Teachers day was celebrated in my school on the fourth of September and not the fifth, because the fifth of September happened to be a Sunday. The celebrations started with the introduction of the senior students who would play the roles of their favourite teachers. One of the students went on to read a write up reminding the rest of the students about the significance of teachers day, and the important contribution of Dr.S.Radhakrishnan to the Educational system of the country.
Looking at the student-teachers, I was reminded of my own favourite teachers, those teachers who had such an important role in making me what I am today. It was a poignant moment for me as it reminded me about each of my favourite teachers from the school level on to college! I remember especially an Ethiopian teacher who was visually impaired, he taught me History in class eight, and nine, then there was Mr.Ghani, an Indian Teacher who taught me Chemistry in class eleven and twelve in Ethiopia, my mother taught me English in class eleventh and twelfth. In college in India I remember my teachers who taught me while I was doing my B.A.Hons. (English). Of those I remember Mrs. Roopali Chibber, Dr. Sambudha Sen, Dr. Bhasin, and Dr. Anwer. At least these are the names that come to mind after a gap of twenty or more years! Then, when I did B.Ed.and M.Ed.from the Department of Education, (C.I.E.) Delhi University, I was especially fascinated Mrs. Bharti Baveja, an excellent teacher who taught me Child Psychology, then there was Mrs.Jaimini, who guided me in my research , Mr. R.P. Sharma who taught me Philosophy, Mr. C.K. Saluja, who was not my teacher, but, everyone admired him, and he was a favourite teacher for me nevertheless! When I was doing a post graduate course in Journalism from the Institute of Mass communication from Y.M.C.A., Delhi, I remember Mr. B.B. Nagpal and Mr. John Dayal who taught me about the intricacies of reporting! They instilled in me the awareness of sensationalising of news and the harms accruing from such reporting!
Coming back to the present times I am reminded about the huge change that has taken place in the general attitude of the society towards teachers! Today, the media hounds teachers as people who drive students to commit suicide. Teachers today are the favourite punch bags for the media. They are people who draw large salaries, they are lazy people, teachers get too many holidays and teachers are sadists as they torture their students! I often wonder how far the Media and the society can go against the teachers in the country. While studying for my B.Ed. and M.Ed., from Delhi University, I was constantly reminded to be compassionate with students. I was constantly reminded that teaching was a noble profession and that teachers were builders of the Nation! Where has all that sentiment gone? It seems that today, teachers are the black sheep that we all love to hate, and blame for all the deficiencies in the society. When I asked my students how they felt on being teachers for the day, almost all of them remarked that they had a tough time handling the students who were, “Naughty and Noisy!” They were all of the opinion that teaching in today’s times had become a very difficult job indeed! So then, dear, parent, how can you, who can’t even handle two children at home, expect a teacher to handle fifty or sixty “Noisy and Naughty” students and yet remain cool (you would lose your cool if your son made a lot of noise at home)? Maybe it is that the teacher is Super Man with infinite patience, and the elasticity of a rubber band!
I have always been taught that the first teachers of a child are his parents. The parents instil in the child an awareness of moral, spiritual and social values. After the parents the role of guiding the child falls on the shoulders of the teacher. Thus, the teacher is like another parent, and he moulds the child further. The teacher makes future leaders. He guides students so that they become engineers, doctors, and of course future policy makers! Today, I am what I am because of the good teachers who taught me. Teachers, thus bring out the best in their students, is teaching therefore, not a noble profession? Can we do without teachers in today’s society? Should we therefore hound teachers as we are doing these days? Does it mean I should change my profession as a teacher and instead take up a profession that is more lucrative and more “Respectable?” Perhaps a job as a Public Relations Officer, or a Journalist would be more acceptable to me today? Please guide me for I am confused and disturbed by the perception of the society towards teachers, for I am a teacher and that is my calling! What is more acceptable to the society today is a calling which gives you more income! Today, we value a profession which gives you a better pay package and one which comes with perks such as a chauffer driven car, holiday packages abroad, and recognition in the society. Who goes for teaching today, one who has failed to get through the entrance exam for civil services, or one who has failed to bag a lucrative deal in an M.N.C.