– Madhu R D Singh –
Today is my day – Teacher’s Day. It brings immense joy to me because teaching is my passion. It also makes me sad, because today, education has been commercialized by many. It is being treated like a commodity by the private players who own universities, colleges, and private schools. Their main focus is money rather than real education. Teachers too have become mechanical, and lack that touch with their students. They take teaching as a duty, and pass on to students information, rather than values and spark. Where are those teachers who would ignite the students with dreams to make a difference? Where are those teachers who inspire students to seek and imbibe knowledge ? Where are those teachers who become parents to their students, and treat them like their own children?
I am 54, teaching English and Social Science in an army school, with over 28 years of experience ( at various schools, as per the posting of my army officer husband). I have always loved teaching and get my strength from my students. I am always reminded of one incident which taught me a lot in understanding the psychology of students, and real value of a healthy teacher – student relationship. After teaching ‘Nazism’ to class 1Xth through stories, facts from the Net, pictures and a movie clip, I decided to recapitulate the lesson by conducting a quiz after two days, with a promise of chocolates to the winning team. My enthusiasm met with a greater whoop of joy from the students. Lo and behold! Chocolates were collected ( each student had brought one) and deposited with me, and the class started to gear up for the quiz.
The D Day arrived. With bated breath, overflowing enthusiasm, the teams fought hard. No sooner a question was asked, there was a quick response to score a point. And I had made the questions quite interesting to draw out the best from them. The four teams were all out to win the BIG PRIZE – the Chocolates. It was a treat to watch the keen and anxious faces, with gaze fixed on the heap of chocolates on my table! Such child like response was so heart- warming.
The quiz ended with the most unexpected team’s win and their victory hoop could be heard in the whole corridor ( thank God the Principal was not on the round). As winners rejoiced, my rest of the soldiers were crestfallen. It wasn’t the points that made them sad but the mound of chocolates which vanished from the centre table to the victorious warriors. I realised that even my fallen comrades should taste ‘kuch meetha ho jaye’ despite losing the quiz. I immediately rushed to the school canteen and bought them chocolates and distributed to be shared amongst them. To my amazement, their line ‘ Ma’m, you really bought from your pocket from your side for us” – touched my heart. The whole class nicely teased one another and enjoyed the fruit of their labour. I felt like a 15 year old among them – chatting, laughing, and sharing their sense of achievement.
The bell rang, and my period was over. I thanked the students, and before I could move over, all the boys just rushed to me, and touched my feet, Their eyes moist, and in an emotional voice came the line – “ we have never enjoyed the subject so much. Thank you”.
Yes, I am a mother first, and then a teacher to all of them. Nothing could be compared to those moments of pure innocence, happiness and honest naked emotions as the one I had experienced. This incident has reaffirmed to me that teaching as a profession will always be a noble one- if you put your heart into it. What you give to the children, comes back to you manifold.
Some of us tend to criticise the present generation of students as frivolous, disrespectful, and aimless. But then the onus is on us parents and teachers, to guide and orientate them. Be a mentor, a genuine one, and see the difference. The children today are starved of good teachers. They hate certain subjects like social sciences and history because we fail to make it interesting. Lets work hard and try being innovative. The children will lap it up, and ask for more. Try it. It is a very rewarding experience.
May I please conclude this article, with few hard hitting questions, that we need to ask ourselves, with a view to improve the education system. Why has teaching still not become a lucrative career option? Why majority of candidates who appear in the Central Teacher Eligibility Test ( CTET) fail in it – pass percentage in 2016 was only about 20 percent? Why majority of teachers in the govt schools lack professional knowledge, teaching skills, and above all commitment? No wonder, the standard of these schools continue to be pathetic. The main sufferers are the poor children, who can’t afford, good schools. So, we got to make teaching a viable profession. The exploitation of teachers by private institutions must also stop. Due to lack of jobs, private schools employ teachers with a meagre pay of about five to ten thousand, but charge hefty fees from the parents. They make a fool of parents by showing off good buildings etc, but the quality of teaching is very poor. Another root cause of decay in our teaching system is easily available BEd degree. Any body can do it ( read ‘buy’ it) , and become a teacher. Lets make BEd realistic, useful, and only the deserving should be awarded it.
Teachers are the crux, at the crucial age of our youth. They can make or mar a young mind. Then, why not wake up, make teaching a full time profession, and accord due status to the teachers.
About the Author
Madhu R D Singh
Author and Educationist
Mrs Madhu RD Singh, wife of Colonel R D Singh, is MA ( English), BEd, NTT, and IT savy. She has over 28 years of teaching experience, including being Principal of Army School, Lalgarh Jarttan ( Rajasthan), from 1996 to 98, while her husband was commanding an armoured regiment there.
Madhu is also on the CBSE panel for checking the board papers. She , along with her husband, is a regular blood donor, and joins him in social work. She is an accomplished speaker, writer, and adapt at conducting co – curricular activities. She loves her teaching, and students respect her from their heart. She is a parent, both at home, and in the school.
Contact – :
Alexandra Road , Army Public School , Ambala Cantt – 133001 ,( Haryana) Tele: 9467634686
Disclaimer : The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVC NEWS.