Teachers have to reinvent themselves if they want to make any impact on their students, feel young teachers in the Capital.
In his letter to all teachers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged them to encourage students to think critically. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Shruti Kaushik (name changed), 23, who became a teacher at a school in Delhi after finishing college, entered the profession because she wanted to change society for the better.
“I was always passionate about sharing knowledge. It makes me happy. Children give so much unconditional love once they start trusting you. I feel teaching should not be seen as a profession but a mission,” says the history teacher, who is expecting to receive lots of cards from her students on her second Teachers’ Day.
Kaushik says she has tried to keep her classroom sessions exciting by using technology and techniques like story-telling and admits that coming from the internet generation has helped her engage better with students, something senior teachers often envy.
Like her, Sahiba Sehgal, who started teaching recently at ASN Senior Secondary School at Mayur Vihar, is looking forward to Friday.
“Since joining the school, I have been looking forward to Teachers’ Day and congratulatory messages from students,” says Sehgal. “Stepping into a teacher’s shoes has given me a sense of responsibility as well as a greater sense of admiration for the effort teachers put in their students. It will be a new experience to see the day from the eyes of a teacher.”
However, it is not all smooth going for these teachers. Government records say India is short of nearly 10 lakh teachers and it is this bridge young teachers like Kaushik and Sehgal are trying to gap. But, with changing education structure and students’ attitude, they face new challenges everyday.
“With continuous and comprehensive evaluation in place, we have to do more clerical than academic work,” says Kaushik. “We have to make records of students’ performances, fill in marks, and operate the online system as we are juniors. Instead, we can use all that time to increase our subject knowledge.” She adds that schools often don’t pay them according to the scale set by the government.
Another problem, young teachers say, is the attitude of students, which has undergone a sea-change from the time they were in school. They can’t adopt the teaching methods their teachers did; for them, reinventing is imperative.
“I feel the respect for teachers has gone down in the past few years,” said Anju Sharma, a teacher in an east Delhi school. “A lot of children think they can now learn from the internet and don’t need teachers. It is a challenge for all teachers to reinvent themselves and become more than someone who just give information to students.”