On the occasion of International Day of Older Persons 2021, Visasüle Metha and BK Sachii, both retired school teachers were conferred with “Distinguished Senior Citizens Award 2021” in recognition of their contributions to the society as teachers and mentors of the students.
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Special Correspondent
Along with the rest of the international communities across the globe, the “International Day of Older Persons 2021” was also observed across Nagaland on October 1.
In the State Capital Kohima, a programme was held under the theme “Digital Equity for All Ages” at the District Welfare Office (DWO).
On the occasion, Visasüle Metha and BK Sachii, both retired school teachers were conferred with “Distinguished Senior Citizens Award 2021” in recognition of their contributions to the society as teachers and mentors of the students.
According to an official bulletin, District Welfare Officer (DWO), Kohima, Akali Sema, who gave the welcome and keynote address, basing on the theme said especially during the pandemic where the accelerated use of digital technology has become a challenge for both offline and older generations, she therefore, emphasized that it was important to create access and meaningful participations of all in the current situation.
Akali further added that one of the objectives of observing the day throughout the world was to take steps to honour and accord respect to senior citizens.
Sharing her thoughts and experience as a teacher after receiving the award, Visasüle Metha, who served in Kohima English School, now Mezhiir Higher Secondary School, Kohima, for about 36 years said that it was always a “pleasure and a blessing” to teach the young students their basic “ABCs” when they first started school, whom she considered as her own children.
She later thanked the department for honouring her with the award, which she felt she did not deserve or expected.
Also speaking in the programme, the other recipient of the award and retired assistant headmaster of Baptist English School, Kohima, B K Sachii, said he was in the teaching profession and associated with for about 54 years. Sharing his thoughts on the present world where peace is lacking in many countries, he articulated that human beings were created in the image of God and added “if we neglect that, we are nothing”.
Earlier, the programme started with an invocation prayer by Senior Pastor, Baptist Mission Church, Kohima, Rev. James C. Neikhrienyu, the citations of the awardees were read out by Neikesonuo, UDA, while the vote of thanks was proposed by Welfare Inspector, Zahebeituo Kire.
Visasüle Metha: A gem amongst teachers
Great teachers have the ability to change lives for the better and Visasüle Metha was one of the gems amongst the faculty of private school teachers in Nagaland, who served passionately for 36 years at Kohima English School (now known as Mezhür Higher Secondary School) since 1971 till 2007, and she has impacted many lives for the better.
In education, it is a fact teachers can act as a support system that is lacking elsewhere in students’ lives.
They can be a role model and an inspiration to go further and to dream bigger right from their early years in a school. They hold students accountable for their successes and failures and good teachers won’t let their talented students get away with not living up to their full potential.
Throughout her entire career as private school teacher in Kohima, V. Metha (that was how she was popularly known), has been through it all, being one of the strongest supporting pillars to the students hailing from different family and financial backgrounds.
She was a teacher, a mother, a mentor and most of all a role model for her students. Her active participation in the faculty prayer groups has also been a great source of encouragement to the students, to the extent of accompanying her students appearing their matriculation exams in other institutions, and praying with them before they enter their exam halls.
Many of her students, assuredly, have become successful bureaucrats, doctors, engineers, lawyers and professionals in other fields which they still remember fondly. She was a firm advocate of discipline, punctuality and sincerity. She believes that education is incomplete without character building.
And so her interactions with the students were not merely with textbooks and the blackboard, she taught them how to be responsible citizens. As a school teacher, she always believed that the teacher-student connection is invaluable for some students, who may otherwise not have that stability.
She gave them a sense of hope to stay positive even when things seemed grim. She had a great sense of compassion for the students, understanding of her students’ personal lives, and never felt short in conveying her appreciation for their academic goals and achievements. She was a role model for the children right from their Nursery classes till they passed out and encouraged them to be positive, attentive and learn to work harder, and reach for the stars.
The many lives and families that have been established in Nagaland stand as a testament to her dedication and sacrifice towards her work and her students.
As the mother of eight children, she never shirked her teaching responsibilities, alongside the challenges of meeting the large family’s needs. She walked almost 6 km to and from school everyday for most of her teaching years. She would have continued her teaching and supporting role at the school that was her second home, had it not been for the deterioration of her health in 2001, after which she did not fully regain her health to continue her service as a teacher.
God healed her and enabled her to attend a memorable farewell accorded by her beloved colleagues and students. Through the Grace of the Almighty and her unceasing faith in Him, she has been in stable health till date.
As a private school teacher, she is not entitled any pension benefit although she has served in one school almost throughout her entire life, but she has no regrets.
She believes that her greatest joy is seeing the hundreds of lives that have been built and their valuable contributions to society in various fields. Outside her teaching career, she was actively involved in prayer and counseling groups and visited hundreds of homes in the process that has also helped many families during some of their worst times.
Of her many good qualities, she is known for her humility by one and all, a quality that is of the essence in building the society. It may be noted that she also counselled and encouraged her fellow colleague teachers and helped them bring out their best for the students.
She is presently serving as a deaconess in a church, where she has dedicated her heart and soul. One of her daily prayer points is for the welfare of students and the youth of our society. She is married to Zakieo Metha and blessed with eight children and 20 grandchildren.