Come 5th September and we celebrate Teacher’s Day once again.This annual event is marked to commemorate the birthday of Dr Radha Krishnan, second President of India. It was the love and respect of his students towards him that prompted them to celebrate his birthday and this small gesture has paved way to show appreciation and gratitude for teachers today.
Alas, in today’s education system we are not fortunate enough to have teachers with such high credibility. We often complain about the low standards of teaching and how our kids’future is at stake thanks to callous attitude of teachers. There is that English teacher who gets her pronunciation wrong, doesn’t know grammatical rules, has ill legible handwriting and has never read classics. This maths teacher is not clear about her concepts, can’t put across her point to the students and gives so much homework🙄. Then the hindi department HOD can’t address the parents without getting a single sentence right in English😏. The biology teacher says appetite is same as stamina 😨and leaves the reproduction chapter for the parents to teach. The physics teacher tells her class that force is equivalent to mass upon acceleration 😕 and games teacher… lesser said the better.
Such apathies are not uncommon to parents. God knows what will happen to a nation where quality of teachers is like that, isn’t it?
Wrong. A swallow does not make a summer. A generalised view because of some teachers is highly wrong. What parents and students never get to see is the work that goes beyond the classrooms. A teacher spends on an average just 40 minutes in the class but she works round the clock.
A typical day in the life of a teacher starts early morning around 5.She cooks, she packs, she finishes little errands, double checks her school time table, collects her notes and rushes to her workplace. She can’t afford to reach by Indian Standard Time and HAS to be punctual, no excuses acceptable. Exchanges pleasantries with her colleagues and rushes to her class where the action now begins. After spending 8 hours with the students, she does not get to go home as school disperses but stays back. This is the time when she gets to attends meetings, does the correction work, meets parents, gives extra time to weak students, makes lesson plans, etc etc. If there are examination days, she does not get a breather even at home and burns the midnight lamp as she has bundles to correct . The list is much longer than the scope of this article.
The 8 to 9 hours spend with the kids is no cake walk too. She /he is not just teaching at that time but plethora of activities awaits her. She has to make substitutions for absent teachers, keep herself abreast with latest curriculum developments, send communications to the parents, steal bites of her lunch if some student wants that extra time from her schedule to clear doubts….
For how long would we continue teacher bashing? When at times we feel exasperated in dealing with two kids at home, how does a teacher manage 40? These students come from different backgrounds and have different upbringings. She has to ensure that all her students are given equal attention despite their own individual differences.
There are some parents who can’t even remember which exam their child has the next day, what time will the school disperse, when is the school reopening, what does the teacher require from home for events and don’t bother to read the communications properly just because by paying hefty school fees they have absolved themselves off the responsibility and think that outsourcing their precious ones to the school to teach them everything is all that is required.
Teachers across different sections, be it pre-primary, primary, secondary or higher secondary, have different challenges to handle. She is there when a kid starts with her periods in the school and is clueless about it, when the boys think that teenage years are to be spend by public display of their machoness, when the spurt of hormonal rush is there and infatuations fly high, when a child is confused regarding career path, when she notices behavioral changes and informs parents . This is just an iota of the things she has to do outside her basic duty of teaching. And mind you, teaching is not a highly paid profession and with more and more schools going the tech way, her responsibilities have increased.
I dedicate this write up to ALL my students without whom my passion for teaching would have been a dream. As I get older and they younger and soar high to realise their dreams, I wish them good luck. I feel humbled and proud when I still see and hear from them irrespective of the time that has passed between us or the distance which separates us.