I have spent 18 years of my life being part of this country’s screwed up education system.
Throughout these years, I have met a huge variety of teachers.
I’m sure we all remember some of the teachers we came across right from our school to college years. The funny one, the strict one, the Shudh Hindi teacher, the Maths freak, the one with a peculiar accent, the one who cracked lame jokes.
There was also the mini Shakespeare, the one who conducted spectacular plays, the chilled out one, the narrow-minded, the one who made learning fun and lastly one whose teachings we never forget.
I have been an Arts student and I ran away from Maths and Science. But as I have grown and my subjects became more complex, I realised that there is Maths and Science in almost everything. One can’t live without them.
I believe, had I gotten good teachers for Maths and Science in my formative years, I would have been better at both subjects than I was. I am not saying that I would have taken up a career in them but I can vouch for the fact that I would have been less scared of them.
What a student needs is not a bookish paraphrasing of random technical words. Explain things to us in our language.
THE ART OF TEACHING!
This made me realise that not everyone can do this. It is not just anybody’s cup of tea to be a good teacher.
The problem is that people look at it as a profession that promises an easy life.
The art of giving or passing on knowledge has been reduced to a mere business. (If you want to know more about this business, please refer to the series of 7 prime time episodes Ravish Kumar did on School Mafias).
There is a reason Finland has one of the best education system in the world. Becoming a teacher requires effort. In India, teaching is more of a back-up or secondary job.
Moreover, the intellect of students who take the exam to become a teacher is below par. But they manage to clear it anyway because of the forever dilapidating standards.
TEACHING AS A PROFESSION
The average salary of a school teacher in India is 25-30k which barely increases to 50-55k after an experience of 8-10 years.
Further, we look down upon teachers from Government schools in comparison to private ones. Their conditions are worse because of the sort of infrastructure provided to them.
Thus the bureaucratic laxity stunts the growth of students as well as teachers.
The news channels have fun every now and then making funny or rather horrifying reports on the sort of teachers in certain parts of the country who themselves need to be sent back to school. They are as good (or as bad) as the students in 5th standard who aren’t able to spell ‘apple’.
Moreover, the teacher-student ratio in our country is appalling to another level. In my conscious memory, I have always studied in classes that had a strength of about 45.
It is then obvious that their attention will not be fairly divided among all the students.
Why does one even expect a person to deliver in such bleak conditions?
Isn’t it unfair to the students who have been forced to be part of this machine-making factory?
This attitude towards education and the ones who impart it have led to a highly stunted level of intellect in our country. Additionally, it has reduced the stature of a good teacher to one of the least paid professionals.
YOU JUST NEED TO MUG UP WORDS FROM THE BOOK AND YOU WILL BE HOME BY 3 PM MAXIMUM.
NOOOOOO! This is not what teaching is all about.
This needs to stop.
The profession has lost the influence and power it has the potential to enjoy.
This is the level where you create the future.
Probably, this perception is the reason why teaching is an underpaid job.
I have successfully completed my school and graduation. And now I am pursuing my post graduate diploma. In the past few days, I came across some brilliant teachers who taught me so much in a week than I ever learned in years.
This made me reminisce about almost all the teachers I had in my life, good and bad. They all give you lessons in some way or the other.
There was a time when I hated Geography and my Social Science teacher in the 8th standard got me interested in the subject.
As I have already mentioned, I hated science, but my Chemistry teacher in 10th standard explained a chapter so well that I remember it till date. (Okay, at least some of it.)
My class teacher in 4th standard gave me multiple chances to explore myself in co-curricular activities and that is where my interest in acting, plays, film, and cinema received a major thrust. That’s where I knew I could do this.
Leaving aside the subjects, there are certain teachers who touch your life in ways that you become a happier person.
My English teacher in 11th and 12th standard oozed out love and affection. Her vibe was infectious. She made life a lot easier.
The teacher who gave me an opportunity in 11th standard to be part of a British Council play gave me truck loads of memories and a friendship that will last a lifetime.
I was never a debater. But this teacher gave me an opportunity regardless and instilled that confidence in me every time with her reassuring smile that I could do it.
Lastly, a teacher who never knew me while I was in school but now she reads all my articles and showers immense love on me!
My mother herself is a teacher and I know the amount of effort she puts in her work. She is a teacher because she is passionate about it. It is not a mere 7(a.m.) to 2 (p.m.) job for her. In fact, I have in a way learned from her that the much hyped “follow your passion” can be true.
I dedicate this article to all the teachers who have played a huge role in making me the person I am today.
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