A fountain of inspiration

Students should be engaged in dialogue with each other and should be encouraged to think independently

For teachers and teaching profession, it is important to dedicate a day where we can celebrate teachers. The idea of Teachers’ Day dates back to 19th century. For example, Malaysia celebrates teachers’ day on 16th May, China celebrates it on 10th September, Iraq on 1st March, Singapore on the first Friday of September and Spain on 27th November. However, when Dr Radhakrishnan became the President of India in 1962, a few students requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday. However, Dr Radhakrishnan asked them to observe it as Teachers’ Day instead. Since then, September 5 has been announced as Teachers’ Day.

Every year, Teachers’ Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate teachers, recognizing their contribution and putting a spotlight on the incredible responsibility that they bear in ensuring that all children and youth everywhere can enjoy the right to education. A teacher is someone who shows you the right path and keeps you motivated till you meet your goals.

Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, a great teacher used to give the following advice to teachers, “we must be perpetual seekers of intellectual integrity and universal compassion”. These are the two qualities which mark a true teacher. Such teachers teach students the process of learning, enable them to become lifelong learners. The teacher who love children are the real nation builder who can lay the solid foundation of a nation.

The students have to move forward with the skills of 21st Century, which are 5Cs- Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Curiosity and Communication. These inquisitive qualities are embedded in each student by the nature and teachers need to explore them.

They should have the ability to stimulate curiosity, open up opportunities for dialogue in the class room and encourage children to discover, think and express. They should link classroom learning with the learner’s lives.

Those live projects should be encouraged, rather than bringing old models for exhibitions, wasting time and resources of students and parents. We need teachers who have the required competence and commitment to make difference to the educational landscape.

We need a system that responds effectively to the learning of all children, youth and adults and keep constantly innovating. They should keep learning new things all the time and acquire knowledge from different sources, even from the class room.

In addition to sound knowledge, a teacher should have the skills to communicate that knowledge effectively. With the use of modern technology, a teacher should groom students to become autonomous learners.

Teachers have to explore new ways, how to make students well rounded personalities, which is the ultimate goal of NEP-2020. This approach can ensure that the SDG 4 target on increasing the supply of qualified teachers remains a compass for policy action and international cooperation, and that teachers remain at the heart of education recovery.

I believe, being a teacher in a professional institute, students must be treated with respect. Students should be engaged in dialogue with each other and should be encouraged to think independently, by being given the right to disagree with their teacher’s opinions.

The teacher should also design different types of learning activities for different types of learners in the class. Excellent teachers who have an indelible impression on the students have been the role models exemplifying through their attitudes and behaviour, the values and behaviour they wish to impart. Ideal behaviour is important than ideology.

Teachers need healthy, safe and enabling working conditions that are free from prejudice and discrimination, and they must be provided with safety measures, decent working hours, and career development opportunities.

This will both promote the status of the profession and improve recruitment, retention, motivation and, ultimately, student learning and well-being.

Prof. (Dr.) M A Shah, Professor & Head, P G Department of Physics, National Institute of Technology Srinagar.

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