Passionate teachers have been converted into indifferent teachers

I come from a family that has been in the ‘noble profession' of teaching for the last four generations. I have been raised to believe in the ancient Hindu philosophy of the teacher being considered equivalent to god. Of course, that is putting it a bit too dramatically, yet I have always been led to believe that a teacher is someone to be respected and honoured. I still remember parent-teacher meetings where my parents and many parents like mine would stand in awe of the teacher. To them, she was the epitome of knowledge and, more important, the giver who doled out generous bits from that ocean of knowledge. Every word she spoke about the child was taken as the written law and parents worked to rectify the mistakes in their children that she was gracious enough to point out.

Of course, that was an era in which a school was a temple of knowledge and the teacher, the agent of knowledge. Today, the school is the avenue where parents' hard-earned money is invested. The children are the consumers and the teacher is the seller. ‘Value for money' is the new catchphrase. And if your teacher does not give you value for money, then she has no right to inhabit this side of the planet.

Your child, of course, can do no wrong. If he/she is constantly screaming in class, then he/she is only releasing his/her ‘pent up energy'. Never mind the decibel levels that will resonate if 40 such children release their ‘pent-up' energy. If your child suffers from hypertension before the exam, it is not because he or she has not done methodical study throughout the year. It is because the teacher did not do her job properly.

And, heaven forbid, if the teacher utters a word of reprimand, then your child is permanently scarred for life. Even a slight smack on the back is a barbaric practice that is outlawed. If anyone even so much as touches a child, he should be put into solitary confinement for life. Never mind the child's unacceptable behaviour that provoked the teacher to commit this ‘gross offence'.

If your child was not able to follow instructions because he was not being attentive, the mistake is, you guessed it right — the teacher's. She did not speak in a manner which would have made the child listen to her. After all, the teacher is an employee whose salary is paid from the fees that the student pays. So how dare he not do his job properly?

Combing the hair, wearing clean shoes, ironing the uniform — these are all things of the past. Our modern-day teacher dare not point out any of this for fear of being ticked off. ‘The consumer is king' and no displeasure to the consumer will be tolerated.

In the name of ‘child friendliness,' we have reached the extreme point of ‘child indulgence.' The noble community called teachers has gone into hibernation for fear of being pulled up. Passionate teachers have been converted into indifferent teachers. They have started weighing every action of theirs, every word of theirs on the scales of parents' reaction. The result is they have ceased to ‘teach'. They are merely doing their job, ‘delivering the goods' in the school market.

And our government wants youngsters to come into teaching. Tell me, who will want to work in such a hostile environment?

(The writer's email is sharada_arsha@yahoo.in)

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