“There is no merit in continuing as a teacher as the recognition given by society is on the decline''

The picture of a knowledgeable person imparting lessons to a class of students with complete zeal has been one of the best described images of a teacher. While that is changing, teaching, said to be a noble profession, is seeing many challenges over the years.

The profession does not hold the same value as it once commanded. Fat pay packets offered by other careers, entering the profession more out of choice than passion and limited creative freedom are among the reasons why many quit after a few years.

A recent internal sample study by EZ Vidya, an educational services organisation, shows that teaching is not a major choice for many young professionals. Many middle school teachers feel that there is no merit in continuing as a teacher as the recognition given by society is on the decline.

“Lack of motivation and limited exposure to new teaching aid are main reasons why many leave the profession,” says Jyoti Swaroop, who has over two decades' experience as a teacher.

“Many private school teachers shift to a government schools when an offer comes their way, irrespective of the impact this will have on the children when they move out in the middle of an academic year,” says Srimathi Shivaraman, Principal, Sri Venugopal Vidyalaya. Computer teachers move to BPOs and language teachers to sectors that offer more opportunities.

With private schools in the State grappling with the new fee structure levied by the Govindarajan committee, many school heads are even contemplating reducing the number of teachers for the salary they are required to pay. Though many private schools have implemented the sixth Pay Commission recommendations, their teachers still do not get the allowances that a government school teacher gets.

The salary of a private school teacher from class VI onwards ranges from Rs.8,000 to Rs.20,000, while that of a government teacher ranges from Rs.15,000 to Rs.40,000. Again, this varies from school to school.

Today, it is consistent training, courage to bring about a paradigm shift from teaching to learning and playing the role of a facilitator, which define a good teacher, says Ms. Swaroop.

The chalk-and-talk method of teaching is getting replaced with audio-visuals, e-learning content and sophisticated aid. However, teachers say there is no substitute to the voice of the teacher, the chalk-and-board.

“These animation and technologies should be adopted only after classes are taken in the traditional way so that students get a better understanding of what they have learnt,” says Sujatha Prakash, secondary school teacher of a private school.

Many in the profession are also under pressure to keep them updated with the latest in the teaching scenario. “Since the students have access to technology, we need to keep ourselves updated with the information and teaching methods followed,” says Ms. Prakash.

The attitude of the students to the teachers is also changing. Many address their teacher as they would their colleague or friend.

However, what keeps this job going for many is when old students come to express their gratitude and the strong foundation that the school and their teachers have given them.

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