By Dr Jyots Bhattacharjee
Long back Oscar Wilde wrote in his vitriolic essay, “The Decay of Learning” that “Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching—that is really what our enthusiasm for education has come to”. The author’s comment is sarcastic, as is obvious, but it also seems to be a true statement. In schools, colleges, universities it can be observed clearly that very few teachers are interested in learning or in the learners. Teachers are not all-knowing, since education can never be completed in one’s lifetime and learning is a never ending process. The teachers apparently think they have learnt all that was needed and have nothing more to learn. But they are totally wrong. Many new ideas and new theories have emerged through the passage of time. Knowledge has to develop through changes. The teachers have to upgrade their knowledge to keep pace with the changing world. But they do not seem to be the least interested in learning more to improve their knowledge. They merely do their allotted duty by reading and explaining some lessons of the text book or by dictating notes to some hapless bored students. They try to teach diverse subjects with their limited resources, which do not go far. turally the students are not impressed by such mechanical form of teaching. The teachers have to use modern ideas to make the class interesting.
Till sometime back, teaching as a profession could not attract many talented young men and women, because of the low salary and inferior social status attached to it. But now there has been very handsome salary hike, though the social status may not have reached the expected height. It is not known why brilliant degree-holders are reluctant to take up teaching as a profession despite the handsome salary. Maybe, it is because of the fact that till today, teachers have not been given due social recognition which they so richly deserve. Perhaps the people at large have not been able to get rid of their image of a teacher in earlier times, when they had to struggle hard for existence. They had knowledge and the required qualification, but they did not get due recognition outside the school campus. But the teachers of today are well-groomed and well-heeled as well. But still very few educated young people want to take up teaching as a profession.
Some years back, the UGC Annual Report had remarked “…the teaching profession usually attracts two types of university men. One of them consists of young graduates who have genuine love for teaching and research, and who adopt teaching as their vocation. The second consists of a large number of students of average merit, who fail to get into more lucrative positions and enter teaching professions, not so much by choice as by the force of circumstances. The first type is rare, and the ranks of the teaching profession tend to be largely filled by the second type”.
This remark is perhaps applicable to both the categories of teachers working in schools and colleges. It is a fact that most teachers, except a dedicated few, plan to stay in the teaching profession only till something better comes along. Some of the women teachers do stick to their teaching job due to convenient working hours and for the availability of sufficient number of holidays. They find this is the only job which does not interfere with their housekeeping or taking care of children. But usually most male teachers wait for a better opening. They plan to leave their teaching job as soon as possible. turally the students or society cannot expect much from these half-hearted teachers, who are not at all interested in teaching or in the institution where they are working. Neither the school nor the students can depend on these teachers for their well-being.
Teachers have a crucial role to play in the development of educatiol system as a whole. A large number of degree-holders are churned out every year by the universities. These young people knock at various doors with stars in their eyes. Usually the first preference is industrial and service sectors. If they do not get a chance in any of these sectors, they opt for the teacher’s job if they can get it, with the idea of chucking it if they get some opportunity in some profitable sector. The importance of their contributions of course cannot be doubted or belittled. Yet it is also true that though some of the teachers are conscious of their obligations to society and the students, the majority are not the least bothered about their responsibility. They just take their classes as a routine affair to justify their claim to the monthly salary.
A great role has been assigned to the teachers by the ‘tiol Council of Teachers Education’, as the council envisages a teacher to be one, who would like to take up the teaching profession not only to teach in the classroom, but also to act as an agent of social change. That implies that he has an obligation to society as well as to the tion as a whole. The demand for sincere and committed teachers in an age of information technology and exposition cannot be minimized. NCTE recommends that the teachers must have “commitment to learners, commitment to the profession, commitment to achieve excellence and commitment to basic human values”. So to prove himself as a dealer in knowledge, a teacher in this information age needs to be equipped with modern competence to work effectively.
The performance of the teachers (either belonging to the school or to the college or to the university) need to be evaluated by the concerned authorities to assess their worth and competence. That would make the teachers more responsible and active. The evaluation system should include the clause of greater involvement of teachers in allied academic activities, apart from teaching, which is very necessary for the overall improvement of students. Among these activities are included curriculum planning, teaching methods, laboratory experiments, evaluation method, preparation of resource materials, and anything else concerned with the academic purpose. If it is done, it will surely help in improving the standard of education. Only the teachers can realize how they can make lessons clear to students and what should be done for improvement in the education sector. Therefore the active involvement of teachers in all activities connected with education is indispensable for the well-being of students. Imposition of materials, resources and other things will not improve the situation. Hence evaluation scheme needs greater involvement of teachers in diverse school and college activities.
The teachers should be prepared to participate in every activity in the institution they work for, whether it is sports, cultural activities or any other extra-curricular activities, which are necessary for the mental and physical development of students. But unfortutely, very few teachers are inclined to devote extra time to students, because the majority of them remain busy with their persol coaching classes or business. The indifference of the teacher may adversely affect the welfare of students. For instance, correction of answer scripts needs patience and concentration and that is a yardstick for judging the efficiency and interest of the teachers. Careless evaluation is disastrous for the future of students.
A teacher should make every effort to improve his teaching ability. He should take active interest in all matters which could be considered as a determiner for career advancement. Community work is another criterion for the evaluation of teachers. They should do everything possible to impress upon students the importance of values of tiol integration and secularism. Moral education should be imparted to students and for that, the teachers themselves must practice morality, as example is better than precept. At a time when caste differences and religious faticism have caused havoc in the country, students should be taught how to bring about unity among various castes and religions for the good of the country. In fact, a teacher worth the me should be involved in every part of campus activities to justify his profession.
Teachers are expected to discharge their duties effectively as assimilators, generators, and facilitators. In every educatiol institute, semirs should be organized, where the teachers have to participate actively. These semirs help in sharpening the caliber of not only students, but of teachers as well. These sessions help the students to get acquainted with current developments in the subject and to improve interaction between faculties. Teachers should also participate in professiol training courses like refresher courses and orientation courses, which are essential for their better performance. Students should be allowed to evaluate their teachers, as this would make them accountable. The important thing for the success of education system is that the teachers must have job satisfaction.
The responsibility of the teacher is vast, but unfortutely little attention is rendered to it. They mostly take teaching as a time-bound duty. In this kind of formal education, there is no interaction between teachers and learners. Most of the teachers are more interested in their private tuition than in regular classes in the institute where they work and get a monthly salary. The students are also more interested in private coaching than in regular classes. As a consequence the teaching in the class room is hardly beneficial to the students. It is also equally true that for successful teaching, the institutions should take care to upgrade infrastructure, provide a well-stocked library and necessary equipments.
At present, it has been noticed that the students are more interested in politics and other activities, which are not even remotely connected with education. Terrorism, insurgency, corruption, moral depravity have vitiated the education scerio. Politics have entered the sacred precincts of the educatiol institutes in a big way. The students have forgotten that they are learners, and not some diehard politicians.
The students of the present age depend too much on private tuition and guide books, which are available in plenty in the market. Hence we have many degree-holders, but not well-informed intellectuals. It has been noticed time and again that we have very few truly educated persons, who know the subjects thoroughly. Hence it is the responsibility of the teacher to make the students aware of the importance of education and values of life.
The prosperity and future of the country depend on the children. The teacher is responsible for educating and enlightening the young student, who would have to be the worthy citizens of the country. In that sense a teacher can rightly be called the builder of the tion. It is hoped that the teacher is dedicated enough to do justice to his noble profession.