My Teacher Summary Notes
My Teacher About the Author
Helen Adams Keller, the American author, political activist and a lecturer was bom on 27th June 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama to Captain Arthur H. Keller and Kate Adams Keller. In 1882, when she was 19 months old, she was stricken by an illness that left her blind and deaf.
In 1886, according to the advice of an ENT specialist her parents contacted Alexander Gram Bell, who was working with deaf children at that time. Bell advised them to contact Perkins Institute for the Blind. The director of the institure asked former student Anne Sullivan, to become Helen Keller’s instructor.
That was the beginning of a 49 – year – long relationship with her teacher. Anne Sullivan came to he house on March 3rd, 1887 and helped her make tremendous progress with her ability to communicate.
In May, 1888, Helen Keller attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind. In 1894, Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller moved to New york to attend Humason School for the Deaf and Horace Mann school for the Deaf. In 1896, they returned to Massachusetts and Keller entered the Cambridge School for Young Ladies to prepare for RadclifFe College. She entered Radclilfe in 1900 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904 at the age of 24, becoming the first deaf-blind person to do so.
In 1903, the 22 year old Keller got her authobiography, The story of My Life published. Her other published works include Optinism, The world I LiveIn (1908); The Song of the Stone Wall; Out of the Dark (1913); My Religion (1927); Midsream – My Later Life; Peace at Eventide; Helen Keller in Scotland; Helen Keller’s Journal; Let Us Have Faith; Teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy; and The open Door. She wrote a total of 12 books and got them all published. In addition, she was a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers.
Helen Keller went on to become a world famous speaker and author. She is remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities and for numerous other causes. She was a suffragette, a pacifist, a radical socialist and birth control supporter. She wasthe friend of many famous figures including Dr. Alexander Gram Bell, Charlie chaplin and Mark Twain.
On 14th September 1964, President Lyndon B. Jonson awarded Helen Keller the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the United State’s highest two civilian honours. Helen died in her sleep on June 1, 1968 at her home. The present excerpt is taken fromher autobiography, The story of My Life (1903).
It is an inspiring story of a person who discovered the world through her fingertips with the help of a great and dedicated teacher. This remarkable story ofteacher Anne sullivan and her student Helen Keller has been told throughout generations. One cannot mention one name without thinking of the other since the two lived and worked together interdependent^ for decades until Sullivan’s death in 1936.
My Teacher Summary
The lesson “My Teacher” is an extract from the autobiography ‘The story of My life’ of Helen Keller. Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist and lecturer. When she was nineteen months old, she was striken by an illness that left her blind and deaf.
It is an inspiring story of a person who discovered the world through her finger- tips with the help ofher dedicated teacher Anne Sullivan. The two of them lived and worked together interdependently for decades until Sullivan’s death in 1936. This excerpt is Helen’s homage to her dear teacher.
Helen Keller writes that the day when her teacher, Anne Masefield Sullivan arrived was the one of the most important days of her life. She was seven years old when her teacher arrived at their house.
She could sense her mother hurrying about the house and thought that something unusual was going to happen. She tells us that she was like a ship on sea, engulfed in dense fog, grouping her way to the shore, before her education began. Without Helen being aware some approached and took her in her arms and led her into the house. It was her teacher, Anne Sullivan.
The next morning her teacher gave her a doll. She learnt later that the doll was seat to her by the little blind children at the Perkins institution. Miss Sullivan taught her to spell the word ‘d-o-l-l, by slowly spelling the words into Helen’s hand.
When she succeeded in spelling the words correctly she ran to her mother with childish pleasure and pride and demonstrated her newly acquired knowledge. In the coming days she learnt many words in this uncomprehending way. She began to understand that everything had a name.
Miss Sullivan adopted unconventional ways to teach her. She put the doll into Hellen’s lap and spelled the word ‘d – o – l – l’ to make her understand that “d – o – 1 – 1” meant both Helen and the doll Once, both Helen and Miss Sullivan had a misunderstanding over the words ‘M-u-g’ and ‘w-a-t-e-r’.
Helen was confused with both the words. In her anger his had thrown her doll on the floor and it had broken into pieces, when Miss Sullivan tried to correct her. When the broken pieces of the doll were cleaned, she had felt a kind of satisfaction that the cause of his discomfort had been removed. Later Miss Sullivan took her out for a walk in the warm sunshine. The warm sunshine always pleased Helen.
They walked down the path to the well – house. Her teacher placed her had under the spout of the tubewell, when someone was drawing water. The teacher spelled the word ‘Water’ on Helen’s Other palm. It was then that she realized that “water” meant something wonderful and cool, that flowed over her hand. Helen felt that the living word ‘water’ had awakened her soul and gave it light, hope, joy and set it free.
After this incident, Helen became even more eager to learn. She realised that everything had a name and each name gave birth to a new thought in her. Back at her house, she felt that every object which she touched quivered with life. This ‘New sight’, had made her to visualize everything was lively she felt remorse for having broken her doll.
Helen concludes this except by writing that she learnt many new words that day but she had forgotten what words she had learnt. Those words made her world blossom, “Like Aaron’s rod, with flowers’ (The bihle states that Aaron was the brother of Moses. His blossoming rod, or staff signified that his tribe was to be the priest ofthe Israelites)
Helen writes that it would have been difficult to find a more happy child than her, that day. For the first time in her life she looked forward for a new day to dawn.
Anne Sullivan: Anne Sullivan, born in 1866 in Massachusetts to poor Irish immigrants, suffered from the eye disease trachoma, which left her nearly blind as a child.
In 1880, she enrolled at the Perkins School, where she was taught to read and write. She underwent surgery to correct her vision and went on to graduate as the class valedictorian in 1886, after which she became a tutor at the school and at the age of 20 went on to be the tutor to HelenKeller.
Honeysuckle: A widely distributed climbing with tubular flowers that are typically fragrant and of two colours of shades, opening in the evening for pollination by moths.
Plummet: Fall or drop straight down at high speed.
Sounding Line: A weighted line with distances marked off at regular intervals, used to measure the depth of water under a boat.
Laura Bridgman: Is known as the first deaf-blind American child to gain significant education in the English language, fifty years before Helen Keller. She was educated at the Perkin’s Institute for the Blind.
“like Aaron’s rod,: with flowers”:
A reference to the Bible (Numbers 17) Aaron was the brother of Moses. His blossoming rod, or staff signified that his tribe was to be the priest of the Israelites.
My Teacher Questions and Answers
Short Answer Questions
Which according to Helen Keller was the most important day of her life?
According to Helen Keller the most important day of her life was the day her teacher, Miss Sullivan arrived at her house.
When did Helen Keller meet her teacher for the first time?
Helen Keller, met her teacher for the first time on third of March, 1887, three month befores she was seven years old.
How old was Helen Keller when she met her teacher for the first time?
She was about seven year old, when she met her teacher.
……………… was the name of Helen Keller’s teacher.
Miss Anne Sullivan.
What made Helen Keller feel that something unusual was going to happen? How did she react?
Helen guessed vaguely from her mother’s signs and from the hurrying to and from in the house that something unusual was about to happen. She was angry and bitter for weeks but at that time she felt a deep languor had succeeded her passionate struggle.
What does Helen compare her life with?
Helen compared her life to a great ship at sea in a dease fog, tense and anxious, grouping her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding line.
“Light! give me Light” was the wordless cry of Helen’s soul.
When Helen heard footsteps, she stretched out her hands thinking it was her ……………….
What was the purpose of the arrival of the person who held Helen in her arms?
To teach and educate Helen.
What did the teacher give her the day after she came? Who had sent it?
The teacher gave Helen a doll which was sent as a gift by the little blind children at the Perkins Institution.
Laura Bridgman had dressed the doll.
Why was Helen flushed with childish pleasure and pride?. How does she express it?
Miss Sullivan spelt the word ‘D – O – L – L’ into Helen’s haud. Helen got interested in that finger play and tried to imitate it. When she finally succeeded in making the letters correctly she was flushed with childish pleasure and pride. She ran downstairs to her mother holding up her hands and made the letter for doll by simply making her fingers go in monkey like imitation.
What was the uncomprehending way in which Helen learnt to spell?
Miss Sullivan would spelled the letters of words into hands and Helen would try to imitate her. She learnt to spell a great many words in this uncomprehending way.
The spelling d-o-1-1 applied to both. What did the teacher mean by “both”?
The teacher meant that the ‘doll in Helen’s lap and Helen were both ‘dells’. She compared Helen to a doll.
Why did Helen dash the doll upon the floor? How did she feel about her action?
One day, Miss Sullivan and Helen had a misundersanding over the words “M-u-g” and “W-a-t-e-r”. Miss Sullivan had tried to impres it upon Helen that “H-u-g” is mug and tha “W-a-t-e-r” is water but Helen persisted in confounding both the words.
The teacher gave up teaching those words for the time being, but tried to broach it up at the first opportunity, helen grew impatient and seized the doll and dashed it onto the floor. She was delighted when she felt the frangments of the broken doll at her feet. Helen felt neither sorrow nor regret about her passionate out burst. She felt a sense of satisfaction that the cause of discomfort was removed.
What was the well – house covered with?
The well-house was covered with honeysuckle.
When did the narrator feel repentance and sorrow? Helen’s teacher, Miss Anne Sullivan, demonstrated and taught her the word water at the well – house. Later when they came back home Helen remembered the doll she had broken and tried to put the braken pieces together. At that time her eyes filled with tears realizing what she had done. For the first time she felt repentance and sorrow.
What were some of the first few words that Helen learnt on the eventful day?
The first few words that Helen learnt on the eventful day at the well – house were Mug, water, Mother, father, sister and teacher.
II. Answer the Following Questions in About a Page:
Paragraph Answer Questions
Why does Helen refer to the day as an eventful one?
Helen describes the arrival of Miss Sullivan, her teacher and how Helen leamt to speak through her fingers. She describes the day her teacher arrived at her house the most important day in her life. From that day, Helen and Miss Sullivan begin a long and difficult journey. Together they achieved the impossible. Helen least the word ‘d-o-1-1’ by understanding how her teacher spelt it on her hand. It gave her immense pleasure and pride.
Helen recalls the day and her experience of learning to sepll the word ‘water’ when her teacher demonstrated it at the well – house. She had much difficulty in compherending the difference between the words ‘Mug’ and ‘Water’. That living word “water”, awakened her sould, gave it light, hope, joy and set it free.
She began to see everything with due strange, new sight that had come to her. For the first time she felt repentance and sorrow for haven broken the doll. Hence, she describes the day when Miss Sullivan came, as an evnet full day when she learnt many new words which would eventually make the world blossom for her.
How did the introduction of the word “water” awaken Helen Keller’s soul?
After the introduction of the word ‘water’, Helen felt a misty consciousness as ofsomething forgotten – a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to her. She says that the living word ‘w-a-t-e-r’ awakend her soul and gave it fight, hope, toy and set it free. She knew that there were more barriers to overcome, but she felt a strange confidence which made her to think that the barriers could in time be swept away.
What transformation took place in the narrator after her visit to the well – house? What did she do on entering the house?
After the visit to the well – house Helen was eager to learn. She understood that everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. When she returned to the house every object which she touched seemed to vibrate with life. She realized that she felt so, because she saw everything with the strange, new sight that had come to her.
On entering her house, Helen remembered the doll she had broken. She felt her way to the hearth and picked up the broken pieces of the doll. Helen rainly tried to put the broken pieces together at that time, her eyes filled with tears, for she realized what she had done. And for the first time she felt repentance and sorrow.
What incident led the narrator to dash her new doll to the floor that resulted in its breaking into pieces? What were her feelings then?
One day, Helen and Miss Sullivan had a misunderstanding over the words “M-u-g” and “W-a-t-e-r”. Miss Sullivan had tried to make her understand that the word ‘M-u-g’ was for ‘mug’ and that ‘W-a-t-e-r’ was for ‘water’ but Helen was still confused with both the words.
The teacher hacl given up teching the words for the time being but took it up at the very first opportunity. Helen became impatient with her teacher’s repeated attempts. In her anger, she, seized the new doll and dashed it upon the floor and it broke into fragments.
At that time, Helen felt neither sorrow nor regret. She had not liked the doll. The still; dark world which she lived, never gave her an opportunity for strong sentiments such as love or affection or for tender feelings towards anything Helen felt a sense of satisfaction when she realized that the doll which caused her discomft was removed from her presence.
How was the summer of 1887 special for Helen? How did Helen learn the joy of nature?
The summer of 1887 was special for Helen. Her teacher, Miss Sullivan had arrived at her house. At that time she did not know that her future held Marvels and surprises for her. Before Anne Sullivan come, Helen could not speak or communicate with anyone. As she was blind and deaf she couldn’t learn to speak or read and write and could barely talk.
Miss Sullivan taught Helen, how to spell words by spelling into Hellen’s hand. The first word that Helen learnt was ‘doll’. She didn’t know that she was spelling a word or even that words existed. Later she was learned to spell many more words in that uncomprehending way. She began to understand that everything had a name. After the incident at the well – house, where she learnt to spell the word ‘water’, she felt a thrill of returning thought and the mystery of language was revealed to her.
Helen says that the living word awakened her soul, gave it light, nope, joy and set it free. From then on – wards she was eager to learn. Helen learnt a great deal of words that day, words that were to make the world blossom for her “like Aaron’s rod; with flowers”. She felt that is was the only happiest child in the world that day.
III. Answer the Following Questions in About two pages:
Essay Answer Questions
What does Helen Keller mean when she says “Light! -, give me light!” was the wordless cry of my soul”?
Helen keller was blind and deaf from her childhood. On the day when her teacher Miss Anne Sullivan was to arrive at her house, she was hopeful of somebody’s arrival in the house. She stood at door of her house stood there expectantly for something to happen.
She deserities the warm sun rays falling on her upturned face she ran her fingers over the honey suckle that covered the porsh she was not clear or certain about her future at tht time, whether it held marrel or surprise for her, she did not know. Anger and bettemess had preyed upon her continually for weeks and a deep langour had succeeded thost intense struggle.
Helen felt miserable in the world of darkness, where there was no kept of coming into the world of knowledge and light. She compares herself to a ship that is surrounded by dense white fog and has lost its way at ses. That ship blindly followed a soundline !’ (foghorn of a light house); plummiting in the sea and sailing without having knowledge of l hed anger son its way and waiting for something to happen.
Helen was facing the same situation in her life she was like that ship lost in the sea. There was no sounding line or any compains to lead her. Her soul’s cry was to provide her with light of leave and knowledge her cry was wordless as she could not speak % of out or cry out those words, because she was blind and deaf and also dumb. She was ignorant to all words, tell the things of this world.
How did Anne Sullivan provide Helen with hope for a successful future and faith that the world would recognise her and love her?
Miss Anee Sullivan was a very innovative teacher. She lead Helen from the world of darkness towards light, world of knowledge. She played a definitive role in teaching Helen everything that she knew and understand things in nature. Miss Sullivan taught Helen to spell words by spelling words slowly on Helea’s fingers.
Miss Sullivan had a great deal of Patience. She started to teach Helen the very neet day she arrived. Miss Sullivan, taught Helen ther ‘first word ‘Doll’ by slowly spelling the words on Helen’s fingers. When Helen succeded in spelling the word ‘doll’ correctly she was flushed with pleasure and pride. Miss Sullivan the way in which Miss Sullivan demonstrated and taught Helen the word ‘water’ at the well – house gave Helen a new confidende and the joy of having understood ‘thought’.
The incident revealed the mystery of language to Helen. The world ‘water’ become a living word for Helen. That living word awakened her soul, gave it fight, hope, joy and set it free. She had broken the barrier that she herself had set up. Helen bagan to see eveiything with the strange, new sight that had come to her. This ‘strange sight’was given to her by Miss Sullivan. From that day, she learnt a great deal of new words.
Those words made the world blossom for Helen, ‘The world blossomed ‘like Aron’s rod, with flowers’. For the first time in her life Helen longed for a new day to come. Her teacher Miss Anne Sullivan provided Helen with hope for a successful future and faith the world would recognise her and love her.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it”. Elaborate this with reference to the life of Helen Keller?
Helen Keller states that ‘Although the world is of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it’. Everyone in the world face difficulties in the life but they somehow manage to over come them. The life of Helen Keller exemplifies this. Helen Keller was stricken by an illness that left her blind and deaf, when she was 19 months old. In 1886, according to the advice of an ENT specialist her [parents contacted Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with (deaf children at the time.
Bell advised them to contact Perkins Institute fo rthe Blind. The director of the Institute asked former student Anne Sullivan, to become Helen’s instructor. Anne Sullivan came to her house on March 3rd, 1887 and helped her make tremendous progress with her ability to communicate, Later, Helen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904 at the age of 24, becoming the first deaf – blind person to do so.
The life story of Helen Keller is inspiring. It is a story of a l person who discovered the world through her fingertips with the help of her dedicated teacher, Miss Anne Sullivan. Helen overcome – many obstacles in the path of gaing in knowledge. But she over came these obstacles, with a confidence that was instilled by her teacher.
Do you think “Walking with afriend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light”? Comment?
Yes, I certainty think‘‘Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light”. I can compliment this adage with another ‘A Friend in need is a friend indeed”.
The life – story of Helen Keller does make this saying true. Without her teacher, Miss Anne Sullivan, Helen could not have achieved so much in her life. Miss Sullivan, became a friend, philosopher and guide to Helen, their relationship lasted for 49 years, through which Miss Sullivan guided Helen from the world of darkness into the world of light i.e, the world of knowledge. Helen couldnot have achieved all she achieved in life without Miss Sullivan. Hence the quote by Helen Keller is apt for her life story.
My Teacher Language Activity
Exercise – 1
My own recollction is that I had not any high regard for my ability. I used to be astonished whenever I won prizes and scholarships. But I very jealously guarded my character. The least little blemish drew tears from my eyes. When I merited or seemed to the teacher to merit, a rebuke, it was unbearable, for me. I remember having once ccei\ ed corporal punishment. I did not so much mind the punishment a- the fact that it was considered my desert. I wept piteously. 1 twrwas when I was in the first or second standard.
Read the above passage and answer the following questions
What kind of regard did M.K. Gandhi have for his ability?
MK Gandhi did not have any high regard for his ability.
How did M.K. Gandhi guard his character?
M. K. Gandhi very jealously guarded his character.
What was unbearable for him?
Gandhiji found the teachers rebuke unbearable.
What did M.K. Gandhi do when once he received corporal punishment?
He had wept piteously.
In which class was he studying at that time?
Gandhi thinks that the incident happened when he was in first or second standard.
Suggest a suitable title for the passage.
‘Gandiji’s regard for his character’
Exercise – 2
A spirit of non – violence is a state of feeling inspired by a moral ideal. But every moral idea is bound up with some corresponding intellectual outlook. And the Indian outlook as I see it, is the intellectual counterpart ofthe Indian spirit of non – violence. It is a belief that, for us human beings, there is more than one approach to truth and to salvation. By ‘truth’ I mean a glimpse of absolute spiritual Reality. By ‘salvation’ I mean attaining harmony in some degree with Reality when one has had a vision of Reality.
The board – minded approach of Reality is, I believe, characteristic of India. If I am right, a devout and zealous Shaiva and a devout and zealous Vaishnava would each recognise that the other was seeking truth and salvation in his own way. Each might perhaps claim that his own way was the better one, at any rate, for himself. But he would not maintain that his own was the only way that had any truths or virtue in it.
What does the author mean by ‘A spirit of non – violence’?
The author means that a spirit of non – violence is a state of feeling inspired by a moral ideal.
With what is every moral idea bound up?
Every moral idea is bound up with some corresponding intellectual outlook.
What does the author mean by ‘truth’ and ‘salvation’? ‘Truth’ means a glimpse of spiritual reality?
‘Salvation’ means attaining harmony in some degree with Reality when one has had a vision of reality.
What, according to the author, would a devout and zealous Shaiva and a similar Vaishnava recognize about each other?
They would each recognise that the other was seeking truth and salvation in his own way.
Suggest a suitable title for the passage?
‘The spirit of Non- violence’.
Exercise – 3
The aim of literature is the good ofthe world. Its purpose is not to reflect the World but to redeem the world. Literature is not merely for the entertainment of an individual, but for the betterment and elevation of both the heart and the soul. A poet is not a mere entertainer but a prophet who inspireas a spirit of confidence and dynamism in the community to which he belongs.
In fact, the greater the artist, the wider will be the appeal of his words. A great poet, novelist or dramatist is not of one country, but of the entire world; not of an age, but of all ages. For such a cosmopolitan artist, art is not for art’s sake but for the sake, of society, morality and humanity.
What are the aim and purpose of literature?
The aim of literature is the good of the world. Its purpose is not to reflect the world but to redeem the world.
What does a poet do besides entertaining?
A poet is also a prophet who inspires a spirit of confidence and dynasim in the community to which he belongs.
What is the place of a great artist in this world?
A great artist belongs to the entire world.
What does art mean to a cosmopolitan artist?
To a cosmopotition artist art is not for art’s sake but for the sake, of society, morality and humanity.
Exercise – 4
When I go into a stranger’s library I wander round the book – shelves to learn what sort of a person the stranger is, and when he comes in I feel that I know the key to his mind and the range of his interests. Ahouse without books is a characterless house, no matter how rich the Persian rugs only tell you whether he has got money, but the books tell you, whether he has got a mind as well.
It is not a question of money that we don’t buy books. I repeat that the books are the cheapest as well as the best part of the equipment of a house. You can being your library with the expenditure of a few dollars. Nearly all the best literature in the world is at your command at two dollars a volume. For 100 dollars you can get a library of fifty books.
Even if you don’t read them yourself they are a priceless investment for your children. What delight is there like the revelation of books the sudden impact of a master – spirit, the sense of a window flung wide open to the universe? It is the adventures of the mind, the joy of which does not pass away, that give the adventure of life itself, beauty and fragrance.
Why does the adventure of mind not pass away?
Because it gives the adventure oflife itself beauty and fragrance.
Why does the writer wander round the book – shelves when he goes to a stranger’s house?
He does so to learn what sort of a person the stranger is.
How are the books useful even if you do not read them?
Even if you don’t read them yourself they are a priceless investment for your children.
What do the books tell you about the stranger?
(a) That he is a rich man
(b) That he believes in priceless investment
(c) That he has good mental faculty
(c) That he has good mental faculty
By going round the library the author knows about the stranger’s
(a) investment for his children
(b) interest in different aspects of life
(c) total amount of money spent on books
(b) interest in different aspects of life
When one reads a good book one is delighted because
(a) one finds the windows of the library opened
(b) one feels the influence of a great writer
(c) one knows much about the universe
(c) one knows much about the universe
The word ‘master – spirit’ in the passage means
(a) a prominent writer
(b) the spiritual effect of a master
(c) one who has a control over the spirit of a man
(b) the spiritual effect of a master