

Basanti was born without hands. Her parents decided to not let her to go to school because of her disability. Basanti was adamant. At the age of six she started her education and quickly learnt to write with her feet. She is a contractual teacher in Rodaband secondary school and writes on the blackboard using her feet. She is now the sole earning member in her family but that has not deterred her at all.


8. The shopkeeper

Rajesh Kumar is a shopkeeper by profession but what makes him different from the rest is that he teaches around 80 children for free. On n abrupt visit to a construction site near the Delhi metro station, Rajesh saw the plight of the slum children and the neglect. He took up the responsibility to regularly teach them basic reading and writing and set up an open-air class room with a black wall and polystyrene foam sheets. He has been doing so for the past four years, two hours a day.

delhi metro school

9. Salman Khan

Sal started tutoring his cousin in mathematics via internet. When other relatives asked for the same, he created a youtube channel and started uploading his videos. On gaining popularity through a million hits in few years, Sal quit his job as a financial analyst and started Khan Academy. This institution not only helps students but also to teachers through their micro lectures and tools. Khan is backed by Bill Gates himself, who is a self proclaimed admirer and has gone on record to say that he uses the videos to teach his kids too.


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Sehar Akram
I love old books, all things stationery, rain-washed roads, copper-hued autumn and many more things.