Posted On Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 08:43:35 AM
I Know a child’s mind like the back of my hand,’ she said confidently, ‘that is why I am able to mould the child like clay into a perfect form.’ ‘Are you serious?’ I enquired trying to keep a straight face and not burst out laughing at the pomposity of her claim.
‘O yes I am. After all what is a teacher — but the Queen of a class. The Big Boss. Just imagine if children could say what they want to say…’
‘You mean express themselves?’
‘Sure,’ she bubbled excitedly. ‘They are not supposed to say what they want to say. They are supposed to keep their rosebud mouths sealed and little their eyes and ears open to receive. For what is a teacher but the giver of knowledge and the students are the receivers…’
‘Or you could compare the education system to the postal system. The parent puts the child in the letter box and addresses the envelope, and the staff of the post office simply stamp and sort the envelope and send it on its way to wherever a parent wants to send it…’ I said sarcastically and she almost levitated with excitement. ‘Oh yes, precisely, you are so eloquent,’ she gushed.
And I replied silently in my head in a coded language to block her from reading my thoughts, ‘and you are so stupid, narrow minded and full of your own self-importance. How did you ever come to be a teacher?’
‘What Pune needs are more teachers like me, disciplined, serious, and ready to do battle with students…’
‘I couldn’t agree with you more… a good Pune teacher must be ready and able to squash students out of shape,’ I interrupted her, getting carried away by the darkly humorous conversation.
She hadn’t heard me right so decided it was something she agreed with…. ‘yes, yes, absolutely.’
As the interviewer, I scored her below the line of despair so she didn’t get the job. She was the 40th candidate of our walk-in interview schedule. We never found even one suitable candidate over the next two days of interviewing.
The enthusiastic person I just mentioned is one of the numerous teachers who schools in Pune have let loose on our children…because they have qualifications, because they have experience…what on earth are teacher-training institutions doing churning out professionals who lack even the basic requirements of a stable teacher…it’s like having a combat trainer who is qualified and experienced in the art of firing an ancient slingshot being employed to teach the art of missile launching.
Finally of course, the very basic quality a teacher needs o be able to teach our children today is openness, enthusiasm and a healthy dose of self-esteem.
And that can only happen if we can have enlightened teacher training courses in our city and schools and Junior Colleges have in-built, on-going training and enrichment courses to help their teachers to keep pace with the times they live in.
Dash it, we are preparing our children for a world of challenges….do we want to end up moulding them like a potter moulds clay or dropping them in the post-box of schools for them to be stamped, processed and delivered to where we want to send them?
Recently my teacher colleagues and I went off and spent an entire day at a friend’s farm in Mulshi and enjoyed every moment of the trip. We discovered the child in each one of us….and back refreshed and happy, ready to face the challenge of a new term.
We plan to do this more often because we don’t want to end up taking ourselves so seriously. As teachers we want to keep ourselves aware of the experience of childhood and remain learners as much as we are teachers.
But then, a handful of pebbles won’t raise the level of the ocean, dropping the Himalayas in would surely make that happen.
Come on Pune, let’s lead the way.