Alexander the Great once said: “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.” This is a simple but all-embracing tribute to a teacher by someone who shook the world.
Alexander the Great once said: “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.” This is a simple but all-embracing tribute to a teacher by someone who shook the world. Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. The world is indebted to the teacher who transmits knowledge from one generation to the other.
The destiny of India is being shaped in the classroom, said the Kothari Commission. Thus, more so in a knowledge-intensive economy, the teacher shapes the destiny of the nation. The educational landscape is changing fast, imposing new demands on teaching profession. The relationship between the teacher and the student and the teacher and the society is getting redefined much to the concern and consternation of a conscientious teacher.
The time has come for introspection among teachers, too, to reinvent them to rise up to the challenges of transforming societies. The sphere of knowledge is expanding at an exponential momentum. The teacher should therefore be an eternal learner, much to learn even from his or her own students. Interaction with fresh minds is in itself a teaching for the teachers.
A teacher who loves learning earns the right and the ability to help others learn. As Aristotle said, “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.” The current pedagogical practices should undergo transformation. Albert Einstein has rightly remarked, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
The great teachers fill you up with hope and shower you with a thousand reasons to embrace all aspects of life. Amartya Sen, when asked to differentiate between his economics and mainstream economics, said that the latter deals with the success stories of most successful people but his economics deals with those who could not fare well. There is a lesson for every teacher here.
Children do not possess uniform skills of learning. The classroom consists of even late achievers. Teacher should be compassionate to toil little more to facilitate such children to learn. As Robert Frost said, “There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can't move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind, and you jump to the skies.”
The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts said C S Lewis. The theory is that which emerges out of practice and enriches the practice. Effective teacher should grasp this dialectical relationship between theory and practice. The teacher should disprove what George Bernard Shaw said in a satirical manner – those who can do it do it; those who cannot do it teach it. The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.
Much has been said about a great teacher. William A Ward said, “The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires.” This simple statement should inspire every teacher to reinvent oneself. A teacher should inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.