Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging ]
A few days back on 5th September, Teachers’ Day was celebrated across the nation. Teachers’ Day is celebrated in honour of Bharat Ratna Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan who was India’s second President and a scholar-philosopher.
In Arunachal Pradesh, Teacher’s Day was also celebrated throughout the state with cultural functions and programmes in different schools and colleges.
Teachers have a major impact on our lives. Most people may not remember people like the richest person of the world, most powerful person of the world, etc. However, most people will remember their teachers by name, especially the teachers of primary and middle schools. In many cases, teachers are the first role models for children. Being at an impressionable age, many young children look up to their teachers and want to emulate them in character, etiquette and behaviour.
After parents, teachers have the onerous task of educating and grooming our children from a very young age. Many teachers perform this important role under demanding circumstances. Teacher’s salaries are low, and many schools do not have basic amenities like electricity, water, toilets etc. There is lack of quarters and in many cases some teachers are not paid salaries for months. In few remote corners of our state, teachers have to walk for few days to reach the schools in the villages.
However, are teachers the only profession to take on this onerous responsibility of educating and grooming our next generations? Can parents, elders and society shy away from this responsibility? Most schools provide just academic education to our children. Many parents expect that once children are in school, it is the teacher’s responsibility to educate and groom them. The responsibility of teaching and grooming our children to transform them into responsible citizens of the nation must be shared by parents, elders and society.
Most teachers teach children to be honest, disciplined and sincere. Children are taught these important values by teachers. But many children pick up bad traits like cheating, cunningness, arrogance etc from parents, relatives and society. In olden days, to groom our children well there was a book on ‘Moral Values’. Today it is assumed that most students are honest, possess good character and thus the formal lessons on moral values have been removed from the syllabi in many schools.
The profession of teaching is so noble and attractive that many successful professionals opt for teaching post retirement. Former President of India, A P J Abdul Kalam went back to teaching after retiring. Other such teachers include Rabindranath Tagore and Albert Einstein.
The other baffling aspect is the performance of government schools vis-á-vis private schools. Though government schools are well funded and teachers paid relatively well, results show that private schools with poorly paid teachers are performing better. Another modern day puzzle! (The writer is a retired Group Captain of the Indian Air Force)