Teaching, and The Endangered Ripple Effect

Posted on June 16, 2010 in Education

Oviya Govindan:

A teacher affects eternity. Through the crayon scribbles, ink blots, paper planes, prayer songs and uniforms filled epoch called school life, the teachers stand out in my memory. Each one of them helped me realize a part of myself. Taught me to dream big, led me to believe that I too, was capable of great things… Having had such a glorious school life it came as quite a surprise to me that not everybody had had such wonderful teachers.

I have come to realize, of late, that there are different classes of teachers: the ones who’ve chosen teaching as a career out of sheer interest and passion for the job; some others who take to teaching as the last resort.

Even of the latter category some may grow to develop a deep rooted interest and dedicate themselves to the joy of enabling the students realize their colorful dreams. There are a few in this category however who are disgruntled people, doing their job only grudgingly. Such disinterested teaching has lead to incidents such as those we’ve witnessed in the recent past, in the form of harsh punishments in school leading to even the death of students.

It needs no saying that the former category of teachers is a minority that only a privileged few of us have had. Such disturbing trend in the domain of school education is a reminder of the futility of ‘reforms’ in education, while the fundamental issues such as these remain untouched.

In a society where education itself has been reduced to producing ‘literate barbarians’ whose success is measured only by marks, and the salaries they will draw in the future, it comes as no surprise that the role of educator too has lost its relevance…

Coaching centers and tuition based schooling loom in the background, having played their roles in reducing the role of a teacher from that of one who mentors, nurtures, moulds to one of mere communicator of an obsolete knowledge. It is no wonder then that teachers today find themselves with low motivation towards their jobs.

Teaching had earlier been a thankless job on the monetary front. This again has been cited often as the deterrent to anyone considering teaching as a career. In an era of the formula of degree- to -high paid jobs- to luxurious life, teaching had little to offer in terms of salary. But today, this is changing. A regular Delhi University professor receives around 50 to 80,000 a month. But still, the motivation is lacking.

While students and parents alike no longer find teaching a lucrative career option, there is also the underlying cultural attitude that teaching today is a last resort albeit ‘noble service’ to the nation’s future.

Our world needs individuals who can think and dream big; those who believe in their wildest dreams and set out to pursue them. Teachers have the potential to create ripples in their lives that reach far and wide, indelible by time. It’s time we gave this noble profession its due. Amen.