Sunday, 8 August 2010

Why are Indian Teachers a Stressed Lot Today?

Just a few days back, a Sanskrit teacher was complaining to me that the students were simply not paying attention to what he was teaching in class, somehow, more time was being spent in getting them to keep quiet! One common topic of discussion among teachers today is how difficult it has become to teach students in class! The noise level has increased, and students simply barge into the class room. Today students have become more selfish. They speak out of turn, and don’t give other students the opportunity to answer questions. If the teacher is a popular teacher, then everyone wants to grab his attention!

Somehow, the role of a teacher has changed drastically over the years. Today, the teacher is a friend, a confidante, and encyclopaedia of knowledge not just in his own subject, but also in all the other subjects! One can forget the golden days of pin drop silence in the class rooms, or raising of hands for answering questions. Any kind of punishment is a no no, so the poor teacher has to use emotional blackmail to get the students to pay attention. Such tactics include pleading with the students, begging them to keep quiet, or telling them that if they don’t keep quiet, then you will not take them on the next picnic! Unfortunately, all this subjects the teachers to a great deal of stress!The teacher often has to shout loudly to make himself heard above the noise created by the students! Parents themselves find it very difficult to handle two children at home, so how would they feel if they had to handle fifty or sixty students in a class room?

Today the teacher’s job is anything but teaching! The teacher is a clerk, he has to collect fees from the students, and issue them receipts. Then he has to maintain records of students performance in the so called formative assessments.The teacher then has to play the role of liaison officer, by communicating with parents about their children’s performance. Then the Education Department may demand information on the instant, as for example, whether the child has siblings or is an only child! How old was he one year ago? The system of continuous evaluation has added to the stress of not only the teachers, but also the students.

It is a common belief today, among teachers that the teaching profession has become a rather thankless profession. Our policy makers have ruined this noble profession by intentionally straying away from our traditional system of education which gave much importance to the teaching of the values of respect, not only for elders, but also for one another.The Guru-Shishya system of Education inculcated respect for the teacher! This respect was reciprocated by the teacher through his dedication, and passion for teaching. Today, the whole world is lacking in compassion for one another   and respect for each other! How then do you address this problem of deteriorating moral and social values! Well we can begin by making students learn to respect their teachers, as they did in the past. Unfortunately, a section of the Media has taken unto themselves the responsibility of exposing the defects in our system of education by directing their ire at the haplessly overstressed teacher and not the policy makers, or the boards and departments of education. The media in its overzealousness even caused an innocent Government School teacher to be thrown into jail, and the Department of Education was ever hasty in terminating her services without constituting an enquiry committee! Today, the teacher is a very scared professional and he knows he will be made a scapegoat in any incident. But you never know, you mild rebuke might drive a student to suicide, or make you a target of student violence! Unfortunately, the teacher has become the person whom the Society loves to hate! Thus it wouldn’t be wrong to say that teaching in India has become a very risky job!  They say it is part of the game, or an occupational hazard! No wonder their is an acute shortage of good trained teachers in India, and this is because, teaching as a profession is becoming less popular. Fewer and fewer people want to become teachers because the Occupational Hazards are too great. None of my students of class twelve wants to become a Teacher!

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