Happy Teachers Day!

It is funny how some things trigger long forgotten memories. The other day, while reading Shail’s post, I remembered that Indigo reminded me of some old history lesson in school where we learnt about indigo being named so because the dye came from India.

Today, I opened my dashboard and just wrote seven when Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Mankind sprang to my mind. Funny, because I’ve not thought about that since ages. And what I remember vividly is my English teacher making the poem come alive. From mere words, would grow imagery. She truly interpreted Shakespeare’s words for us. As I’ve said lots of times before, I’ve been lucky to have some wonderful teachers in my life, so has Daughter, so far.

Teachers play such an important part in our lives, don’t they? As parents, we entrust our children with the schools, the teachers, in the hope that they will do what is right by the child. And they do, most of the time. Sometimes, things might not be as we expect, but as far as the parents and the teachers are partners on the journey, things normally, can be sorted out. Two way traffic, so to speak.

Sometimes, however, it isn’t so. My friend, a pre-school teacher was lamenting about how tough it has got. She says that the parents as well as the management of schools treat the teachers teaching the younger classes as maids to do their bidding. As if they have no value as teachers. That genuinely made me sad. I’ve seen how important the teachers in Daughter’s early years have been. And in a lot of ways, teachers can make a bigger difference in a child’s life at this stage. Education, after all, is not just about formal learning, it so much more. And for a well-rounded personality, you need the right kind of teachers.

On this Teachers’ Day, here are the things I would hope to see in the near future for the teachers of our country.

1. Better pay. No matter what we say about teaching being a vocation, not a career, it still needs to be lucrative. Many a time, good potential teachers might shy away from taking it up, simply because they cannot afford it. Teachers mould our future generation, surely, we must do what it takes to attract the best?

2. Better training and aptitude tests perhaps. From what I’ve seen, a lot of the current lot of teachers are just in there for ‘something to do’. Someone we met in Bangalore, was mentioning how she was bored and got a job and a near by school, with no training what-so-ever. I guess it is down to the fact there is a dearth of good teachers, so schools make do with any teacher, instead of good teachers. Wouldn’t be wonderful if there was some kind of national level test(probably, an aptitude test,not just passing some degree) which ensured that every person working as a teacher is ready for the responsibility. And teachers at all levels of schooling need to have passed that test, not just teachers teaching the higher grades.

3. Better resources made available to teachers. I’ve heard this from so many of my friends who are teachers, that they end up buying material for the classes, because either the school refuses to fund it or it is just too tedious a process. People who can afford it, will do, but what about the teachers who can’t? Surely, if the material it self is not provided, is it any surprise that teachers lose interest and motivation? And this kind of stuff happens in private schools, where money shouldn’t really be an issue, given that we pay through our noses for children’s education.

4. Better parent-teacher partnership. I think it is important to let the teachers do their jobs. Yes, if you really feel something is not right, then you need to raise the issue, but I guess, there is a way to do it. I wouldn’t go shouting at the teacher in front of your child, for instance. Or as a friend mentioned, parents demanding that their three-year-olds be taught to write, when the child wasn’t comfortable with holding a pencil properly. The teacher might have understanding of what needs to be done at what stage, you know. As a parent, if we show the child that we respect the teacher, I’m not talking of blind respect, but the normal respect that you would accord any other professional. And just as teachers and schools need to be open to feedback, parents need to be open to too. Sometimes, we might not enjoy hearing our child criticized, but as parents, we need to figure out if we need to work on something as well. Our children might seem perfect to us, but might not be all that perfect 🙂

5. Regular ongoing training at schools for teachers. So many things, new methods of teaching, gender equality etc, need to be reinforced by regular training. Some of us might have never handled issues like this before they became a teacher. And by having guidelines and methodologies in place, it is easier to train teachers.

6. Better child-teacher ratios to be brought in. So many teachers mention how they are over-worked and under paid. I can understand that. Having to handle huge class sizes is no easy task. It gets difficult to ensure that every child is being taken care of. At least in the lower grades, if we had a better teacher-child ratio, I’m sure it would go a long, long way.

7. There is only so much that teachers can do at their end, I really think what we need is a hard look at how education system is working and someone to really change things up. Hopefully one day, it will all come together.

Wishing all you teachers a wonderful, wonderful Teachers’ Day!

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013. Hop over to see more Day 5 posts.

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21 thoughts on “Happy Teachers Day!

  1. I can so relate to your post. Some of my fondest memories involve school and special teachers who I attribute with my love of reading and writing. I’ll never forget having to re-enact the witch scene from MacBeth in 11th grade English:)

  2. An apt topic for an apt day. Better child-teacher ratios: this is something that needs to be changed immediately. In my son’s class there about 55 students. So, what we could expect from a teacher? The books are badly checked, sometimes not corrected at all, and so on. High time…

  3. I appreciate your thoughts and I agree with all ur points. Teachers are the spiritual parents and it’s undignified for you to shout at teachers to becomes heroes in front of the eyes of ur children. I remember some of my teachers went without pay and still they taught us lovingly. We need to increase their salary and increase the value of teachers:)

  4. Such a wonderful and relevant topic to post about on Teachers’ Day, hopefully some people who are teachers, or run educational institutions read this and start taking small steps towards a better Education System in the country…truly the need of the hour

  5. Thought provoking post Smitha. Wish teachers were treated better.. At their end I think aptitude is crucial for a good teacher. Unfortunately many people come in this profession simply because it’s the easiest option available and never live up to its requirements.

    • Absolutely. That happens, which is why we really need some sort of aptitude test.. Something that can be used as a minimum standard across schools in the country.

  6. I think the change is underway now. I see a lot of change in the way education has transformed now, with all the international curriculums that have entered the education sector. Hopefully, it will be even better than this by the time our kids are old enough to be on their own an chose a career for themselves. Amen to that!

    • Change is underway, but the problem is that the whole education sector is quite chaotic. There are no standard guidelines or reference points to ensure that all educational institutes deliver a certain level of education. And even the international schools do not necessarily guarantee quality education. And there is no proper way for a parent to assess apart from references from others and word of mouth recommendations..

  7. I was floored to realize last year how much time my son’s teacher spent at the school each day. It blew my mind because I knew that financially she couldn’t begin to be compensated for the time that she puts into. What is really sad is that kids like my daughter who think about becoming a teacher are put off by the long hours, the dedication, and little pay and choose instead to do something else. I would think that somehow the job’s benefits should be more enticing to ensure that a future generation would even want the job.

    • I know! Teachers put in such long hours, and most of them are so dedicated. It is a pity that they are not paid better and valued more. I totally agree that the ‘ job’s benefits should be more enticing to ensure that a future generation would even want the job.’. Absolutely!

  8. Hear Hear!

    My Amma will agree to each of these points..handling about 65 students in her class day in and day out, definitely has taken a toll on her health…

    pssst – Though she misses the high which teaching gave her :):)

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