Teachers not only impart knowledge and enlighten but also help in shaping the career of students. India celebrated its National Teachers Day on September 5th. Ms Bhagirathy Jhingran, Teacher at Pathways World School, Aravali shares her views on ‘teaching’ and ‘teacher’ in this twenty first century where technology has over powered our lives.
In a fast moving world, where technology gets obsolete, by the time one understands it, the chances of a species called ‘teachers’ getting endangered are larger than ever before.
A teacher, who was conventionally meant to be the repository of knowledge, the ultimate confidante, the sounding board, the counsellor and an omnipresent guide, is now slowly feeling the warmth, of this extinction. However, resilience is one quality of this creature, which will ensure that this species takes on the future with a new vigour and vitality, for generations to come.
A teacher is perhaps the bridge between your protected life in your community and one’s initiation into the real world. A teacher takes on the role of a shock absorber, is a reservoir of advice, a story-teller of a wide range of experiences, a never-say-die supporter, the expert of the subject area and the always-by-your-side cheerleader. It is this role, which can never be replaced, even by consultants, distance education packages, the best on-line educational services, customised portals and e-assessments, as is being envisaged by the education system at large. We still need the human touch, the shoulder to cry on, the patient listener who listens to our woes, our endless queries, our dilemmas. And that is the role of a teacher who goes on as an unsung hero, with tremendous physical, emotional and intellectual pressures to be able to match up with the energy of the students. The much deserved annual vacation perhaps, is the only time for the teacher to recharge and realign his/her mental and physical energies in order to get ready for ‘yet another power packed academic year’, the dividends of which are more emotional than financial at the end of the day.
Being a school teacher is a rather powerful job, as we tirelessly wield control over deteriorating attention spans, cope with new equations in relationships where we are no more revered by blind adulation but win over students who treat us as equals even as they give us warm regards and acknowledgement which are enough to sustain the soul of a real teacher. We strive to invent new and innovative ways and means to connect with a generation which is getting as ‘selfish’ as it can get. We command respect without cracking the whip or controlling minds as we strive to give direction to thought, energy and passion in the students with a singular hope that someday, these students will turn around and make a difference to the world that they live in. We teach and learn with our students each day, about changing social orders in the society even as we ensure that there aptitude test scores are perfect. We take them on a treacherous journey which accepts and celebrates the ‘Individual’ who learns to seamlessly blend into the human-scape of ‘Society’ while guiding them to overcome differences of society, geography & economics. And this journey is truly, worth its while, as each living teacher on this planet will vouch for.
And the day, the students, do give back to society or take their classroom lessons rather seriously and apply them to problem-solving in the real world, much water would have flown under the bridge, and an aging teacher will chuckle in some part of the world, reading about her student in the newspaper who has created another pathway to progress for humanity.
And that’s the way, we would like to be remembered and celebrated by the world year after year. It would be greatly appreciated if the nation recognises the power of the teacher in nation building and creating ‘social capital’ which is as important if not more than our trade, infrastructure, political and physical environment.
Teaching & Learning in India, since 1994