Her Story – My Teacher – Mercia Selva Malar

“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning.” There are many quotes out there on teachers, let me pick this to talk about one of the people who has inspired me to no end.

Teachers are your second parents they say. For me, often they were the first too. While I reminisce about each one of my teachers from the first to the very last academic year, today let me tell – Her Story – Mercia Selva Malar.

Mercia Ma’am – as we all call her – was my lecturer in CMS college, Coimbatore. We all, from the beginning, knew her as an inexhaustible fount of knowledge. College, as you can imagine comes with a collection of jokes/mimes ironically for people like that. Someone drew a cartoon where Mercia Ma’am is on a scooter ride with her husband and even then, she’s reading a book, and I am running behind her asking for doubts😊. I was happy that I was considered for the part in the caricature of someone important! 😊

I remember observing her walk and thinking that each step of hers had a purpose attached and hence the fastened pace. Her story is probably small because we are talking about..well within two decades here and is perhaps simple to many. ‘Teaching’ as a profession is considered, at least by some that I know, as a ‘settled’ job. No pressures, no lay-offs, just a bunch of brats who can no longer be controlled by their own parents 😃

Mercy Ma’am is my inspiration because I could see that she invested purpose, commitment and hard work in every step of her way all these years that I know her. Her journey was/is/continues to be made of innumerable, very meaningful steps. I’m unable to capture the true essence of that line, you had to be a witness to understand. But let me try anyways.

Right from the beginning of her career which she started in the same college she studied, she had overcome what you would call silly obstacles, seen the larger picture and worked dedicatedly toward the same. What I’ve admired in her is the attitude that – maybe there are people who create issues in the world, but I’m too busy creating my own niche. When she was not accepted as a teacher, she committed her time to understanding the students better, giving extra classes and studying both for knowledge to impart and her career growth. When she was not accepted as a colleague, she worked relentlessly toward the betterment of the college, the course and eventually again the students. 

Her milestones, though small in the beginning, started appearing toward the middle of a tedious run. First year of her career she cleared SLET, couple of years down the lane, she joined Republic of Maldives, at GCE O level where the President’s son learnt – Majeediyya School, Male. For family reasons (I’m not delving into the women having to relocate for family topic here – that’s a different debate) , she returned to India where she joined CMS college and was nominated as the course coordinator. What amused me was that since CMS college was just on the verge of rolling out some courses like MFC and MIB, she would, after college hours, read up from the PSGIM library to understand more. In her decade-long stint with the college, she organized two national conferences, one international conference, regularly ran a Commerce Forum, established and actively ran Junior JCI, OISCA-International, Entrepreneurship Development Cell, etc. I have not mentioned the various social forums like Siruthuli that she encouraged us students to participate in. She, with her leadership, managed a high rating from the NAAC for the college.

She then joined SCMS-Cochin where she was a part of DFID-DelPHE Research team and visited Ghana and Tanzania to present the findings of the research study. It was here that she published her first international journal article. Again, for family reasons, she had to leave Cochin and relocate to Palakkad where she joined LEAD College of Management. There she was awarded NFP Scholarship of the Netherlands government and participated in ICHUD Progam of IHS, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

After 3 years in LEAD, she joined as the Dean-Academic Affairs, Emirates College for Management and Technology, Dubai, UAE. During her term, there, she also served as an adjunct faculty at Wollongong University for two semesters teaching BBA and MSc (Logistics) students. But then, she had to return to India due to her Dad’s demise in 2015.

She was invited by Dr. Thomas George, Chairman, LEAD College of Management to be Dean-Academics at LEAD which she joined with great zeal. As always and everywhere she went, she had a steep hill of issues like lack of discipline, lack of professionalism and power scramble. What I have observed in her is that, she would work her way anyways. She was always in a hurry to identify and materialize great things for the generations she taught that I don’t think she really cared for the hill or mole hill of issues. In her second stint at LEAD, she introduced News Analysis, Value Added Courses, Faculty Think Tank, etc. for an enhanced teaching-learning experience and was awarded the best woman scholar and educator award by National Foundation for Entrepreneurship Development on Women’s day 2016. She was also awarded the Woman of Distinction, by Venus International Foundation on the same day.

Last year, there was yet another milestone that she crossed. She published a book ‘Aspire to be a great teacher’ with ISBN. She had invested a decade long of struggles and efforts in it. Today, the book has reached countries like Germany, Nigeria, South Africa, Republic of Maldives, Hong Kong and Thailand. It will be soon available in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Singapore. This year, she was acknowledged by AIMS international for her achievements in management studies.

While I end my note here with that beautiful milestone, she still walks fast 😊 she still is constantly tussl

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