Significance of observing Teachers’ Day The one who teaches

Happy Teachers’ Day and the very term ‘teacher’ should take one to the understanding that the job of a teacher extends far beyond what is taught within the four walls of a classroom and perhaps this is where there is the need to have a better understanding of the term ‘Teacher’. This is where it becomes important to understand that teacher should not only be understood within the context of a student and someone who teaches what is in the text book, but also about the influence that one can have on the life of an individual. In a sense all can be teachers of life and there should be no greater calling than this. To come back to the context of understanding teacher in the formal sense of the profession of teaching in a school or a college or at the university, here it is significant to note that even as the whole country celebrated or observed September 5 as Teachers’ Day to pay respect to India’s second President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Manipur witnessed students rising in protest against what they say is acute shortage of teachers. In this very column, The Sangai Express had also questioned about the condition of schools located in the hill districts of the State and on the day that the Nation celebrated Teachers’ Day, came the news that Paoyi Government High School is reeling under acute shortage of teachers. Situation is such that students from Class I to Class VI are clubbed or combined into one class and manned by one single teacher as the said school just does not have the required number of teachers to spread over different classes ! Rationalisation of teachers posting is underway is one explanation that has been given by no one less than the Education Minister himself and while one hopes that issues or matters like shortage of teachers is taken care of as soon as possible, there is the need to cast the net wider and see what else may be done to ensure that students at Government schools get to at least experience what education is all about. This is one way to make Teachers’ Day all that more meaningful. Starve the students of teachers and observe the day in honour of teachers cannot go together by any stretch of the imagination and perhaps September 5 is the best day to seriously ruminate over this.
This is also perhaps the time for all teachers to understand and seriously and honestly question themselves whether they are setting the right examples for the young students to emulate. Why is it that so many students, all under the garb of one organisation or the other, are so prone to take to the streets while their place should ideally be within the classrooms ? Granted, the failure of the Government could be one big reason, but why can’t the teachers guide them along the right way in such a way that they do not come under the impression that it is within their right to air their grievances any way they like ? And this is something which Manipur has witnessed and experienced over the years-ranging from hartals to sit-in protests to even cutting off the lifelines of the State. This is where the understanding of ‘beyond the classrooms’ becomes important. It also stands that in as much as the role of teachers should be acknowledged, it is also important for students to reciprocate likewise. Observing Teachers’ Day on a particular day every year and forgetting what they have taught once outside will amount to defeating the very purpose of setting aside a day for the teachers. Moulders of young minds and this cannot be a one way traffic. Important that the recipient too responds positively and the recipient here should be understood as the student. Let the Government also acknowledge the role of teachers and perhaps the first step here should be to respect the profession of teaching and let no neta throw their weight around while inspecting the place of learning. A thought that has just come to the mind of The Sangai Express.  Happy and meaningful Teachers’ Day to all.