World Teachers’ Day: Why teaching is as complex and challenging as medicine, law, or engineering

first_imgEach of us can vouch for the role a teacher has played in shaping our personality and thought process.Yet despite the strong role of a teacher in impacting lives of students, the profession still isn’t accorded the stature that medicine, law, engineering, consulting and many other careers enjoy, not to mention the commercials that accrue on account of pursuing these professions.Ironically, people on the brink of choosing a career are advised to take up teaching oftentimes only for the slightly less working hours that it may offer.(Read: Teachers’ Day: 5 excuses we used to give to our teachers for not completing homework) Challenging career option:The fact, however, remains that teaching is increasingly becoming a complex and challenging (not to mention time-consuming) profession, who’s effective discharge is absolutely imperative for the social, moral and economic health of any countryConventionally, teaching has been seen as a profession that involves dispensing of information followed by setting up of many standardised tests with some childcare thrown in for good measureThe fact, however, is that education isn’t about one way communication with students anymore; the four walls of the classroom is just one of the many places where learning occurs and books of course are just one medium of education.Children too aren’t passive guzzlers of facts any more but are increasingly becoming co-creators of knowledge, what with the enough and more exposure that they routinely get.With information available in bytes and over easy clicks, teachers (or the most respected teachers anyway) are increasingly learning how to ignite the child’s passion through a whole lot of experiential learning.advertisementKindling their curiosity, relating the curriculum to the child’s life and trying to measure their real accomplishments is not a mean job by any stretch of the imagination. Rather than just being subject matter experts, today’s teachers are required to inspire the love for learning in their students. Gone are the days when they would be tyrants in the class, telling their hapless subjects what to do.Today’s teachers are mentors, enablers and even co-learners with their students.Add to this the fact that teachers need to integrate the students intellectual growth with their emotional growth and you realise how a good teacher is a corporate leader, a healing doctor and a meticulous engineer all rolled into one.For what they are doing is not just disseminating information but creating meaningful experiences that enable students to learn big ideas that can be used to solve real world issues.Change in teaching pattern:One of the most powerful things that has changed the role of the educator today – no marks for guessing, is technology.The earlier model of education was based on the fact that there was paucity of information and the teacher, therefore, automatically was the fountainhead of information.However, if there is one thing that is freely available now, it is information.Effective teachers, therefore, have had to evolve their roles from mere information providers to people who can help students develop their ability to think critically and make informed judgments.Overhauling of education system:To give the teachers time and space to fulfill their new roles most effectively, what is really required is an overhauling of the entire system. We need to recognise that teachers need a whole lot of support as they take up many new professional responsibilities.Whether it is being in charge of a host of co-curricular activities or leading sports initiatives or participating in research or even mentoring junior colleagues, they certainly have their hands full. It is important that just as an effective surgeon is supported by a battery of other doctors or how a law firm has a whole lot of junior and senior partners to effectively dispense work, teachers to get back up support to be able to do what they do best- engage the child in the meaningful pursuit of knowledge.While teachers gear up in their new roles, the onus is also on each one of us- parents, school board members, lawmakers and the entire civil society at large.We need to go beyond being just critics of the system to give teachers the much needed support, to help them do the very important task they do (often without much recognition)- that of educating our children in the true sense of the term!For, to support the reinvention of the role of teachers is to ensure that a whole new generation is armed not just with information, but knowledge and empathy.advertisementThis teacher’s day, it will be good if each of us remember to turn to a teacher and express our gratitude.(Authored article by Amita Bhardwaj, Director – Curriculum with Footprints Childcare, a national Play School and Day Care chain that caters to parents looking for world class education and child care for their children)Read: Teachers’ Day/Black Day? Over 60,000 schools across India protest on September 5Read: Happy World Teachers’ Day: Some quotes from famous personalitieslast_img read more

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