What can be the best prayer for our kids. If I can take it from someone; “This would be my prayer for the child – one amazing teacher.” The next best would be that my child never ends up as a teacher in her life.
So how can we get an amazing teacher when the world around our teachers, particularly in private schools, is anything but amazing. And the teachers around our children are dejected, depressed, and not at all enjoying their profession. Exceptions, may be!
All the nice lines - teachers are the nation builders, teachers fashion our future - we put on display on this day, can not hide the fact that the relationship between our teacher and our society is mutually destructive. Our society, and our government too, does everything to disempower, even disrespect, teachers. We destroy their self respect, and if our teachers return the same faithfully, why blame them.
On this teachers' day we need to raise some straight, and simple questions.
Take the case of teachers in government schools. They are powerless even when it comes to a lower-in-the-ladder official in their department, not to speak of higher ones.
I wish the higher officials who broadcast their messages on this day stop for a second, and reflect on how they greet a teacher in their offices, if ever a teacher is allowed in.
Generally speaking, with a grim face and an unfriendly attitude. With disdain, and indifference. When they do so, their children are in some classroom, with some teacher. This apathy, this indifference, travels all the way to that classroom. This goes around, this comes around.
And when it comes to private schools, less said the better. The teachers are made to work like donkeys, and what they are paid is not even worth the grass we feed our animals on. In our top notch schools, with good financial health, what is the income differential between those who own the school and those who teach in the school. If only Marx were alive! What is the degree of participation in decision making when it comes to running the affairs of a school.
For budget schools, and these are in majority, the fee is so low that you cannot afford a decent salary to a teacher, no matter how smartly you do the calculations. If the management of a school really wishes to enhance the salaries of the teachers, it entails a hike in the fee. But there is always a sword called FFRC hanging on the head. Our teachers are in any case checkmated.
In the name of fanciful slogans - free education, affordable education - we have ruined most of the budget schools, that could otherwise contribute a lot to our society. We need a three tier process, if we really value teachers. One, the process of selecting the teachers should be highly professional. Two, the schools must have regular training programmes for building the capacities of their teachers. Three, and most importantly, teachers must be paid decent salaries, apart from securities and other perks. Which private school does it here? And if a private school wants to do it, would it be allowed to make a corresponding hike in the fee?
On this day these are the question government and the society need to ask, and find answers to.
Fancy talk means less than little; it is all fake. Unless teaches are paid well, and their estimation in the societal eyes is high, we can't say that we respect them. Whose child wants to end up as a teacher in a private school?! In the government sector whose preference is teaching in a school. Yes, if it is a college, a university, or even a higher secondary – it's a matter of pride. Reason, on the social ladder you occupy a higher pedestal, and in terms of reward, you take a fat salary. Teaching is secondary.
This is half the picture. And it is all dark. Till it becomes little brighter, doesn't mean that the other half refuses to glow. No matter what the condition, it is time for the teachers to make a difference to their own lives, by searching a meaning for themselves. Each teacher is a life, and a life with meaning is always worth living, any how.
How many teachers are serious about teaching? Do they work on their capacities, do they update themselves in terms of subject knowledge, in terms of latest methods in teaching. Are they actually into teaching, or they are just trapped?
The shortest possible route to dignity for our teachers, in government schools or private schools, is to become students. Work on themselves, deepen their subject knowledge, acquire skills, build capacities, and create a value for themselves. Standing in front of an official of the department, or the owner of a school, as if a slave in front of a master, is actually suicide of the self. Add value to yourself, and make them see that value in your performance, in your personality.
My gift to all the teachers is this unsweetened truth: create a meaning for your life, hold the full weight of your personality on your shoulders, send the message to parents, to the managements of schools, and to the officials that you make a difference to our children. But it can happen only if you make that difference. So get back to you study, and become students. Happy Students' Day.
On this day you can respect teachers by at least not lying to them.