Thursday, October 10, 2013

The question of responsibility

5th October is celebrated as World Teachers` Day all over the world (in about hundred countries). The same is celebrated in India on 5th September every year on the birth anniversary of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan a great teacher, philosopher and statesman. The teachers have always been the backbone of the society and were given highest possible stature and the respect by the pupil, parents and the age old civilization. In the last few years, there seems to be some doubt in the minds of people and also there is a receding level of confidence in the teachers. There are many factors responsible for the same and we need to address the issue far more seriously than before and find a way so that the trust imposed by the society in teachers’ ability to mould their students is restored. The last few years have been more turbulent due to which there has been a setback to even those teachers who have been doing so well and were appreciated by all. I am of the firm belief that any relationship stands strong if there is faith, without which it tends to loosen. This is true that change is inevitable but all changes are not necessarily good for the society. Certain things are permanent and if disturbed, result in disastrous repercussions.
For the present situation about the faith in teaching community, both teachers and society are almost equally responsible. The teachers in today’s world are an integral part of the society and they do not live in Gurkuls and Ashrams as in earlier days in India and boarding schools in other countries. The teachers do get influenced by the incidents taking place around them. I am not justifying anything done by teachers’ which is not expected from them but it happens in some cases. The problem comes when one odd incident is generalized for all teachers and even the good and innocent ones are seen with doubt and at times accused of something which they were not at all involved in. Recent incidents shown on TV channels and newspapers have had very negative impact on the children and the teachers both. There have been a few black sheep’s in this profession also but it does not mean all are like that. Sometimes it is through media which is the voice of the people that these issues get a highlight and an image is formed. But, the teachers, as individuals are also to be blamed for the present situation because some of them forgot the basic ethics of a teacher and the motto of the teaching profession. They perhaps do not realize their strength and influence on the children because the students otherwise look up to them as their mentor. If the teachers build a mindset and take this profession as a mere profession to earn money and livelihood, then the very pious motive of teaching is destroyed by such thoughts. The teacher is certainly not the one who sells knowledge, but must be the one to be a social reformer and if that is true then he/she must reform self first and then expect others to follow. This is not as easy as said or written but then no good comes easily. If somebody decides to work for good then should be ready to work hard and face difficulties and even the blames for the failures. Nobody is perfect in this world and so is the case with teachers also but they can at least try to be the best and be a role model for others.
The parents should also realize that the knowledge and values cannot be purchased. Though they may be able to do so but the basic values of life can surely not be bought by money like may be the other certificates or degrees. The teachers should not be looked down upon because they do not own big bungalows or the resorts and luxury cars etc., but should be given credit for kindling the flame of knowledge and be the guiding light of the society. The parents being rational can also ensure that they do not speak anything negative about a teacher in the presence of the children because that plays a negative role in the relationship between the students and the teachers. There is always something more than what meets the eye, hence, parents can think twice before reacting to any situation of difference between school and home. There is a possibility that the parents might get influenced by the incident narrated to them by the child and that may be true also but shouting, using foul language and creating scene does not make any sense, rather at times aggravates the situation. First we as parents should try to resolve by talking to the individual and put our point of view with no ambiguity. In most of the cases, the problem will be solved. In rest of the cases some legal means are available to all of us and we should take advantage of that. But in all such cases the idea should be to correct someone who is wrong or has done wrong and not be personal with an attitude for revenge. Parents are integral stakeholders and should realize that when at times, they are not able to manage two children at home then how difficult it may be for the teachers in the present situation to administer the heterogeneous group of forty. We all must admit that discipline is not only the key to the success but also an important factor to run and manage the society in a proper and dignified manner. Individual rights are important but sensitivity towards the dignity and respect of the others is also equally important.
The society and the media can play a constructive role in this aspect. Reports by media should also be flashed as discretely as possible as news and not as hot news. The concern of the children, parents and the teachers need to be highlighted but in a manner which helps all to do better. Those who indulge in wrong doing should be punished but that should not be the choice but as per the law of the land. Some of the teachers do share it in private that there is nobody to safeguard the interest of the teachers and they are at times isolated to defend for themselves without any support from anywhere because they are considered to be guilty even without any evidence of such a thinking. Such cases are raised and blame put on one party but nobody comes to know the ultimate decision in them because that goes unreported. We need to strike a balance and keep in mind the consequences of our reporting an incident. The nation seems to be driven by mob mentality today which is very dangerous. It has been observed that a number of people will collect if some property of an organization is to be destroyed but very few people will stop to help a person lying on the road because of accident or some other eventuality. The society as a whole will have to think rationally and respond responsibly and without reacting.
The students also need to understand that without discipline life becomes imbalanced and unorganized. They must understand that as students they own a lot of responsibility for themselves, their parents, teachers and the peer group. So called small incidents and actions lead to certain predicaments. In the last few years many concerned organizations have spoken about the problems faced by the children particularly in the schools. They are right and we all need to be careful that our students do not suffer and they get quality education but at the same time the children who do not behave properly should also be made aware that they supposedly will have to face the consequences of their actions. The most important thing is that they do not have the right to insult their parents and the teachers just in the name of the freedom of speech. If everybody abuses the freedom of speech then this will result in a chaotic society not worth living. Majority of the students are disciplined, have an aim, are focused, want to learn the best and do something good for their family and the society. There may be a few cases which are to be handled little firmly and corrected in their interest and in the interest of the society. The students should ensure that they are properly dressed while coming to the school and are punctual and regular. They should ensure that other children are not disturbed because of their reckless actions.
If all the stakeholders give space to each other and respect each other, then most of the problems will be solved. The teachers’ day celebrations will gain some relevance if they work as per the expectations of the society and society in turn gives them all the due respect, recognizing their services towards the future of the nation. Just by talking about the importance of the teachers on one particular day will not change the situation. If the society has to live a quality life then we need to have quality teachers and that will be possible only when the teachers really live up to the demands of their profession which should be a noble mission for them. Somebody has to take an imitative and let it be the proficient teachers.