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Igniting minds

Teachers do much more than take kids through lessons. They can be a life-long influence, reports Shubhodeep Chakravarty.

education Updated: Oct 01, 2009 09:58 IST
Shubhodeep Chakravarty

She has been teaching for over 20 years, but even now each day brings its own share of ups and downs for Ivy Chakravarty.

A primary teacher in a reputable public school in south Delhi, her job is as challenging as it is rewarding. “To teach a relatively large crowd of seven-year-old children is no easy task,” she says. “The early school years are when children are the most impressionable, and this adds to our moral responsibility.”

One of the most noble professions since ancient times, teaching has undergone a sea change. Its essence, however, is the same — to help children become well-rounded individuals ready to face the world. “Teaching may have become a monetary activity today; we do look forward to our paycheques at the end of the month. But it is also about our day-to-day work – how to be creative within the curriculum, learn from feedback and be sensitive to the several facets of young children,” adds Chakravarty.

A teacher has to be inventive with methods of imparting knowledge, as the curriculum seldom changes but new teaching techniques are devised constantly. In other words, the same lessons can be delivered in better ways, and good teachers keep themselves updated on these better ways and use them effectively in the classrooms.

“Learning is a process and teachers are facilitators in such a process,” says Gaurav Monga, who teaches literature in Vasant Valley School. The 28-year-old believes that an aspiring teacher must be willing to have a clear and open mind to avoid stagnation.

“Although in many courses across boards, the syllabus may curb creativity, one should never lose the willingness to contribute to the process (of nurturing young minds),” he adds.

That is also the opinion of Radhika Kapoor, who did an MPhil in child psychology six years ago and now teaches in Strawberry Fields World School, Chandigarh. “The stress-free environment this career promises ensures a natural ambience for creativity among teachers,” she says, stating that her job may still not be very lucrative but is certainly gratifying.

Teaching is now more enjoyable because it is no longer restricted to the classroom. More and more schools are encouraging educational trips, class vacations, adventure expeditions and workshops aimed at cultivating a child’s faculties. The teacher is gradually changing garb from an instructor to a guiding mentor.

Teaching is the fine art of shaping young minds and honing skills, not to be confused with training. Teaching involves a much greater level of involvement and interaction. Getting through the syllabus is only a part of a teacher’s job. S/he is expected to equip students with the power of making independent decisions and to instill in them certain virtues. The new-age teacher does not impose rigid rules on students; rather, s/he facilitates the process of learning, and through it, the process of living

8 am: Check attendance and proceed to the field for morning prayers with the students
8.30 am: Check homework and start revising the lectures of the previous day
9.15 am: Pick a light topic and explain elementary details
10 am: Move gradually onto a tougher topic. Make it interactive and try out new approaches
10.45 am: Time for the sports break to enable the students to get some exercise
11.30 pm: Lunch
Noon: Start craft and other creative activities
12.45 pm: Assess the students’ work
1.30 pm: Set down home work
2 pm: See off students in their private vehicles/school buses and end the day

Entry level: Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 per month
Mid level: Above Rs 20,000 per month
These figures are after the Sixth Pay Commission hikes. Salary may vary according to grade and school

A high level of patience and perseverance
. Ability to build relationship
. Ability to provide a comfortable environment
. Eagerness to keep learning
. Clear thought process and communication skills
. Effort to constantly ‘reach to teach’

How do i get there?
A student with a Bachelors degree in education (BEd) can start as a primary school teacher. A degree in home science also makes you eligible. A graduation score of 55 per cent is a prerequisite. A BEd may be followed up with an MEd. A Basic Training Certificate (BTC), Diploma in Education (DEd) and Teacher Training Certificate (TTC) are courses that can help you land a teaching job as well

Institutes & urls
District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET) in Delhi and around the country offer diplomas
. University of Mumbai offers a Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education
. IGNOU has a Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education
. DU has BEd and MEd courses
. Jamia Millia Islamia offers degrees in specialisations like special education, nursery education and art education
. Several teacher’s training institutes offer courses

Pros & Cons
Secure work environment
. Comparative lack of workplace politics
. Chances of career stagnation
. Learning by rote can affect creativity
. Relatively low pay and few incentives