During last few decades, higher educational institutions are facing unprecedented challenges to stand relevant and address youth unemployment problems. The introduction of CBCS and Semester system, and the emphasis on skill courses has changed the dynamic of the system. The role of teachers is rapidly evolving and becoming more and more challenging. Now the teachers have to be more effective, dynamic and wide-ranging. Only teachers with enthusiasm, energy and commitment shall keep finding more creative ways to teach and influence the lives and careers of the students.
Having been a part of academics for over two and a half decades, and now a part of academic administration, I have seen a lot of talented teachers full with energy, curious to contribute in the organization. In the month of May last year I met one such Assistant Professor of chemistry by the name Dr Nasarul Islam who joined the institution at the same time with me. His performance as a teacher has been an absolute inspiration for me and would surely be a remarkable case study.
Dr Islam received his PG and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Kashmir, qualified NET twice, got postdoctoral experience from national and international research laboratories and joined the higher education in 2017. In his research area on computational organo-inorganic chemistry, he has published 49-articles in high impact international journals besides having one patent and a book to his credit. Last year when the pandemic was at its peak, as he joined the online classes, in one such class he found only 15 out of 80-students attending classes. He immediately traced the other students and in a short time found 74-students joining the classes. Surprisingly, he also managed to trace the remaining 6-students who, because of extreme poverty, were without mobile phones; he delivered them notes and books.
Examination co-coordinatorship in a college is a sensitive assignment which needs dedication, commitment and perfection. Over the years with CBCS, semester pattern, skill courses and both online/off-online transactions, the examinations have become exceedingly challenging. It needs a brilliant, skillful and honest teacher to handle this all. Last year when some faculty asked for exemption from duties of examination coordinatorship, I was in a fix as to whom this charge should be given. I was reluctant to entrust this charge to Dr Islam fearing he might be distracted from his research activities. But he assured me that examinations will not bother his research activities. Now more than a year, it is indeed very impressive to see that all the examinations in the college in both the modes have been going on very smoothly with student services/grievances being addressed to a very high degree of satisfaction. To my utter surprise, Dr Islam was also able to publish 4-research papers under the college affiliation. Dr Islam also submitted a few research projects and was able to receive grants from J&K ST&IC for two projects. He developed region-based 4-skill courses which were approval by NSQF-UGC. Under Unnat Baharat Abyian he adopted 5-remote villages of the district, received grants for sustainable development of these areas.
Importantly, Dr Islam was able to take regular class work seriously and also conducted a number of online webinars. For his contributions, he was highly appreciated by NAAC peer team members. It is worth to mention that during the recent NAAC inspection of the college he managed all the protocol and other related activities single-handedly in a very professional manner. Being a tech-savvy he made functional a bulk of electronic gadgets viz. Photostat machines, Laptops, Printers, Inverters etc in the college. He has always been at the forefront, ready to lend help to students and colleagues with pragmatic ideas and solutions. Just a half call he picks up the phone; yes sir!. During my service career I have never witnessed this rare combination of scholarship, flare for teaching, ever willing to devote extra time to help students and proactive to do a number of things in the institution. Unbelievable! One can well imagine how much a single teacher can contribute in an organization. Out of jealousy we may hide his brilliance by calling him a good worker, but the attributes like genius, brilliant is an appearance created by hard work, as wonderfully put by Edison “genius is 1% inspiration and 99%perspiration”. Undoubtedly, such motivated brilliant teachers need appreciation and recognition.
Teaching is seen not a job but a mission that God has entrusted upon some in this world. For being a successful teacher and to serve as a role model, a teacher has to maintain high standards of ethics. His job in the campus is not confined to teach a specific subject but he has to be associated with the functioning of the institution. He/she has to eagerly take different college assignments, assist the Principal to resolve various institutional issues. Having said this, the dressing sense of a teacher in an institution matters a lot for students, and the decorum of the institution. Certainly, there has to be a distinction between a teacher and students. Well dressed and confident teacher can make his/her presence felt that conveys a message and builds a professional approach in the organization. Most importantly, teachers need to have thirst for knowledge, inclination to discover new teaching methods/tools, to set high standards in teaching-learning. He/she needs to have a library and into reading all the time. Those who concentrate on their scholarship and help students and the institution are doing a commendable job for the society.
Our young teachers need trainings on student management, classroom methodology, use of modern technology, positive communication, pragmatism and tolerance. They don’t need monologues and discourses in lecture halls but they should be made to visit reputed institutions of the country and given a first-hand experience as to how these institutions are functioning. Discipline is the key to success and very essential for the smooth running of educational institutions. There has to be a level of discipline, respect for authority, high sense of responsibility, decorous conduct demonstrated by individuals to strengthen the institutions for promoting academic growth. Teaching is the greatest and most honorable service to mankind. Teachers are the foundations upon which great institutions and societies are built. They are under a constant watch of our society. The principle of justice is that, teachers have to rise up to the challenges and show their existence.
(Dr Muhmmad Amin Malik is a college principal)