ROLE OF A TEACHER IN OUR SOCIETY
The importance of a teacher as an architect of our future generations requires that only the best, most intelligent and competent members of our society are allowed to enter into this noble profession. However, it is unfortunate that generally, the most incapable people find their way into this noble and honourable profession. Anyone who fails to find an opening in any other walk of life gets into this profession and recklessly plays with the destiny of the society he belongs to and the nation as well. An important reason for this is, perhaps, the poor salaries of our primary and secondary teachers in India, which are no better than that of clerks and other workers. As a result, a large number of our teachers are frustrated and disinterested to pursue their profession wholeheartedly and consequently resort to other activities not befitting to this decent profession.
In addition, the teaching profession does not enjoy due respect in our society as it used to have in earlier times. Teachers status is lower than that of doctors, engineers, advocates, civil servants – even lower than that of semi-literate and illiterate traders. It would, therefore, require a great commitment for an intelligent individual, however, fond of education and training he or she might be, to forsake the career of a doctor or an engineer in favour of teaching.
Greek philosopher Aristotle, too, believed “those who educate the children are more to be honoured than their parents because parents give them life only while teachers teach them the art of living well”.
In ancient India, education was perfect and complete because of the sacred and selfless personal relationship between the teacher and the taught which we are tremendously lacking in recent times. Today the whole educational world is surcharged with gross and violent indiscipline manifesting through the various forms of students’ unrest, political turmoil and social disorder.
To avoid this unwelcome tendency in the field of education, we must evoke heartily this high ideal of teacher-pupil relationship which prevailed in the ancient times. The pious and selfless relationship between a teacher and his pupil has always been one of the main features or contours of olden times more especially of the Indian culture.
In Indian concept, a teacher is the spiritual and intellectual father of the taught. Without the help of the teacher no education is possible. He is regarded as the “Guru”—a great friend, a philosopher and the guide. His relation with his disciple was social and spiritual. Nowhere in this world was the implication of this statement been better implemented than in ancient India. A development of the relation between the teacher or guru and the pupil was the exaltation of the teacher to such an extent of reverence that he the guru was worshipped by his pupil.
The pupil felt genuine ‘bhakti’ (devotion to the guru). In fact, the disciple was taught to worship his guru as God. Guru Gobind dou khade, kaake lagoon paay, balihari guru aapne gobind diyo batay – (Kabir) It means, Guru and God both are standing before me, whom should I bow to first? All glory be unto the guru, who unfolded for me the path of God!
It won’t be out of context here to take stock of parent-children interaction, too, dispassionately. Parents, also, owe much to reform, supervise and monitor the day to day working of their children from time to time. Leaving everything to the school and school teachers are not fair enough. Parents need to involve themselves actively to watch the daily progress of their school going, children. But unfortunately, that is not happening. Whatever time parents have at their disposal is consumed by newspapers, television and other recreations. As a result, the younger generation hardly gets an opportunity to share ideas with their elders or to enter into a meaningful discussion.
Similarly, this idea is gaining ground among enlightened parents, too, that modern education is not meant to build up better human beings, but only to get better jobs. Consequently, the students’ minds are obsessed with better jobs and dreams for higher social status. It is, therefore, the duty of the parents, too, to take an active interest in the day-to-day progress of their children both in and outside the institution and apprise them of the real meaning of education.
To keep a close vigil on the activities of their children after school hours in and out also needs to be initiated by their parents, since the tendency to lure and indoctrinate the young minds by antisocial and disruptive elements of our society has been on the rise over a long period of time.