Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Teachers' Day - A trilogy - Part III

In the last two parts of the series, I wrote about my personal experience; that of being a student and later of being a teacher. Over a period of time these have been my observations.

According to our Veda, the place a teacher or a guru is placed topmost in the hierarchy after mother and father. Students came to their Ashrams to learn at a very young age and it was the teachers' sacred duty to mould these young minds and shape their lives. Students did not question the Guru. These Gurus were wise and well versed.

According to Maria Montessori a person cannot be called a teacher. She just directs and guides the child. Children are like little saplings which require the right kind of ingredients for them to bloom. The teacher is the gardener who would nurture these saplings and give them a strong root or foundation so that they grow into strong and sturdy trees. Various eminent educationists and philosophers have devised different methods of teachings. But whatever the method one follows, I feel a teacher should have lot of patience and love towards children and an aptitude for teaching. These two go a long way.

But somehow over a period of time certain aspects have disturbed my mind with regard to this profession. Imparting knowledge, in other words teaching is considered a noble profession. But of late I have read of so many bizarre stories where teachers have been beaten up by students or students have launched agitation against teachers for various reasons.

On the other hand an even more disturbing trend is of teachers who should be enlightening are themselves in the dark. I have read articles where teachers have made the students from lower caste wash the toilets in the school, they have caned the students that have resulted in the little ones losing their sight or hearing and sometimes these actions have even lead to loss of life.

What has lead to this rotten state of affairs? Is this because teaching profession over a period of time has lost its nobility? Even after teaching over several decades, teachers are still living what one can call a 'non-comfortable' life style. India's future lies in its school rooms and if an important component of that ecosystem, the teachers, are not happy, the future of the country is also at stake. This is one of the primary reasons why teaching is hardly a coveted profession for today's qualified professionals.

I have seen instances in many schools where teachers are hired not because they are qualified but there are not many available. Any attempt to fill the vacancies without cognizance to the teaching abilities / qualifications will only affect the standard of teaching. And this is one aspect the Government needs to examine closely.

Hence I feel that unless teaching as a profession and the teachers are given their due place and recognition we cannot hope to bring back the former glory where we can equate the status of a Guru next to that of parents.

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