Teaching: A work of heart
All effective teachings had an ultimate spiritual legacy. The paradigm shift to modern values has made the lines of congruence between knowledge and wisdom blur
Post by REYAZ AHMAD MIR on Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Deep reverence for a teacher has been a part of traditions of the East. This is an acknowledgement of the great value that learning is not hoarded; it is to be passed on. The knowledge that the sages of old acquired was not through just scriptural knowledge or assimilation of information only but wisdom gained from the odd and ordeal experiences with life. Since life has no specific trade mark, it is a shared lesson being taught to all with no distinction. In this arena of experience, the teacher and student enter into a trusted relationship in which both are students and teachers too. The room for superiority is shut here quite often, if not always. Fundamentally, all effective teachings had an ultimate spiritual legacy. The paradigm shift to modern values has made the lines of congruence between knowledge and wisdom blur. Now, there is little distinction between acquiring knowledge and acquisition of power. It is perhaps information that has taken over the status of knowledge.
Being well informed need not necessarily raise you above those who have been denied access to information. We see an act of condescension being shown by some highly educated people while sharing the knowledge. The philosophical connotation of "knowledge is power" is getting changed by them. They have shaped it as a financial enterprise by diminishing its socio-spiritual concern. This is fine but taking it to the level of its degeneration is against its core - drawing out from within. Today, some of us may loathe the teachers in our lives who seemed to have been delighted in finding out our wrong course and then redirecting that. But it is because of their vigilance and wisdom that many of us have become better at what we do now.
During old days, the pure bonding between teachers and students was a great tradition that enabled holistic education and balanced personality elevation. Today’s education system may not afford forging of such long term bonding and mentoring of students. It is not less than a shock when teachers are asked to be confined to academics only. How he can be a role model for students when he is strangely prohibited to demonstrate at social, moral and spiritual fronts.
When he is surprisedly asked at times 'don't try to act like a guardian or parent of a student', the tradition of treating students like teacher's own children is broken and the dreams are shattered. The string is cut in between and there is no pure and pragmatic teacher-taught relationship. The absence of this sense makes responsibilities insignificant. The exchange of mere Alfa bets or the figures makes the students worth to earn but can't touch the strings of soul beyond becoming the financial beings. Empowering them to be fully human with all-time relevant life skills needs soulful efforts in an atmosphere of parent- children emotional bonding, even more than that.
Teaching for examinations, unit tests, grades and percentages indicate only how effectively we can reproduce information stored in our cognitive hard-discs or from brain to brain copy pasting of data written in books and notes. The stature of the teacher starts melting down once the data starts eroding from the mind of a student due to ageing. But, the teachers who go beyond commonly taught things are uncommonly remembered with eternity. They transcended the ‘self’ and whose words and deeds are etched in memories only because in doing so, they enable and empower their students to transcend themselves. Such teachers make the students realize that the signpost is not the road. They show by their deeds and devotion that the journey itself is as important or even more important as the destination. Showing to be identified with the journey and the goal equally, they walk with students in spirit to negotiate the many twists and turns of life, leading them with compassion and inspiring them to never give up.
In the course of blissful teaching, teachers too learn from students, if the teachers stop themselves as teachers for a while. Both can enjoy the shared experiences of life and learning. Both grow and elevate to the climax of humanity strongly backed by science, wisdom and spirituality.
(The author is a regular columnist of Rising Kashmir and can be reached at email@example.com)