When I was in primary school, people used to ask me, what did I want to become when I grew up, and my reply used to be ‘A teacher’.
As I grew up, reaching senior section, changed my perspective. Becoming a teacher, was no more my aim. It kept shifting with my interests in subjects. Doctor, engineer, artist, archeologist, interior decorator and what not.
The reason I believe that made me want to be a teacher, at that point in my life, was my inspiration- my mother. I was two when she joined a convent school. She would take me with her, when I had a holiday and hers was a working. She would make me sit in a corner in the faculty room and give me assignments to finish, by the time she came back. In the meanwhile, I would take a tour to the neighbouring rooms, in the playground, on all the swings and even the Principal’s room at times. Coming back from school in the afternoon, my father would ask me if I liked Mummy’s school, and I would gladly smile and tell him, that I wanted to be her, when I grew up. I took pride in telling my friends all about my experiences, and how I spent my day, at another school.
As I grew up, I felt uncomfortable about she being so dedicated to her students and school, than us (me and my brother). She used to come back from school and tell us all about her day, which student did she think could do good, what else does she need to implement in her teaching, how could she help a student improve in subjects she wouldn’t teach, and all that.
Inquisitive, I asked her, one fine day, that if she really wanted to become a teacher. She smiled, said maybe not. She wanted to get into the administrative services. But fate had something else in mind. She told me that, she probably would never have loved her job as much as she was loving it here. That, she was wrong to consider the administrative services as a career, because no other career could give her so much of satisfaction and contentment as this did.
I felt jealous, not because she was dedicated so much towards her work, but because that dedication, somwehere, was taking away what my contemporaries had- a mother beside, all the time. Hardly did I know then that, in time, that would make me possess more endurance and also make me self dependent.
Present Day: Having graduated from a reputed college in the southern part of the country, in one of the most popular streams, I considered joining an NGO, that contributed for the upliftment of underpriviledged children of the society. I conveyed this to my parents. Though my mother supported me in this endeavour, my father wasn’t very sure about it. He probably, had imagined me working with Mahindra, Ashok Leyland or NTPC. But he never discouraged me as well.
Most of the people I talked to this about, gave me the same reaction. Why? You have a degree and an on-campus placement. Why do you want to spoil your career, they said. Not that I expected any other reaction, but this was something that made me wonder about, how astounding is it to discourage ourselves and people around, to take up school teaching as a career. Education, has always been a pressing issue for the country. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2013, shows India at the top of the list, for primary education enrollment. That, is some good news. But what about the teachers? Do we really have qualified teachers?
An acute deficit is observed, when it comes to skilled and qualified teachers in schools. A UNESCO report suggested that, we might need to enroll more than fifteen lakh teachers to support the 1:30 teacher-pupil ratio, by 2015. Do we really have as many educational institutes to train candidates as qualified teachers? Do we realize that the reason teaching is looked down upon in this fast growing world? People who are qualified never even care to be a teacher, and those who aren’t, are left with no other option.
Technically speaking, teaching as a profession has seen as glorious days as, being a senior manager today has. Our society runs on traditions and cultures. You leave home for studies, come back and be a teacher, the society will do nothing other than making fun of you. More than half of the newly opened schools have business minded faculties and Dean.
We need to change our mindset. Teaching formed the base of what we are today. Remember when your science teacher taught you to conserve water, so that our future generations can have safe and pure drinking water? Don’t you think pursuing school teaching will have the same effect.
Be the change you want to see in the world.