Where is the Life we have lost in living?/Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?/Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?—T S Eliot.
These oft-quoted lines are perhaps a poignant reflection of the disenchantment in contemporary learning. Odes have been written to the teacher in the past and continue to be composed even now when we have an entire generation asking for a "facilitator” to replace the good old, harried teacher! Teaching never was a lucrative profession, much less an envied one, for only the ones who did not qualify any of the competitive examinations frustratingly took up this "vexed” career for want of anything else to do!
Ask any of the youngsters and their doting parents these days and they would nod their head in sagacious agreement.
A terribly sad state of affairs this is, which merits serious consideration. Could we teachers hold a "looking glass” to ourselves and ask if there is even an iota of truth in what the 21st century teen despairs at? How many teachers teach from the heart? How many in the profession actually prepare lessons for the next day and how many dream the night away lost in the myriad ways in which the most boring chapters could be brought to life, making an indelible impression on the young mind? How many teachers are committed enough to understand that there is an absolute paucity of people who read to GROW in this tech-savvy world and if students had a well-informed teacher, she could influence an entire generation to look at the world through her eyes?
An awe-inspiring teacher would thus command respect and love from the student body. Matters of indiscipline and ambiguity in lessons would not consume time and space at PTA/staff meetings with the right choice of teachers in schools.
Travel is a wonderful educator and affords the best exposure. The frog-in-the-well attitude does not bode well for the teaching profession because students are always looking for that "something extra”. The need for class control cannot be underscored, for, unless the class is attentive, how does a child understand? It is also important to keep communication lines open at all times, vis-a-vis teacher-student-parent, for the child is constantly emulating the guardians in school and school mates and teachers at home. Often, behind a problem child is an indifferent teacher or lack-lustre parenting. These days, education boards make a big fuss about Value-based Teaching. Expert guidelines are sent to all schools and workshops held to orient the teaching fraternity on how to "teach” values! It is indeed lamentable that in a country like ours with a culture dating back to antiquity, our gurus have to be taught to identify a value in what they teach!
Teachers on their part are faced with new generation challenges — educated double income parents, changing lifestyles, social networking sites, fashion preferences and new fads in education which have caught the fancy of the nouveau rich who vie with each other to admit their precocious child in one or the other trendsetting school. Knowledge is relegated to the background, CCE firmly ensconced in classrooms but somewhere, somehow in the maze of activities in the virtual classroom, learning is lost!