Teachers’ Day and Teachers

On a teachers’ day, I wish every teacher in this great country to be bestowed with the strong urge to rediscover the pride and fortune of being a teacher. Salute the fraternity of teachers and thank them for their services.
Teachers’ Day symbolises Dr Radhakrishnan’s birthday and reminds us of inspirational quotes from Dr Abdul Kalam. They mark the Day with ritualistic ceremonies in schools. Children get alerts to plan Teachers’ Days with activities and presentations in the school. Digitally our social media becomes so-called ‘Viral’, and teachers get messages authored and created by the digital software tribes.
Teachers get messages like ‘Happy Teachers Day’ to mark the annual event. They relish the true feelings of tribute from some students who dwell deep in creating drawings and paintings to portray their honours to teachers. These are the happy moments!
Are teachers in India happy? I fear the realities will be glaring undercover in a nationwide survey. Teaching is no more a noble profession, unlike those days when teaching was a vocation. A vocation is when they discover the teacher in them under the guidance of an inspirational ‘Guru’ or self-efficacy.
Change is a phenomenon of nature; like so many changes, the concept of Guru and disciples now adorns a new trend of emerging corporate culture. Corporate culture has replaced institutionalised philosophy, ethnicity, and quality of education with technology and external resources. When corporate organisational culture dominates, teachers’ originality, creative engagements and insights in education recede, and structured action plans take over. Teachers over the years though not paid commensurate with the kind of service they render, a sense of insecurity of internal threats at work makes them stoically weak in spirit and low on self-esteem. Teachers have become simple operators of knowledge required to deliver a set pattern of curriculum design, assessment, structured annual plan, meet targets, and perform to merit the scorecard.
The hard reality is that despite challenges, teachers handle heterogeneous students from various community strata and work hard to meet the expectations of the management and parents. Salaries for teachers have always been a concern but what is more alarming is the health and family life of teachers who are under constant pressure to perform. Teachers have become a community of workers, stressfully reporting demanding jobs, facing embarrassing questioning, and listening to subject experts or audit teams’ pointers.
In the words of Henry Vivian Derizo, it is apt today ‘Where is the glory? Where is the reverence? The eagle pinion is chained down and growling in the lowly dust are thou! A teacher’s Day should be a day of tribute to the students and reflection among regulatory and educational bodies.
National Education Policy 2020 envisages a high stake for a stress-free, holistic changing face of education, giving high priorities to the professional growth of teachers. When will the teachers see a full-page advertisement by Governments announcing a welfare scheme for teachers and initiating regulatory actions on the dignity of teachers as nation builders and human beings?
Teachers remotely rendered yeoman during the pandemic times when learning continued online. And they are now working hard in person to regain the lost ground, recouping two years of learning loss. Aren’t the teachers also front-line warriors?
Let there be an awakening among all stakeholders to look at teachers as high potential leaders in learning. And re-orient in them the respect and status they deserve and train them culturally and pedagogically, enabling integration of principles of NEP 2020 and enhancing their potential to deliver 21st-century learning and teaching skills. Undoubtedly this would be the tribute that we should contemplate on teachers’ Day!
Dr.G. Thangadurai
Managing Trustee, TD Educational & Charitable Trust.