Teachers under the shadow of students?

Published - August 02, 2014 11:38 pm IST

As part of a series of guest lectures held in the second half of Saturday mornings I invited a young film maker to talk to our media students. At the very outset of his talk he asked the students if anyone of them was compelled to be in the hall. No one said he or she was. But the young speaker was not convinced. Soon he spotted a girl whose head was on her desk. The speaker said, “Ma’m, you seem to be sleepy; please go out and wash your face and come.” Another girl was almost in a reclining posture to one side in her chair. The speaker said, “Ma’am, you might fall off, try to sit straight.”

For the two hours or so that the speaker talked about his inspiration, interest, education and film making he was interactive and dripping with energy – just brilliant. Even in the midst of it he noted a few other cases of misdemeanour in the hall. Imagine this young man as a regular teacher. I would like to think that he would nip in the bud the indiscipline and erratic behaviour of students. It took the faculty by surprise that the guest speaker had the guts to pull up these students. How many regular teachers would have such guts? Not many. Reasons: The craze among some teachers for popularity within the student community. This might also be due to their own insecurity about keeping the job. Gone are the days when if a student misbehaves in the class and the teacher pulls up that student then the rest of the class might shun or disassociate with that student.

Today, if a student is pulled up by the teacher, for the rest of the class he/she becomes a kind of a hero. The teacher becomes the bad guy.

The writer walked into a fifth semester undergraduate programme. To my surprise I found many students in a very disorderly manner. This indicated that these students had been let loose for the past four semesters. In class presentations by students mediocrity is applauded loudly by their companions whereas good ones are played down. Similarly those students who would like to contribute to the class by way of interaction, questions, related comments, and observations during a lecture are shouted down by their class-mates. So much so in the course of the academic year such students are quietened down, as they fall in line with the majority, who are there just for a degree which they think can be obtained by hook or by crook.


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