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A Tale of Teaching Re-Told

By Manzoor Ahmad Malik

Children are like seeds, which need a congenial atmosphere, fertile place and a skilful Gardener to germinate into a fruitful tree. Among the three, it’s the teacher, who acts as a wise Gardner, and influences the future of a child. The development of this apprenticeship, however, isn’t like a piece of cake. For, the teachers, must be, first given the fair space. Prestige of teachers, thus, needs to be built in the form of that congenial atmosphere. If administration of a state fails in doing that— affluence would be just dreamt-off.
The great Greek philosopher, Aristotle says— ones who educate children well are to be honoured than, who produce them; for, later gives them just a life, and former, the art of living. Those are the teachers— the spiritual parents, who expose juveniles to the life opportunities. Inspire them to discover their vocation, motivate and guide them along the way. Not only this, but, instil the capacity of differentiation and integration in children and what not.
‘A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops’, says Henry Brooks Adams. This simplifies a dictum that teachers are invested in students’ lives’ and community. Time passes, the innocent soul gains maturity, and it’s again his teacher— who manoeuvres his critical thinking, helps him to navigate thru.
My concern then is, ‘Why our state is inexplicably lacking such nurturing’? The answer is simple. The mottled framework related to the systematisation of this institution.
The appointed teachers, at primary level, are given the poor level of salary of meagre rupees 1500 a month. That too for a period of five years. Which is clearly a sheer violation of ‘Right to dignified life and liberty’. Yes. A gaffe— that withers the prolific youth to seek any other opportunity. So there remain those-only, who’re either forced by poverty or retain it, because they have exhausted all other options.
As Khalil Gibran quotes, “The teacher who is indeed wise doesn’t bid his students to enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads them to threshold of their minds.” Thus, teachers must be very skilful, intelligent and innovative, suggests this quote. Their psychology should be very strong. That, their heart and emotions should line one.
Owing to the pressure of unemployment, people though, tend to take this job. But, they too feel humiliated- when in the same school, they’re ridiculed and discriminated on salary and promotion. Their creative aptitude freezes. Enthusiasm shakes off. And, suffer backdrops.
Again, it becomes incumbent upon the authorities to nurture the nurturer. So that their psychology remains intact. They won’t fell prey to any untoward expositions.
Complaints are done for redressal. When redressal isn’t prompt, grudge becomes a union. With the passage of time, it takes the shape of a chronic disorder, which endures the failure of authority. Here, in our state, we see- teachers are railing for their rights. Why? State needs to answer before it may become an enduring catastrophe.
They say, ‘teacher creates the good citizens’. But, they never say, in which society. Is it a society, where teachers are next to a parent, or, it’s a society— where teachers feel insecure? If it’s the society, where teachers are lathi-charged for raising their rights, and are pushed to come on streets, then I think, it should rather infamy the stake holders.
Adding to this infamy, being an SSA teacher, I’m reminded of the difficulties I faced. First, in searching of a place for school building. Second, the dreadful state of affairs.
In the year 2009, as part of the Re-T scheme, a primary School had to be opened for the educationally and economically two backward communities Viz, Chopans and Tilwanis, in Village Qusba Khull, D. H. Pora. Lagging behind, they either would least educate their wards, or would’ve to send them the downhill schools, which are little far. Thereby, get deprived of ‘Right to education’ fundamental in nature.
I, along another candidate, both having graduation and B. ed., from Kashmir University, were appointed under appropriate procedure. No sooner than later, we enrolled more than half a hundred children, we felt a need for separate accommodation. A proper school building. Having no other option left, a patch of state land was sanctioned. However, painful to say, the unauthorised keepers of this land didn’t find it interesting, and started bringing the hurdles. The ugliness, didn’t stop here, for, it came upon the individuality of teachers.
Taking the matter seriously, though, local administration tried to intervene. Yet, the vicious and politically hostile force-majeure prevalent didn’t allow them to. Consequently, the school, meant for one or two communities, was clubbed with the middle school, downhill— not within the range of poor buds. Effecting upon, the school’s thriving tempo came down heavily. Leaving us with a hollow infrastructure, those children left on one pretext or other. So… Civil society, do riposte me— when such genre of glitches take cover, where would you find the interest and quality. Moreover, for whom?
We say, we don’t have good teachers. Alright. Let me tell. They don’t emerge out of nowhere. Societies make them. Government(s) take their care and utilize them. A teacher is supposed to burn his blood to enlighten his students. But, who’s to take care of the darkness created at his home, due to the fallacy of authorities? Nothing, but elementary education is like a lifeline for anyone. When that’s relegated, either by snatching the school land, or by denying the reasonable salary to a teacher – the greatness will definitely be out of the order for one and all.
To come out of the mess, policy makers, at broader level, need to design the result orienting mechanism. That won’t allow the frequent change of policy makers. Who succeeding, one after another does nothing but, intensify the death of system. So this colonialism has to be given away. The removal of scheme system and discrimination needs immediate dump. Only then— quality teaching and education can see a new dawn. And, tales of great teachers be re-told, re-lived.
(Manzoor Ahmad Malik is a SSA Teacher. Feedback, [email protected])