Today a yawning chasm exists between the teacher and the taught, and it seems ever-widening.
A long time ago, relationships between teacher and pupil, were respected. But down the years, this has metamorphosed into something else altogether. Commercialisation of the teaching profession, lack of change in the education system and the inability on the part of professors to keep up with the changing world scenario are factors responsible for the down slide.
Next to the soldier, the teacher is said to serve the country most. The statement could have been more apt a few decades ago, but today the over-commercialisation of education has enveloped within its ambit a motley crowd of teachers, whose resources for teaching or love for imparting knowledge cannot claim for this kind of adulation. A yawning chasm exists between the teacher and the taught, and it seems ever-widening!
Of all the teachers, lecturers or professors that a student comes across during his academic career, in the school stage and subsequently in the university, the one that leaves a lasting impression in his mind is the school teacher. The formative years are marked by varied experiences- of the masters and their characteristic styles, their fascination for extra-curricular activity, and their obsession with the art of teaching. Indeed, they had in their possession all that could be termed “pre-requisites” for a competent teacher- techniques, personal interest in the subjects, and full dedication.Those were days when teachers would involve themselves wholly in their tasks; they knew intimately every student under them. The classroom and the school were their “home” and the students their “children”. With that kind of application to their profession, it is but fitting to recall the well-known invocation-” Gurussakshaat Parabrahma thasmai Sri Guravey Namaha.”…”To the teacher embodying the Supreme Being, obeisance”.
But in total contrast, the teachers of today stand out as a poor parody- uncreative, conventional beings! The impersonal system of the modern business-oriented educational institutions makes the teacher, a clerk, a machine, a grindstone doing the same thing over and over again….never allowing to smell the flowers of life!” The humdrum of commercialised set-up does not permit expansion of brilliance, nor any indulgence in out-of-the-routine. He comes a mere cog in the wheel. Yet it is also true that persons choosing the profession are not rightly “qualified”, preferring to act the part of “surrogate parents” or policemen during class hours, and go back home with a resolutive indifference, and philosophic detachment, not very different from the shift-workers walking-off at the end of their eight-hour duty. Dedication is an innate quality that one is born with, while true case in teaching comes “by art, not chance.” When teachers put in unsolicited, extra hours and efforts for no recompensation it proved their dedication, and joy in shaping the students entrusted to them. A chronic disease has now started spreading among them- for making easy money. They are content with “covering” the lessons in the class rather than help assimilation by all students.
It is a deliberate and calculated practice to register additional income through “private” tuition to the “inferior” students. This precious act has become so common that most of the teachers are seen running parallel establishments in their homes for several hours; here the anxious boys and girls get tied completely to books and homework, when, in fact, they should be encouraged to play games in the open! Tuition fees are quite substantial; this burden, over and above the school fees, capitation fees, uniforms, extortions of contributions under some pretext or other from time to time, is the last straw to break the camel’s back- indeed how much are the purses of the parents stretched!
The decay in behaviourial pattern of teachers of today can be attributed to a general fall in standards. Traits observed in a vast majority of primary schools across most of the states is that there is a tendency to follow a very authoritarian approach, which is teacher centred, mechanical and unnecessarily repetitive.This style teaches children to be passive listeners rather than actively participate as problem solvers. Teaching aids are under-used and are of poor quality. There is also a lack of effective class-management skills as well as catering to each individual child’s needs.
A serious lack of teaching methodologies related to multi-grade teaching and a consequent fear of the same can be seen. The profession is seen only to attract the mediocre, partly due to low pay scales but mainly on account of poor career advancements. If educational institutions are really keen to serve the cause of education and are conscious of their aims, they must bring about improvements in these areas, and at the same time evolve a system for screening new entrants thoroughly. Prime place should be allotted to aptitude for teaching, and dedication to the task.Of all people, our teachers need to understand its true implication and convey to our nation’s children the privilege and responsibility involved in being citizens of a great country.