“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires,” said William Arthur Ward.
We do not see ‘good teaching’ happen in our schools. I am talking about those schools where I have been teaching for a year and a half.
Government schools where these young students from primary run behind me, force me to dance for them, request me to come to their classes. They peep out of their windows and wait a week for me to come back. I wish I could see the same warm relationship between students and the teachers at schools.
I remember the ‘Teachers’ Day’ talk of our Prime Minister in 2014. A student asked him a question – “Did you know you will become prime minister when you were a kid?” He replied, “I always wanted to do something, not to become something.” That’s the attitude a child should have. I wish I could see the same kind of excitement in students at the government school!
Their horizons don’t even extend to this question – ‘What do I want to become when I grow up?’
I had started conducting career guidance sessions. The sessions aimed more at trying to empower them. I met with girls of Class 8 from the Girls Government Upper Primary School – Chundawara.
After two days of interactions, I asked them on the third day, ‘What do you want to be in your life?’ Those girls were very shy and reluctant in front of me. And so the thought started pouring out of my ailing heart.
Oh, Education! Have you seen how far you’ve been exploited?
We careless human beings don’t even know how to define you.
Many of us say you are important to be able to earn degrees,
Many among millions gain you to get a job,
Very less want to make the most of you,
By treating you as the necessary 5-6 textbook activities that need to be done for homework
And not as something that’ll boost innovative thinking
Not as something that needs to be endlessly absorbed,
Not as something one needs to be able to lead our nation tomorrow.
Oh, Education! Have you seen how you’ve been misunderstood and exploited?
And what does it even mean when we say that we educate them!
We have been experimenting with the education system, and we have been failing. But how much have we tried to understand the reason behind our failure?
Continuous And Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) pattern has been implemented in many government schools in Rajasthan. CCE is an amazing concept. Under CCE, students can develop holistically.
The question is why aren’t they active in reality? Daaks are still prepared for data; School development plans still exist, everything is clean and clear, then why is this still a problem for educationists and development workers if everything is clean and clear?
I visited my school for field support. My colleagues and I were talking about CCE. They just wanted to achieve one goal, ‘Mere bacchon ko padhna aana chahiye, CCE toh chalta rahega.’ (My children should know how to read/write, things like CCE will continue)
In another school, the teachers decided to allot the last half an hour for extracurricular activities. It’s a CCE school.
One of the other teachers asked me, ‘Ismein naya kya hai? Baccho ko toh sirf padhna likhna aana chahiye. Drawing aur ye sab se kya hone wala hai?’ (What is new in this? Children should know how to read and write. What will come from learning how to draw?) The main problem starts right there!
All of us have forgotten the meaning of education – it has lost its essence. It has become a source/a way of earning money of survival. I guess it’s high time we think of it as a service to the human kind more than anything else! Time to rethink!