Aristotle had said, “Those who educate the children are more to be honored than their parents because these give them life but those the art of living well”. Nowhere in this world has the true meaning of this statement been better implemented than in Ancient India. From the ancient times, in India great importance has been attached to the teacher. It is in India that we say and believe “Guru Brahma, Gurur Vishnu,Guru Devo Maheshwaraha,Guru Saakshat Para Brahma,Tasmai Sree Gurave Namaha”, which means ,Guru or the teacher is the representative of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He creates, sustains knowledge and destroys the weeds of ignorance. I salute such a Guru.
The Education philosophy of the Vedas defines a teacher not just as one who imparts knowledge but one who is a friend, philosopher and guide. It is said “Though all men have the same eyes and ears, yet they are unequal in their intellectual capacities". A teacher should have faith in the inherent potential of each student and be able to act as a resource person catering to the diverse needs of each student. Firstly and foremost a teacher should always remain a student throughout his life. For a teacher to be resourceful he/she has to have the love for knowledge. It shouldn’t just be a means for his/her livelihood. Only when a teacher remains a student and reads new books, acquires new dimension of knowledge will he/she be able to be a resource person for the students with his/her enriched knowledge and new ideas. This knowledge should also be combined with the ability to communicate knowledge to others. According to Vedas, “Do not forsake learning and Teaching".
A ideal teacher is one who is like a father figure and yet a friend, a philosopher who is able to make his students understand not just chapters from the curriculum but also is able to give the students an understanding about life, and he/she also should be a friend who is non-judgmental towards opinions of his/her students. Teachers are the real architects of student's life. There are many factors that contribute to the academic performance of students; these include individual characteristics, family environment and the experiences of the growing up amongst specific neighborhoods. However, research suggests that when it comes to schooling, teachers matter the most and have a lasting impact on students and how they grow up as individuals. The impact of teachers on students is undeniable. There is no doubt on the positive impact that a teacher has on the overall growth of a student.
Teachers actually have many roles to play, setting up a classroom, creating a warm environment, mentoring and nurturing the students, being the role model, focusing on each student, listening and keeping an eye for behavioral changes, solving the problems that students face not just academically but also in their personal lives that at times impact their performances.
There have been many instances where bad behavior of teachers have not just made students unhappy but many students have taken a dislike or phobia towards the subject taught by those teachers. Even when the teacher is academically qualified, he/she has not been able to fuel either passion or good result due to their poor method of imparting knowledge, behavior and lack of personal touch. It is true that students are like soft clay that the teachers with their knowledge, techniques and personal touch, love and affection mould into successful adults.
There have been many instances where, teacher has changed the perspective not just of students but that of the entire community. The best example that immediately comes to mind is from the movie “To Sir with Love” which takes us through the journey of student teacher relationship and it is one great example of how a teacher can positively change the mindset of once disrespectful students coming from poverty stricken community through his rigor, relevance and relationship.
If we study the various success stories from ancient India till now, we will always find the story leads us to a mentor, a teacher, a Guru who ignites the mind of the student who then goes to achieve feats that marks him/her permanently in the pages of history. Whether it was Arjuna from the Mahabharata or Chandra Gupta Maurya, in both the cases it was their gurus who played a very important role in shaping them up for the persons that they became. It was but for Chanakya, that ChandraGupta Maurya was able to win the war of Independence for the Northern India. While ChandraGupta had the valor and strength, his thinking brain was none other than Chanakya. Together they had inked a different story for the India we know today.
The role of a teacher in society is both significant and valuable. Unfortunately, times have changed and the relationship between teacher and student has changed to a great extent. There has been lot of changes in the way schools function today and as a result teachers today do not have complete independence that which was once the norm. It has been observed that parents today on many occasions question the teacher. This makes it difficult for the teacher to completely be in control. Somehow in this world which has become extremely materialistic, many think that they have some kind of control over schools, and teachers as they pay a heavy amount of money to the schools for their wards education. Schools also have set policies where teachers are under lot of pressure while dealing with students. Somehow over time the great respect, faith for teachers that was the norm of the society has faded to a certain extent. There are obvious reasons as well; the dedications of teachers also seem to have diminished.
There is a need for a revival of the teachers and the teaching profession. The coming generation needs focused dedicated teachers who will responsibly mould the young ones not just to excel academically but to be responsible citizens of this country.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena
Posted By - Assistant Editor