Problems are part of life. Humanity across the world face issues in every walk of life —chief among them are climate change, poverty, hunger, crime, corruption, unemployment. To address these challenges —apart from various mechanisms —education is seen as the best and strongest solution.
Notably it is education which not only gifts mankind the way out of darkness but also promotes intellectual growth leading to both individual and social upliftment. And most importantly, the noblest work of education can never be carried to the shores of progress and prosperity unless teachers, the gatekeepers of education, do not get the much-needed respect and recognition in society.
End of the days when school teaching probably was seen as one of the leading jobs—more so in this part of the world. And the teachers were seen as respectable citizens. Now the educated youth preferably seek other jobs, for example, in the fields of health, engineering, higher education, etc. Is it because school teaching brings less money? Or because it has no/ low scope? Hard to answer!
Though the noble profession of teaching is challenging, the energy to handle it is often not in good supply. Sometimes, a little motivation is required to remind yourself that you are a teacher and that your efforts are important and significant. True, even the best teacher needs a little extra push every now and then.
At educational institutions, 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, the food for thought.
It is teachers who show to students the road ahead which is life 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.
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.
This author knows a teacher 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 to him and public admire him for his teaching skills.
Teachers are teachers—be it school teachers or university teachers. 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 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 if the disposal of the case can take five minutes to complete , it takes days together to be disposed of. That leaves a less-fortunate school teacher in deep trouble and heartbroken. Never have we experienced that a teacher's personal or even official piece of work is done on priority on the premise that his/her time is precious and society cannot afford to waste the teacher's time.
Recently, a teacher — who teaches about 300 students daily at a school— was required to submit a vital piece of paper to be obtained from a department. The teacher was ordered to wait for many hours though he requested the authorities that his stay there would waste the time of his students; who listened? Who believed? He was not even let inside the gate of the department. A five- minute piece of work to prepare the paper took three hours. Yes, a handful of teachers loaf around and do not shoulder their responsibilities seriously. These teachers use their influence and affluence to have their way. No worries at all. But ironically society salutes these teachers, calling the honest ones backward and silly.
Pertinently, 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% 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.
For attracting better brains, teaching needs to be raised to the status of a profession known for privileges, respect and recognition. Money is important but most important is preserving the falling professionalism of school teaching.
(Author is Teacher by profession and a Columnist. He can be reached on: email@example.com)