BY DR. MUSHTAQ RATHER
Teachers’ Day in India is observed on September 5 to celebrate the life, achievements and philosophy of Second President of India, Sarvepali Radhakrishnan since 1962. Radhakrishnan was born on this date in the year 1888.
Since ages teachers have rendered services in shaping societies. Teachers’ role is multifaceted apart from being a central figure in classroom teaching - learning transaction. Teachers play a pivotal role in shaping the lives of their students. Beyond imparting knowledge, they significantly influence the overall well-being of kids. The contribution outside the school premises is manifold as a teacher is the one who is followed and idolized by his students. Students become a reflection of his personality in the society. In 21st century teacher’s role is not merely limited to teaching. His actualized role goes much beyond as a medium of knowledge and skill giver. He has to play the role of a friend, confidante, counselor and even a saviour. The challenges of 21st century are altogether different and demanding, and it is inevitable on part of teachers to update and hone teaching skills to keep pace with the rapidly evolving global education system.
The modern day teacher is left with no option but to realign and redirect his pedagogical skills to quench the thirst of modern day learner and remain relevant in the eyes of 21st century learner. But the big question is that are our teachers willing for such an intrapersonal and interpersonal transformation. Are they ready for 3600 transformation? The answer to such a query lies with our teachers. They need to do a thorough self introspection. They truly need to fit in the role of modern day versatile teacher. In the current scheme of things, the percentage of teachers who have truly revitalized and fine polished their multi-dimensional teaching skills is very minimal and a large chunk of teachers are still reluctant to undergo individualistic skill updation and transformation .
A teacher can indeed impact a student’s life in innumerable ways .While childhood is considered a golden time, children often struggle to cope with the world around them and the right guidance can shape them into better adults and responsible citizens . They uncover a child’s potential and encourage them to do better and fine polish their skills. It is at school that a child learns to regulate emotions, learn empathy, and work in collaboration.
We need to celebrate the contributions of such unsung teachers so that their struggles, challenges and success stories are brought to fore; so that it becomes a source of motivation and inspiration for everyone. Recently a superannuation video of a teacher from South Kashmiri’s Vailoo Kokernag area went viral on social networking sites. The teacher, Mr. Gulzar Ahmad Padder has contributed in innumerable ways and has established a great rapport with the community wherein he was posted (Middle School Bidhard). He was posted in a far-off habitation dominated by Scheduled Tribe population, where initially the children were rare in sight in the school premises and usually dropped out in the middle of their studies. At the time of his joining the institution, the school had a meager enrollment of 32. Discharging his duties as head of the institution, he mobilized every concerned stakeholder and led the team by example to make it sure that every child, irrespective of the background comes to school and gets involved in meaningful experiential learning.
Currently the school has a an enrollment of 267. His contributions in the field of education are so immense that even Director School Education Kashmir graced the superannuation event organised in the honour of such an inspirational teacher. One more inspirational success story is that of a revolutionary kindergarten teacher, Tariq Manzoor Khan who is currently posted at Middle School New Colony Pulwama. The teacher is a household name across Jammu and Kashmir and has mesmerized every one with his unique style of play-way method teaching and learning. The teacher has represented Jammu and Kashmir at various national and international events because he has made a great mark in the field of education due to his zeal and innovative pedagogical approach. It is all because of his innovative pedagogical skills that the enrollment of Kindergarten section swelled to 121 students and his kindergarten instructional room has become a source of attraction wherein diverse self-made teaching-learning material is available to cater the 21st century learning needs of kindergarten kids; be it the development of fine motor skills, gross motor skills, communicative skills, collaborative skills, critical thinking, creativity etc.
As a society we need to celebrate the grandeur of such great teachers and highlight their contributions so that they become a source of inspiration for others to follow and their legacy is carried forward. Furthermore the key stakeholders of department of education - teachers - need to work in coordination. The key skill of 21st century is collaborative approach. Teachers need not to work in isolation as individual entity, rather they need to steer collaborative approach and work in a well-knit organization to render collective efforts in transforming schools as real life transforming institutions.
Author is an educator and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org