Today is teacher’s day. A very happy teacher’s day to all the teachers who guided me till now and nurturing me to what I have become. I have seen a lot of messages floating around the social media of how great the roles of teachers are in a person’s life. Well, every person knows that so I won’t bore you with the classic textbook messages. Today I will be talking about the real condition of teachers in India. I was in class 4th (it was 2001 I guess and I was the 8 year old kid) when one of my cousins asked me in front of a lot of relatives what I want to become when I grow up. I told them that I want to be a teacher. He asked the reason for it, I replied, "Because, Teachers know everything". They all laughed at me and started making fun of me. They told, it is such a boring and dull job and you will always have to check a lot of copies. Clearly, that was a really prejudiced comment but sadly, today I feel that a large part of our country feels the same way.
On the day of teacher’s day we flood our Facebook and Twitter with a lot of great messages for our personal teachers but we very hypocritically forget that after the next day similar to the thing that we remember nationalism only on 2 days of every year. Everyone praises their teachers today. Called them up! Wished them! Showed them a great deal of respect. Google puts a very nice doodle to celebrate. All that was really nice and yes we are all are literally fortunate to have such awesome teachers all around us. Many of our presidents were very good teachers! So, when I look at the social media, I think we are "Celebrating" teacher's day with great pleasure! But let us face some facts which slaps us everyday but yet we choose to ignore it from our life!
Without the loss of generality, I want to ask, when the word "teacher" comes to an average layman Indian in today's 2015 India really visualize a teacher? A man or a woman in a decent middle age with a chalk near a black board. If you are a bit conservative, then you would probably visualize the teacher as someone very strict and if you are a liberal then you will visualize the teacher as a very flexible and friendly with student type. But is this really true? Even a 5 year old kid becomes a teacher of his father when he asks some stupid childish question to him and the father has to come up with some creative answer with a smile. We make a very big mistake to link teachers limited to only academic fields. We have coined other terms like coaches/guides for the teachers who work in other fields other than academia but they forget that coaching or guiding someone is just a part of teaching not the whole of teaching. It is similar to the mentality that many people think that Mathematics is just calculations and arithmetic but they forget the part that Calculations are a part of mathematics not the whole of mathematics.
So, now I want to ask, do we really value the profession of teaching in India? I have seen a lot of really passionate teachers in my life both in my school and college life but does an average Indian boy or a girl particularly if he or she belongs to a poor background and goes in a government school, does he or she gets such awesome teachers as I got? I really doubt that! Today Education has become one of the biggest firms for revenue in India. I will state the example of my town only here. Take a look at the town Ara. It is a small town and you can literally visit everywhere here in less than 6 hours using a bicycle only. Take a bicycle and start riding and I bet, every 500 m you move, you will either see a poster of a coaching institute or a board of a private school. Literally everywhere in this town you will see the same thing and this is happening from the last 10 years. What should be the most logical conclusion a person should derive from all this? So many teachers? Ara must be shining in terms of Education!! But, tell me how many of u readers who are not from Ara even know about this small town achieving something of significant good in terms of Education? I guess most of the cities in India revolves around the same culture these days.
In India, we have a coaching culture! Schools contain usually a very poor student teacher ratio, and then it is sensible from the parent's perspective to look for a coaching or tuition teacher. I am not saying this is not happening in other countries but I am just focusing on the merits of this culture! Is this a good culture? Well may be if those "teachers" were actual teachers!! Exactly! Most of us in India go for a teaching job only if we fail in every other thing! That is not what I think but it is the general mentality in India. Government funded schools education system is almost broken completely in India. But when it comes to coaching, we have classes for everything, everywhere!
Why has this hypocritical culture developed in India? Because we dont treat our teachers well in India! Yes, why did my cousin and the relatives laughed at that proposition of mine becoming a teacher! Because they actually portrayed the real mentality of us. We insult our teachers on a daily basis! We dont want to be a teacher! We will like to be respected as an engineer or a doctor or an entrepreneur or a manager or some civil servant or some army officers or some sports personality. I am not saying we lack passion for teaching. First of all I will classify teachers in mainly three categories namely passionate, average and deliberate. Unfortunately the third category of teachers hold the majority of places in the teaching sector of India.
So, how can we improve this situation in India! First of all we need to promote teaching as a great profession as it really is! I wish that the idea proposed in the movie, "Aarakshan" to be launched as soon as possible. The idea is to include teaching as a part of the "services" in India instead of jobs. We have four very prestigious services in India which are namely the Indian Foreign Services (IFS), Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services(IPS) and the Indian Revenue services(IRS). On these line there should be another prestigious institution set up which may be termed as the Indian Teaching Services (ITS). UPSC can itself recruit passionate teachers by conducting proper competition exams not just written but also by actually interviewing or properly judged by a panel of passionate teachers or Professors. There already are small scale training for teachers happening across India. But at this hour there is a need to campaign it in a large scale and that will certainly happen when we recognize teaching as a service and not a job.
At last I want to say that I still want to be a good teacher but I lack a lot of qualities like patience etc. which a teacher has, so probably I wont make a good teacher but certainly if teaching will be really respected in a country of our potential, we will be a much better country.
Thanks for the patience of reading this.