Teachers’ role in the society is immense. They guide and show the correct path to students along with vision and inspiration for success in life. Primary and high school teachers not only teach the young ones, they rather nurture them and transmit discipline and knowledge to go ahead and take another stride of triumph. The college and university professors push and encourage them to become successful professionals as well as good human beings.
Gift to the nation
Students are the precious gift of teachers to the nation, when they enter the real world after getting education. Those who serve the nation and its people with modesty despite reaching the pinnacle in their professional fields or business, such students really warm the heart of their teachers.
It’s natural to hear questions like who taught you such and such subject, you have the depth of knowledge, what was the name of your teacher, tell the name of your alma mater etc. Then a successful person always takes the name of their teacher with pride and says without hesitation: Whatever I am today is due to the quality of education imparted by my teachers. Some teachers are exceptional and retain lifelong influence over their students, such gurus always remain in the heart of shishyas and vice versa.
Teaching, a mission rather than a profession
Hence, teaching job is not merely a profession but rather a mission to produce successful, compassionate and law-abiding citizens. A teacher’s first duty is to mould the students, handle them with affection, care and courtesy, and sometimes scold them to reverse their mistakes. Teachers have to always maintain good manners and try to become role models for others, because future of a country is in the hands of teachers to generate best possible products. The impact of responsible citizens is prodigious on the growth and well-being of a nation.
Teachers’ day a tribute to Dr S Radhakrishnan
No one in this world grows up without the guidance of teachers. As such, teacher’s involvement can be seen in every profession. Therefore, as a mark of respect for the teachers, it is customary to celebrate teachers in one form or another across the world. Teachers’ day in India is always celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour on September 5, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former president of India Dr S Radhakrishnan.
September 5, a moment of pride for teachers
This day is dedicated in the honour of all the teachers and mentors, tutors and trainers apart from the academic ones. The purpose behind the effort of teachers is to give shape to an egalitarian society. Their significant contribution in moulding and chiselling for many years to ensure a safe and secure future for a large group of the youth is commendable. Teachers’ day is a real tribute to the revered academician, distinguished scholar and philosopher Dr S Radhakrishnan. His illustrious career is a role model for the people of all future generations.
As a matter of fact, the general perception is that on September 5, classrooms across the country would be filled with greeting cards, flowers, and placards with appreciation. Teachers and students would share their finest memories on school premises.
Respect for teachers declining
On the contrary, things today are changing fast. Teachers in India complain about losing their respect and old glory to a certain extent. Politicians just deliver their feel-good speeches on this occasion and then get whisked away. General public shares healthy posts on social media, speaks a lot about the quality and dedication of teachers, and then everything cools down. Where are the good words for teachers, e.g. honesty, brotherhood, serving the poor, exemplary behaviour and so on? Celebration of teachers’ day has now become just a formality and nothing else. In many educational institutions, students talk to their teachers like friends and share all kinds of gossip.
There was a time when teachers were held in high esteem, and their status was deemed equivalent to God. They never discriminated between the rich and the poor. With the passage of time, however, corruption, greed and scandals in some cases have really tainted this noble profession.
Worrying trend of approach surpassing merit
At present, in many places, students are forced to respect the teachers because they are considered as the incarnation of Saraswati (goddess of knowledge). In other places, students who shower teachers with costly gifts on teachers’ day may get weightage and preference for prestigious awards and participation in extracurricular activities.
Not to mention the fact that more than 50 percent class 5 students, especially in rural India, are not able to read simple sentences. Another worrisome fact is that many teachers are moonlighting in private coaching centres or teaching students individually and earning hefty amounts. From schoolteachers to college professors, all are sailing in the same boat. Even ugly instances of teachers allegedly sexually harassing girl students in school and colleges have also come to the fore, putting a question mark on the future of this noble profession.
Dip in quality education
Critical thinking is absolutely necessary to improve the quality of education in India. For that, schoolchildren should be able to raise relevant questions in the class fearlessly. But one hears of corporal punishment continuing in schools, despite laws against this, and children suffering serious injuries. And in many states, teacher recruitment itself has become mired in scams and legal wrangles over the past decade or so.
An atmosphere of scientific temper, experimentation and analysis is required to be created in India’s schools. For this, the teaching profession in the country needs to be rejuvenated with the infusion of new ideas. Teachers who are going to shape the future of our country need to be selected on merit rather than ‘approach’. And they should be held accountable for the performance of their students and the school. Poor attitude and malpractices need to be rooted out from the system. At the same time, the younger generation in schools and colleges needs to bring back the respect, faith and reverence that teachers enjoyed in the good old days.