International Teachers’ Day
Why Teachers' dignity is at stake?
By: Abid Hussain Rather
A teacher is the main agent responsible for producing and bringing forth a generation on which the future of a nation depends. In other words, as more often it is said, teachers are the nation builders. Their experience and observations play a pivotal role in the personality development of individuals, creation of a normative society and reformation and development of a progressive nation.
They are highly respected and revered for their endeavours and efforts in building a progressive and evil free nation. But unfortunately from the last many decades, due to the downfall in moral and cultural values and degradation in ethical standards of human societies, teachers have lost their respect and the honour they deserve from our society.
As 5th October is being observed as International Teachers’ Day across the globe; on this special day, let’s try to find out the various reasons for the declining status of teachers in society. There are various reasons for this changing tendency of society towards teachers but the basic impetus of this disrespect and degraded status is that our teachers no longer possess the qualities of an ideal teacher. I believe that even if today a teacher is able to develop such characteristics in himself which this noble profession demands, he will be still respected, revered and honoured in society.
The declining status of teachers in society is due to their inferiority complex towards their profession. If not all, but maximum teachers especially those working at primary level have fallen in the trap of inferiority complex and they assume their profession inferior to other professions. Most teachers in our schools are not teachers by choice but by chance otherwise maximum of them aspire to be doctors, engineers or KAS officers. But when they fail to achieve their goals they unwillingly choose to be teachers.
Likewise, maximum teachers in our private schools take teaching as their secondary activity while their main focus remains on cracking some competitive examination to brighten their career as they don’t find their future secure at private schools where they are being paid below their expectations and are, rather, exploited there. Human resources should have three attributes to be propitious, beneficial and efficacious for society.
A teacher needs to develop all the three characteristics/qualities to regain his dignity and to be beneficial for society. The first attribute is knowledge. Irrespective of the profession, a person needs to develop and explore vast knowledge of his field to acquire excellency in his profession. A person should never stop learning and he should dynamically get acquired with the new arenas and latest trends of his field to get mastery over his profession. Likewise a teacher should himself never stop learning. In fact his learning is directly beneficial for his pupil and a knowledgeable teacher is always respected his students. As the world is progressing swiftly and we are flooded with oceanic information. Acquiring maximum information from modern resources should be among top priorities of a teacher. But our practical experiences disappoint us when we have a look around ourselves to find maximum teacher fond of comfy cozy life.
Instead of making their pupil aware about the new trends and new information, maximum teachers remain stuck to traditional ways of teaching and simply provide bookish knowledge to their students. Teachers need to always upgrade their knowledge and acquaint their students with current affairs and new information.
The second important factor is expertise or training. A teacher might have enough knowledge of his subject but he may not have expertise/training to deliver his knowledge but we can’t think of an ideal teacher without expertise in his field. A teacher plays an important role in the personality development of his students and social reformation. So he must be well aware about the students’ psychology, parents’ problems, changing educational trends and variable social paradigms.
A teacher must not adhere to ‘chalk and talk’ method, so that he may come to classroom, start writing answers on the board to make his pupil copy those answers and finally assign his students daily homework to fulfill his duty. Rather a teacher should have optimum expertise to transfer knowledge to his students, make his lecture interesting and deliver new information to his students to make his teaching effective and useful. If one method is not working, he should shift to another one to make his lecture simple and easy.
As Talcott Parsons, an American psychologist, has said; there are 52 (which actually means a lot of) ways to explain a problem, if you can’t convince your student with one, you should shift to another. A teacher should have the skill of harmony and compatibility.
He should co-operate, collaborate and harmonise with parents for betterment of the students. Instead of making parents responsible for their wards’ weaknesses, a teacher should assist and work together with parents for betterment and development of students. This is one of the best ways for a teacher to regain the dignity and honour in the society.
The third and important attribute is attitude of a teacher. If a teacher will be sympathetic, generous and benevolent towards students, parents and society, undoubtedly he will be honoured and respected in the society. It has been observed that some teachers’ behaviour towards their students is not satisfactory and acceptable.
They insult and mock students for their little mistakes and discourage them with their fulsome, ugly and inappropriate words which ultimately incubates hatred and disrespect for teachers in their hearts. Instead, a teacher should always use positive reinforcements to encourage his students.
Dr Zakir Hussain, a great educationist, former president of India and former VC of Jamia Milia Islamia says that a teacher must possess three characteristics to achieve a good status in society. Firstly, his words should always be sweet and encouraging. He should always encourage his students by his words. Secondly, He should have an exemplary character. His lifestyle should be humble, disciplined, polite, reasonable and civilized. As students usually follow every action of their teacher, a teacher should be the best role model for his students. Thirdly, a teacher has to be very careful in his attire.
A person is always recognised by his attire so a teacher should always follow a dress code which suits his personality. A teacher should always wear a proper and formal dress. He should avoid wearing which doesn’t suit his personality. A teacher can attain a respectable and honourable status in society by taking care of these three traits.
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) has said that ‘ I have been sent as an instructor/ teacher to teach you the ways of living. So a teachers profession is a prophetic profession. A teacher should honestly devote himself to his profession. He should always keep introspecting to keep his conscience awake and aware about his duties. As long as a teacher will honestly and passionately perform his duties and fulfill the sine qua nons which this noble profession demands, he will be respected and honoured in the society.