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Teachers: the good, the bad, the ugly!

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‘We actually don't need special schools but sensitive teachers’

By: Najamu Saqib

Indian education system and the trainings that is more like a pressure cooker situation for students and trainees demands students to blindly respect their teacher’s opinions and wisdom no matter they may themselves have a very egoistic and limited world view. This, many times, is the reason that students kill their dreams and aspirations and embark on professions which are not of their liking.

Schools and colleges here train students to fit in, to join the rat race, and to dream with their limited understanding. They’re trained to get marks and jobs not education and exposure.

I turned out alright because my parents are very accommodative and understanding, but most parents carry on their conscience a strange and invisible fear of the future for their children that are instilled by the society and socio-economic scenarios. Students need space to grow and exposure to resources, our education system deprives them of it.

The whole idea of listening to your elders and teachers is flawed as long as young students are told to shun their eyes and ears and erase their understanding and passions. They’re human beings who operate from their current life state which could be anything. They have problems of their own. And to top it the ego often comes out as anger on students, they don’t deserve it.

I was unfortunate that all the teachers were so awful to me- I still think what I had done to face that? Whenever a teacher asked a question to me I never mustered courage to answered because of the fear instilled in me institutionally and structurally. A teacher always entered the class with a long stick in his hand and the class was ready to bear the consequences with physical torture, understandably most didn’t raise hands- who would want to offend a teacher of that sort!

Our education system needs reforms- it needs sensitivity training for teachers. You are working with children and you can scare them for life with a momentary lapse in your judgment and behavior. It is the teacher that makes the difference not the classroom. I hated school, no one should hate school. It’s the most impactful time of your life.

I have many nightmarish stories from school, stories about things that were done to me, stories about things that were done to others. I know you all have them too, how unfortunate is that? Adults outing their insecurities on children, there’s nothing worse that that.

A child in India is expected to follow everyone, expected to seek approval from everyone including parents, grandparents, extended family, siblings, teachers etc. it’s never ending and terribly exhausting. No child should have to go through this, as they’re born to live not follow.

And I am not even starting about the rampant abuse and violence which is so normalized in our society. How are these monsters given charge of shaping futures, shouldn’t there be some protocols that filters incompetent people like that. I spent 12 years in school and 6 years in college. Numerous people took classes for me (not even going to call them teachers). I can count teachers who were nice to everyone by teaching respectfully. Everyone else just came to dump their venom on harmless kids to fuel their ego.

Always remember, such teachers took their insecurities out on students because they were weak, they tried to limit you because they had limited world view and were trapped in it. You- my friend- were born to fly. I hope you all overcome the trauma and someday we may laugh about it.

What is it that a teacher can’t teach in the classroom and subsequently asks you to join their tuitions? Isn’t it extortion and abuse of power? Parents are made to feel helpless and irresponsible if they don’t give in and follow the trends. Even winter vacations are hijacked.

All subjects were my favourite. I was scoring well while my teacher was the person who made us to kneel and beat us on our palms and back with a stick. My parents informed the school authority immediately about it but the trauma remained forever and I never enjoyed any subject any further.

I have forgiven all of them for what they did to me, their hatred is not my burden to carry, but I will never forgive people who still enable it or ignore it right under their noses. You have the entire information in the world at your disposal, if you still can’t see how it affects a child, you don’t deserve to be wither a parent or a guardian. Repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality. The child is trapped in an abusive environment.

And those who defend such exploiters in the name of discipline and glorify them every year on teachers day, let me tell you one thing- discipline comes from habit, not fear. A well rested and a healthy mind forms habits and trauma forms unhealthy patterns. Unlearn and do better.

The rampant mental, verbal and physical abuse deprives students of their dignity, they grow up believing that they deserve abuse, always walking on egg shells, over extending themselves to please people. Mundane seems acceptable and opportunities scare them, all because of the trauma.

Many of our teachers didn’t know the art of teaching and were very toxic. One of my teacher made my two classmates to strip and take off their pent & shirt and beat them black and blue just because they didn’t come with their homework that day. Such things infused inferiority complex in me, which sadly I’m unable to come out of and I always tried to skip my routine school turn. I could never participate in seminars either in school or outside.

In class 9, I was slapped, beaten and dragged ruthlessly and abused like a villain by my science teacher in front of everyone nearly for an hour. The reason was that I had participated two times in school games in the same day. Worse thing was that if I say something at home I’d be blamed. He was evil and I was never the same with him again. It triggered health issues such as Fear and Depression which I am carrying with me till date.

Remember that the current system of schools was created in 19th century during industrial revolution. Idea of blindly respecting your teacher is also a patriarchal idea of an old tradition. In 21st century world with web3, Al robotics Etc this system is extraordinary rotten and obsolete.

The bottom line is that “we actually don’t need a special school but sensitive teachers with the right understanding.

The writer has Masters in history. [email protected]

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