Saturday, 27 October 2012

A Teacher by Choice


Sending my son off to school for the first time was, as I mentioned in an earlier blogticle, one of the most heartrending moments of my life. However, this feeling has not prolonged …what with my son being so happy in school. Seeing him so attached to his teacher gladdens my heart no end.

Before he started his school the only thing I prayed for was not the facilities in the school, not an air-conditioned classroom, and lots of homework, but a teacher who was loving, caring and affectionate. The learning of course would follow. If a child finds himself in a nurturing and caring environment he is bound to learn easily without any effort.

Henry Brooks Adams says “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” How true is that! On the other hand, it is also true that “Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more.”  ~Bob Talbert

The smallest thing or action by a teacher remains with us forever. Thus, it also holds so true that while a good teacher can shape the life of a child, a bad one can destroy it.

I have heard teachers shouting and yelling at tiny tots, being disdainful to those little helpless, innocent souls who in their defence can only start crying and sobbing, howling out for their mothers…mothers who have entrusted their “jigar ka tukdas” to them. Worse still when their errors are pointed out to them they refuse to learn and believe they have done nothing wrong.

Primary teachers especially carry a large responsibility on their shoulders.  They are charged with educating the next generation of adults and are held accountable by parents and if they have the potential to shape a bright future for their students they can also scar their young, impressionable minds. What a teacher writes on the blackboard of life can never be erased.

It is thus sad that in India the teaching profession is the last choice, one taken as a desperate attempt for those who have no other options left to earn their livelihoods. The Guru-Shishya relationship has no meaning today and there is no pride felt in being a teacher unless you are one of those who teach in swanky schools and get a fat salary. 

It is also a gloomy reflection on our education system that primary teachers who welcome tiny tots into the world of education are grossly underpaid and are not as respected as senior teachers. All these factors I believe have led to the sorry state of our education system which does not nourish and foster the endless capabilities of our children but stunts their growth.

Cynical I maybe but I truly do not see the spark of satisfaction in the eyes of those who are in this most noble profession. I do see it in some very few who outshine all others since they are teachers because they ‘want to be’ and not because they are ‘forced to be’.