Our teachers

Teachers have been, from time immemorial, recognized as the stepping stones into the world of education, moral values and social stability.
Our teachers

Teachers have been, from time immemorial, recognized as the stepping stones into the world of education, moral values and social stability. The Bhagavad-gita has described an acharya – a teacher – as one who teaches not only by verbal instructions but also by the way he or she acts in his own life. The Bhagavad-gita, which has been recognized as a very valuable source of knowledge by modern-day management gurus, also advises that anyone who wants knowledge should approach, serve, and sincerely inquire from a qualified acharya. An authentic acharya sees things as they are, and can reveal genuine knowledge to a sincere seeker. Vedic literature on the other hand says that one can attain real success in life by approaching a good teacher. Qualified teachers who practice what they preach present the truth as received from their teachers. Thus, ancient Indian scriptures, as also the two classics Ramayana and Mahabharata have been unanimous in stating that an ideal teacher commands respect from his or her students by being spotless, an expert in communication, and one who goes an extra step to ensure that the students get the best out of their teacher. While World Teachers' Day is celebrated on October 5 since 1994 under the auspices of UNESCO, India has been celebrating Teachers' Day on September 5 – the birthday of the country's second President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, an eminent teacher, scholar and philosopher - since 1962. While his friends and admirers wanted to celebrate his birthday after he took over as India's second President, Dr Radhakrishnan politely said that he would prefer to observe the day as a mark of respect for teachers rather than eulogizing an individual. It is important to note that Dr Radhakrishnan's contribution to shaping India's education is immense and that only increases the importance of honouring, recognising and celebrating the country's educators. His ideas about good teachers are also noteworthy. According to him, a teacher must create an environment that nurtures the student with his or her warm, kind-hearted, accessible, enthusiastic and caring approach. A teacher must convey a sense of leadership by providing opportunities for each student to assume leadership roles. The mutual respect between teachers and students will provide a supportive and collaborative environment in the classroom. Valuing students' ideas and opinions will encourage students to feel safe to express their feelings and learn to respect and listen to others. But, even as the country celebrates Teachers' Day on Sunday, it is perhaps worthwhile to take a look at the quality of teachers who are currently engaged in millions across the country to teach, shape and train the young minds into responsible citizens of the future. It is a fact that teachers are not born. Teachers are also not very easy to shape. But then individuals who join the teaching profession must have certain basic traits or characteristics. Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had identified four basic qualities that a person must possess to become a good teacher. This also means, a person becoming a teacher must acquire four basic qualities. These are – (i) love for teaching, (ii) ability to make students think beyond what is being taught, (iii) putting students above everything else, and (iv) ability to create pressure on students to explore their capabilities. In present times, the ground reality is that a person takes up a teacher's job not generally out of passion, but out of the necessity of earning a livelihood. Thousands of people apply for various kinds of jobs – teacher, police inspector, tax official, postal clerk, and so on –, and some of them get selected as teachers. Given this situation, it is for the government to ensure that every person selected as a teacher is put through a quality training programme which helps him or her acquire the basic qualities of becoming a good teacher. This is required in the larger interest of the young people who are the future of this country and this society. Unfortunately, governments have failed to create the basic facilities in which all teachers can undergo the required training. It is a reality that acquiring a B Ed degree does not transform a person into a good teacher. The ground realities are different. Assam is fortunate that a person who had handled the education portfolio for a fairly long time is currently on the Chief Minister's chair. Moreover, a person who has been in public life for several decades is currently holding the Education Minister's office. All that the state needs are that this government spare some time exclusively for the teaching community. That also includes their proper selection, proper training and proper remuneration. Greetings to all teachers!

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