Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheshwaraha Gurur Saakshat Para Brahma Tasmai Sree Guruve Namaha (The meaning of this sloka — the teacher is Brahma, the creator, he is God Vishnu, he is God Maheshwar. He is the entire universe, salutations to him.)
September 5 — Teacher’s Day. Well! Who is not aware of this momentous day? It is on this day that every student remembers his or her teachers who made their lives much more knowledgeable and fulfilling.
The most renowned teachers in India included Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Rabindranath Tagore, Savitribai Phule, Mother Teresa and of course our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Although most teachers especially in the rural segments of the country are less paid and hardly see any career advancements, they feel rewarded when commended and remembered by the society.
Many enter this profession because they are completely involved, love to be with children and teach them to be responsible citizens.
In the olden days, the Brahmin community held the highest place in the society and were well-versed in imparting education to the children. But now, there is no such caste barriers for entry into this noble profession.
Amongst all professions, the teacher has a stellar role to play in the society. They play an extraordinary role in moulding the lives of children in the formative years of their development. The importance of teachers is something that cannot be underestimated. Their influence can and will stretch on long even after the child grows up. They shape the minds of the younger and future generation to become the pillars of the society.
In many ways, there will be times where a child spends almost seven to eight hours a day with a teacher in the lower grades. Needless to say, teachers become a third parent to the child. Teachers are mediators, a friend, guide, a philosopher and what not.
The Head Mistress of Cordial High School, Vijayanagar, Vijayalakshmi says, “When I found out that there was a vacancy here, I applied for a job. Initially, I did not like this profession but now after completing 25 years, I realised that it is the best decision I ever made. Earlier I used to handle primary classes, the love and affection of the children has inspired me to continue here.”
When asked how she deals with below average students, she said “We should never be harsh with children. We always encourage, take utmost care and give them extra coaching classes. We should never underestimate any student.”
Voicing a similar opinion, H S Jayashree, a retired school teacher of Bharatiya Samskriti Vidyapith, said, “My passion in childhood days was to become a teacher. I was inspired by my teachers. I joined as a teacher, retired as a teacher after completing 33 years in service. The attachment and interaction with the students was the most memorable part of my life. To become a teacher, first of all we should be a role model with all good qualities. Though retired, even today I help children to prepare for debates and essay competitions. I get many calls on Teachers’ Day and I am happy they remember me even today.”
So, does she treat her students any different? “I never differentiate between students, whether clever or dull, rich or poor, good or bad. I used to call them personally and interact with them during my free periods, and also helped them in understanding difficult lessons.
Apart from the curriculum, I also advised them to read a lot of books to enhance their general knowledge and made them realise the importance of education in life.”
Surekha Manohar, a teacher in a private school said, “Since college days, I dreamt of becoming a school teacher. I have been a teacher for 20 years. First of all we should love children which is the foremost prerequisite for this profession. I love teaching as it gives me the opportunity to interact with young minds throughout the day. We should be mentally and physically agile, forget all our problems as we enter our classrooms. Now, teachers have become more friendly and they also help students study and learn. We should never feel bad when below average students ask their doubts more than two or three times and encourage them.”