Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
On 5th September, the nation celebrated Teachers’ Day in honour of Bharat Ratna Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan -India’s second president and a scholar/ philosopher.
Teachers have a major impact on our lives. Most people may not remember people like the richest person of the world, most powerful person, prime minister, president etc. However, most people 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.
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. Teachers’ salaries are low; many schools do not have basic amenities like electricity, water, toilets; 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? Should 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 grooming our children to transform them into responsible citizens of the nation must be shared by parents, elders and society.
Most teachers teach the 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 from parents, relatives and society.
In the 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 syllabus of many schools.
The profession of teaching is so noble and attractive that many successful professionals opt for teaching post retirement. The former president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam went back to teaching after retirement. Other such teachers include Rabindranath Tagore and Albert Einstein.
In today’s Covid-19 environment, the challenge for teachers, parents, students and society is when and how to restart schools. It is already late into the year; many schools have started online classes, however many students are unable to attend these online classes due lack of smart phones and poor internet connectivity. The actual challenge is to bring back the teacher-student interaction and relationship.
A salute to all teachers who made us into what we are today! (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)