The shocking news of a woman teacher being stabbed to death in Chennai goes to prove that we have been successful to a great extent in creating a generation of super brats. It is all very well to blame everything and anything on the so-called “pressures” the poor students face and make teachers and adults look like ogres. But the fact remains that many children today are not able to handle the so-called “stress” and are bent on the “instant gratification” syndrome. “I, me and myself” seems to rule them in every aspect of their lives.

All language teachers have the greatest task ahead of them. The students are not appreciative enough and find the learning tedious. The teachers are undervalued and over-burdened, having to not only teach but also make students do well as expected by the management. They have to fight the “more interesting” or “more important” subjects like Maths and Science and yet show results. They have no recourse but to be strict and in this instant case, it appears, the teacher committed the cardinal blunder of writing to the boy's parents!

Have we as adults failed to inculcate values in our children? Recently, I met a man who was upset at his 17-year-old daughter refusing dinner the previous night and skipping the breakfast the next morning because her parents refused to ‘give in' and buy a new dress that she had set her heart on. He told me that he had to give her Rs. 200 so that she could eat in the canteen as she was starving. He expected me to commiserate with him and instead I wondered what was wrong with him. I can imagine what my father would have done had I tried such tricks in my 17th year. My friend's children did try a couple of times and skipped eating but her only reaction was, “Good, the rest of us can take your share” and there it is, they would get off their high horse.

Why are we allowing our children to hold us to ransom? Today, they commit suicide or stab someone because they are thwarted. What would be their lives tomorrow? Should everyone who crosses their path be wary? Are we becoming totally ‘chick-pecked'?

A child who has no friends, who steps out only with his mother, a child who does not play is something we should definitely worry about. It is an age when parents have to constantly barter with the child for ‘study time' and ‘playtime' and here we had a “too obedient” child. I think that was a major cause to worry. It was obvious that the child was keeping too much to himself.

Today, a student says in a TV show that teachers should find out what is bothering students who fail before sending adverse reports to their parents. I appreciate his concern and I also appreciate that teachers should desist from hurting the students' self-respect but calling for the parents and keeping them informed is their primary duty. Both parents and the teacher should work in tandem for, they have an equal stake in the child's well-being and holistic growth.

Teaching profession is something that does not find many takers. Now, with a young, well-meaning teacher laying down her life, things are not going to be bright. Something concrete has to be done so that this wonderful community gets its share of respect, regard and appreciation for the tough job it performs every single day.

(The writer's email ID is chandrika1306@gmail.com)

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