A noble profession

“The strength of a nation depends upon the quality of its citizens, the quality of its citizens depends upon the quality of their education and the quality of their education depends upon the quality of their teachers.” These words of the American Commission on teacher education cannot be overemphasized. Teacher is a living ideal, the fountainhead of knowledge and the potential guide to provide directive for the growth and development of students of today as worthy citizens of tomorrow. Teacher is the backbone of the educational system, the maker of mankind and the architect of the society. A teacher is generally regarded as the builder of a nation. Teaching is a kind of profession which gives rise to all other professions. A doctor, an engineer, a journalist, a policeman and even a politician – all are the products of a teacher. The quality of education is a multi-factored process. All the stakeholders have important, may be different, but complementary roles. The government, the management of institutions, the teachers, the students and the parents all of them have an important role to play to bring in quality education. And among all other stakeholders within the system, teachers have a vital role in quality assurance. For the teaching profession, a teacher himself should be dedicated, enthusiastic and motivated. A good teacher has to be a student all his life. He should be able to stimulate the minds of the students and awake in them an abiding interest for the subject. And teachers should practice what they preach.
Having said that, one might have noticed how most teacher in any social gathering introduces themselves as “I am just a teacher.” This is the sad affairs going on in the state for quite a long time now. Their emphasis on “just” and the tone of their voice conveys both cynicism and self belittlement. This is how we are treating teachers in the society. In fact, teachers are among the most important contributors to society. Together with parents, they are the ones who in many ways define what our future generations will be like. Yet, in today’s world they neither get what they deserve in respect nor pay. Rather than treating teachers with the utmost respect and gratitude, we belittle this profession and those that go into it. Given various reasons, the teaching profession isn’t something that comes to mind as a career for most of us in our parts of the world. You first hope to become a doctor. But if science is not your thing, engineering isn’t that bad either. And if you find that both these professions are a bit on the dull side, then becoming a lawyer isn’t something to be ashamed of. Nowadays a computer scientist or an information technologist can likewise demand some respect. There are many other professions out there but none with the status symbol that the above afford. But teachers! They are considered those who couldn’t find anything better – they are often thought as either not having been smart enough (didn’t do well on admission tests), rich enough (couldn’t pay for a private, entrance exam based professional school) or well connected enough (their father’s, brother’s, aunt’s, husband’s, uncle isn’t a high ranking official in the government). People shun teachers thinking that it is only because everything else must have failed for them that they have decided to become a teacher. Although such might be true for a very slim minority, no one seems to give teachers the credit that is due to them for choosing this noble profession. This sad fact is one of the biggest tragedies of our current times. So the next time you see a teacher, tell him or her how much they are appreciated. And the next time you meet such a teacher, think of your own teachers and remind yourself of how you could not have been where you are had it not been for them.