Merely a Teacher!

Today I was reading Sidhartha’s post. He was mourning the loss of his beloved teacher. I remembered that I had written a post on teachers too ages ago. I just wanted to repost it.
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I think a lot about this profession called teaching. Most of the present herds of teachers are in this profession, but not by choice. Imagine, if most of us are provided with choices of being an engineer, doctor, software professional, a corporate yuppie or a mere teacher, what will be our choice? You don’t have to be very creative to visualize the respect an engineer, a doctor, a software professional get from family, society, future in-laws and current and ex – would be-s and could be-s.

I had to carry out a survey among the various schoolteachers for a project. I was busy preparing the questionnaire. Suddenly I thought of this question, ” If you were given a chance to choose your profession again, what would be your choice?” I had to show the questionnaire and subsequent result to my project leader. I was secretly happy with the list of questions I had on my register. This particular question was my favorite. I was eager to see the response. And more than that how my Project leader would sum up my findings.

Ok, the due date was coming nearer. All of us behaved like schoolchildren with our project leader. If he was about to take our class, and we tried to squeeze in some drops of water down our throat in scorching heat of Rajasthan, and he entered the class a few minutes earlier, we happily forgot our thirst. Quenching thirst was not worth it. Our parched throats could wait. We ran back to the class.

Well the due date had arrived. I was armed with my findings. He started to discuss the final results. It seemed a long wait. What the heck! My name starts with A?. Why was he taking so much time? Suspense was building up inside me. For the first time I was experiencing the feeling of “butterflies in my stomach”. Finally it seemed that my name was being spoken.
He asked the whole class, “Can you figure out how many persons one would meet in his / her teaching career, if it covers a period of mere 20 years?
The class was busy finding out statistics. One
“Sir we need more data.”
“Ok if a teacher takes 5 classes everyday. And each class consists of at least 50 children?”
“Sir, 250 persons everyday!”
“In which job, you think a person comes in contact with so many impressionable minds?”
Dumb silence!
“See, a teacher really has the power to leave impression on so many young minds. Nobody, in any profession, comes across such a large number of unadulterated minds for prolong period.”

For the first time I realized, in this profession you are not dealing with products, codes, text files, documents or machines. You are not coming in contact with any damn inanimate object! You are getting the opportunity to write on a blank slate. Just imagine, how many lives you are going to deal with? You are entering in a frail world. The echo of every careless action will be heard till eternity! Tread on this path delicately.

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15 Replies to “Merely a Teacher!”

  1. “The echo of every careless action will be heard till eternity” – Exactly. It’s make or break responsibility. Every small aspect is scrutinized, every peice of behaviour is analyzed. After the parents, they are the most important persons in our lives. I believe, if only this profession could become more rewarding monetarily, “teaching” could be an unparellel profession.

  2. Agree 100%, but like any other profession this too have some wrong person in right profession or should I say misfit for this kind of noble profession.

  3. a quote
    “guru gobind dono………..
    …………………………gobind dio milaye”

    i hope u might have read this
    this shows the importance of teacher in our society and the reason why brahmins were given the highest pedestal in society is because they were teachers by choice w/o any selfish interests
    i feel u dont have to necessarily take teaching as a profession to be a teacher
    u can do it in any rofession u r becoz u interact with ppl throughout ur life
    i always feel the instinct inside me to interact with ppl younger to me so that i can show them way
    even tried for short while being jee faculty but had to give it up due to immense pressure from all elders
    but still i know i wud be a teacher all my life becoz of constant urge inside me to make ppl aware of truth as seen from my eyes
    even in my life the faith one of my teachers had shown on me is partly responsible in making me wht i am

  4. Hi,Alka…u are soo right…teaching is really one noble profession where the teacher is working on a blank slate, especially during school days.And,the better the chalk at that stage,the better the handwriting,metaphorically speaking,I feel.:)

  5. ” you think a person comes in contact with so many impressionable minds? ” – is an eye opener to me …….

  6. nice post .. as usual for you .. but it’s a pity that even with such lucrative incentives as “getting the opportunity to write on a blank slate” .. people still prefer to be doctors and engineers. The reason behind that could be the money factor, other than the fact that it is one job, which has been portrayed by many ( cinema especially ) as a boring or TOOO idealistic a career option. No wonder we are short of teachers in most rural schools in India.

  7. sahi kaha.
    n i wish the teachers of today wud realize it too.
    some of them really screw up the kids ( for that matter even in the proffessional colleges ) .*sigh*

  8. Thanks for that article from one who has been a teacher by choice for 27 years now, Alka, and best wishes to Alex, who wants to become one. But Alex, especially, be warned:
    1) In todays’ milieu, you will have to earn respect the hard way, and that too will be partial (the kids may respect you while the parents may not!), and mixed with a lot of opprobrium and ridicule;
    2) You are not very likely to make the kind of money that your talent and your labour deserves – society expects teachers to be poor or at best middle class, while it’s all right for cricketers, filmstars, surgeons and lawyers to be rich;
    3) To make things worse, your friends and relatives will call you a fool for having chosen such a ‘bad’ career, so nothing can sustain you except your own convictions and ideals;
    4) Most heartrending of all, most of your students will never understand just what you did for them, or will forget quickly, or will take ages to realise and get back to say ‘thank you’!
    5) If you want to get rich, you will have to turn your tutorial into a sausage factory, so that all the heart and most of the mind will go out of education, and you will end up selling cram-sheets to allow vast numbers of mediocrities to get through this examination or the other.

    Naturally, there are few takers for the career: it’s only the rejects from all other professions who fill up 90% of the posts. What that augurs for any nation’s future is the thought that gives me sleepless nights.

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