A good teacher is like a candle. It consumes itself to light the way for others: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Aristotle once said that: “Teachers, who educate children, deserve more honor than parents because parents only give them birth; for the latter provided mere life, while the former ensures a good life.
Teaching is a challenging profession while the energy to tackle it is often in short supply. Sometimes, what is needed is a little motivation to remind yourself why you are a teacher and that your efforts are important and meaningful. True, even the best teacher needs a little extra push every now and then. So the little inspiration that even the best teachers need must never be destroyed through norms, needless bias and prejudice.
At all educational institutions, from schools to colleges to universities, teachers face disrespect, misbehavior and lack of motivation or passion among students. But this situation never breaks the morale and enthusiasm of teachers; they see the light at the end of the tunnel and lead from the front step-by-step. That is a unique act of optimism and noble service to society.
Thus teachers feed society through knowledge which is food for thought. But how sad it is that some societies, in return, feed teachers with humiliation and discrimination by dividing them as good and bad teachers on the basis of the recruiting agencies!
It is teachers who show students the road ahead which is life in itself. Teachers inspire students to learn wherever life may take them, besides enabling them to discover their interests, passions and themselves in the long run.
It is teachers who give us doctors, engineers, scientists, filmmakers, architects, entrepreneurs, administrators, prime ministers and presidents; it is teachers who have the power to give us internet, atom bombs, communication towers and aeroplanes.In short, teachers create all other professions.
Former president of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk has rightly said, “A good teacher is like a candle. It consumes itself to light the way for others.”
Agreed that teachers may get good salaries, benefits and paid vacations but the happiness obtained from sacrificing their time and energy is priceless for them. Teachers, especially the school teachers, do experience the struggle of perseverance but they feel and realize that their efforts can never be truly rewarded.
A major section of school teachers of Jammu and Kashmir fear that their livelihood is not secure; yet their mind is limitless and they are working with a big heart, carrying the sense of worries and concern with them.
This author knows a teacher, whom the government of Jammu and Kashmir recruited in the first decade of AD 2000 through the then recruitment agency Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, whose services have been used from a primary school to a high school to a higher secondary for more than ten years.
Yet, this dedicated teacher has always carried a heartache of losing the job/prestige; sometimes his salary did not come for months together; sometimes the service benefits were missing and sometimes he is dubbed as someone not fit for teaching.
Despite the onslaught on his livelihood that teacher is teaching with exemplary courage, dedication and performance. Students flock him and public admire him for his teaching skills. Humorously he says, ‘I am the worst teacher because I teach the best.’
True, a great teacher creates hope. Hope creates heroism. Heroism creates a healthy society. Such a teacher is not bent on seeking power, status, recognition or wealth for him/herself. He/she has a big heart which cares for the needs of the weak and the small, a reason that everyone is not called to be a teacher.
Teachers are teachers be it school teachers or university professor. All of them work at educational institutions which bring the best out of the worst. By their sincere efforts the innocence and ignorance of learners blooms into an evergreen tree which bears healthy fruit for the entire society and humanity.
It is noteworthy that without teachers, the educational institutions will be the graveyards of values: honesty, hardwork, humility and dedication. Society owes loads of gratitude and gratefulness to teachers whether from primary schools or colleges or universities.
Observing Teachers’ Day every year is not only an honour to teachers but also an irrefutable evidence that they are an asset of society and their selfless services can never be forgotten or belittled. Although, teachers are compensated for their services but it is not in good taste to find thousands of them caught in the smithy of corruption at the hands of those whose life has been shaped and sweetened by teachers.
Whenever teachers (in particular school teachers) visit offices, they return with a sad tale of humiliation and disappointment: their personal work is treated as an ordinary case and what can take a five-minute time, takes days together. That leaves a less-fortunate school teacher in deep trouble and heartbroken.
It is betrayal and akin to backstabbing when the society treats teachers discourteously and divides them into good and bad ones simply on the basis of the nature of their posts; the division, though unproductive in all respects, is not based on qualification and performance. A particular but major section of school teachers is suffering from stereotyping and marginalization. Yet, these less-fortunate teachers (though 70 percent of them were highly qualified before their recruitment) are giving their hundred percent both in academic and non-academic work whether at the elementary or secondary schools.
All teachers need to be treated equally; yes, there are a few bad apples whose services are extremely poor and bring loss to society but these teachers need refinement and direction. Truth is eight out of ten teachers, from schools to universities, are heroes of society. They always give; they never take.
All categories of teachers need to work in harmony and all kinds of teachers and administrators need to join hands to improve the falling image of the education department in public eyes. That will need cooperation not confrontation between teachers and the administrators.