The teaching profession has always been labelled as a noble profession, and why not, it is a good teacher who is behind a successful engineer or a successful doctor! But then of late it has been observed that parents especially, and the society at large demand and expect more from teachers! In this age of advancement in science and technology, there has been a marked shift towards out-sourcing! Parents want their children to be in school all the time, it is as if they have lost patience with their children! The child’s first teachers are his parents, and if they don’t have patience for their children then how can one blame a teacher who has to look after many more students?
It goes without saying that the teaching profession is full of responsibilities and challenges! A good teacher has a Passion for teaching, he or she has a magnetism, an aura, a confidence which helps him tackle challenges and responsibilities without batting an eye-lid! He is a teacher with an immense reservoir of patience, and the grace to accept that he might have made a mistake! While a few decades earlier, you had young people opting for the teaching profession, today however, the opposite is true! I was surprised to see, while working in a school in Delhi, that the pupil-teachers who had been sent by their college for practice teaching were well above thirty years of age!It became clear on inquiring from them that teaching had become a last option after having failed to get across in various competitive exams. They had not been able to crack the Civil Services Exams, so they had decided to become teachers! Unfortunately, teaching had become a last resort profession for them! The frustration of having wasted so many years of life in competitions, and the knowledge that they had opted into a profession of teaching as a last resort would have undoubtedly robbed them of their passion for teaching!
When I went in for a screening for admission to the B.Ed.course from Delhi University in 1993, I had to face very tough screening written tests and an even tougher interview. I remember that there was one test which attempted to test my aptitude for teaching, and a general awareness about the demands of the profession.Out of 15000 candidates, only 250 candidates got through! Today, things have changed. With the increasing demand for teachers, the number of Colleges of Teacher Education has increased and now even those without an aptitude for teaching are able to acquire a B.Ed. Degree! Today, even those without a passion for teaching are becoming teachers! As a last resort profession, teaching has become popular! I remember that everyday that I went to my Institute was exciting,we learned new things, dabbled in the Philosophy of teaching, went through the intricacies of Psychology, and tried to unravel the mysteries of Sociology! The first year I spent as a B.Ed. student, and the second year I spent as and M.Ed.students were perhaps the best years of my student life!
The training and nurturing of a future teacher in a good professional college help to bring out or stoke a passion for teaching! The M.Ed. programme included a thesis or a paper on one’s field of interest in Education. It was an exercise which tested one’s research and analytical skills to the limit! Throughout the B.Ed. programme, the candidates were taught analytical techniques, and the importance of action research! The collection of data, analysis of data, and the arrival at a conclusion were part of both the B.Ed. and M.Ed. programmes! Almost everyone of the 250 candidates selected for the B.Ed. programme had a passion for teaching! Today, it seems as if the passion for teaching is lacking in teachers because, they don’t have an aptitude for teaching and yet they are selected for the B.Ed.programme, they enter the programme at a later stage in life, and the programme pays lip service to the subjects in the programme!
It might be rightly argued that one is born into a profession, and that heredity plays an important role in crafting a teacher, but then can we overlook the role of environment or the role of nurture in creating a teacher with a passion for teaching? It is exactly in the area of providing a proper environment for nurturing a teacher that we are lacking today! The society too is to blame for valuing a profession according to the income earned. Thus a teaching profession is frowned upon because it is less paying, a teacher is anyways a, “Masterji”. Thus, it is that few teachers today have a passion for teaching, it is because they took up this profession out of necessity, and not out of popular choice, and of course, it is a less paying profession!
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