Gurus, Teachers and Role Models – Changing Views

I grew up idolizing my school teachers, music and dance gurus. I always thought and and still largely do consider them above and beyond appraisal by students.

Recently, at a completely different setting, the departmental secretary shoved an appraisal form under my nose saying the usual “due in 4 days”.  Well this was a different form, the likes of which I have never had to deal with before. It in part involved appraising my PI, one of my “Gurus” in a broad sense. Questions were very straight

  1. Was he/she organized at work?
  2. Did he/she keep her lines of communication open with me?
  3. Did I consider him/her knwoledgable enough to guide me?
  4. How did I rate his/her performance?
  5. Did he/she have unreasonable demands or expectations?
Hmm you get the idea. I just sat on it and did more of the same… because I could not bring myself to truly analyse my PI/Guru.
I wasn’t honestly willing to give a blanket ” no problem whatsoever- he/she is the best-things cant be better”.
It so happened, at around the same time I ended up exchanging emails with friends about idolizing dancers.. which started off as exchanging responses/opinions to a recently published interview.
Here is what one friend said
” I used to idolize many people, until one day I realized that there is no use of idolizing people and it does not help me in anyway….”(Despite  certain misgivings  about a few dancers)…..  That does not stop me from admiring his/her art. I try a large extent to (view) the art created by these personalities rather than the person. I think this prevents me from Idolizing them. Idolizing someone does not help the fan….The “idol” does not exist for me. They are doing their job. So should I. “
Another friend of a friend said:
” I definitely wished my Guru didnt do a few things (personal behaviour and performance included). But would never accept when anyone else points out the same and have the last word on it.. and that word is my Guru is flawless!… I love my GURU.. period… no bad.. only good shall I hear…”
To confess I really found this attitude slightly discomforting…
So, I tried  putting this new found wisdom into practice ..dug up the form and tried filling it in with ” separate person from performance” appraisal. I truly found it difficult in this instance of mine. My problems were myriad. A few samples…
  1. De-linking PI’s personal habits and its implication on professional performance is definitely tricky.
  2. The minute I dissect PI’s weaknesses, I may not be able to look up to him/her as I usually do and will that affect my learning?
  3. Deep down in my heart I know the persons’s weakness in terms of work, but I have never come to terms with it, because he/she is dear to me
  4. Unreasonable demands (UD)- what happens if I vent this out ?  The UD seems reasonable given his/her personal life circumstances… hmmm???
  5. Above all is there a whistle blower protection act in place ? 🙂
I let it be and the form still lies at the bottom of my things to do. I might probably conveniently opt out.
Finally I thought, given my conditioning, it may be possible for me to dissociate the person from performance for all (exception in case of my mentors and may be for a few of those I have mentored). Would love to hear what you readers have to say.

One response to “Gurus, Teachers and Role Models – Changing Views

  1. Well said, Sangeetha. Idolizing anyone does not help the fan to grow and mature. This is applicable to all fields.

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