Sunday, June 20, 2010

Most wanted - Teachers

A new session begins. Teachers and students embark on new missions. Each year the challenges of the mission increases, the number of students increase but the number of teachers is not proportionately increasing.

Where are teachers? Society is not manufacturing teachers anymore. Everybody is becoming an engineer or a doctor or a business analyst. Nobody has the inclination to take teaching as a serious profession.

Teachers the noble people !!!

Teaching is the noblest profession! Obviously teachers have to be the most noble people, at least genuine people! So the teachers are expected to be noble, knowledgeable and caring people.

Certainly a lot of burden on this profession to fulfill the expectations of this loaded statement. I wonder why we don’t say the same thing about engineers or contractors or collectors!

Only teaching profession has a lot of responsibilities like inculcating values, developing knowledge and empowering the young people ! To do this onerous task who are the people getting into teaching in schools?

Who are these noble people????

In all the teachers of our country there may not be more than 15% of them who have taken up teaching as their first choice.

Some take up teaching profession because they need to share the financial burden of the household.
In this lot, we get good teachers and bad teachers too!
Good because they enjoy their profession more than the pay packet they get.
Bad, because pay packet is more important than their role as teachers.
Rest of them are either housewives who are relatively free during the daytime or people from rural areas and towns who take up BEd because it is one of the routes to get a government job. Housewives who take up teaching may enroll into part time, distance mode or external BEd to get a degree.
There is a new breed of teachers- Engineers, MBAs, MCAs and MS whose role as mothers restrain them to work long hours in a corporate job. Of course recession also has some role to play in this.
However there is one set of women who have successful personal lives and feel the need to make themselves useful to the society. Considerable contribution comes from this lot in terms of passionate teaching and commitment.
The 15% who take up teaching as a career are cosily tucked in a few elite schools! What about the rest of the schools across the country?

How do they manage?
The new generation parents join the children in schools expecting to see dynamic teachers who are qualified, experienced, tech savvy with great PR skills and in short- super teachers !

So what are schools to do? Train the housewives? Or groom the rural and small town people with B Ed degrees ? This results in teaching gaps because the social and economic context of the student is different from that of the teachers.

Who wants to be a teacher????

In the last 20 years that I have been actively working in the teaching field, I am yet to see any parent aspiring to make their child into a teacher – the same is the case with students too.
Except for .1% of them, rest of them have taken up careers other than teaching. Teachers may be role models to many students but that influence does not result in young people taking up teaching profession.

My child …a teacher???

Perhaps parents don’t encourage their children to take up teaching career as it is not very highly paying job. Young people don’t take it up because none of their adults have shown the value of it or nobody depicted it as a challenging course. May be the teachers also need to highlight the importance of this profession instead of encouraging everyone to take up the only lucrative lines.

What we are not seeing !!!!

What the parents and young people need to see is the exponential growth of teaching career across the world. In the last 4 years that I have been associated with international education I interacted with many educators from different countries.

When I met these professionals, I realized the kind of professionalism and prospects involved in teaching career. Most of them have travelled to at least 4 countries within the first 6 years of their teaching careers.
They work in international schools, conduct training sessions, attend seminars, members of research projects and they are globe trotters !

We in India will take some more time to regard teaching as a highly technical profession with numerous opportunities. Our course curriculum in Indian BEd needs to be revamped to suit the needs of a 2010 classroom.

Not just MS.. B Ed or D Ed M Ed also can be done in US or…

Instead of sending young people to US only to do MS, we should encourage them to take up courses in education and gain qualifications in teaching. The curriculum for BEd courses in US, UK and Australia is highly contemporary and suitable to the needs of coming generations.

At a time when international schools are seeking qualified teachers, and International Organizations and MNCs are taking up training the teachers of the underprivileged in a large scale, the employability potential is very high.

Needless to say that placements for teachers with such qualifications will also be very attractive.

Imagine all engineers coming back and teaching A B C D with tools !!!
The world does not need engineers alone, it needs teachers too ! Imagine if no one takes up teaching as a profession now, we will have chaos in classrooms resulting in the destruction of society.

In Australia there is a shortage of carpenters because everyone is choosing high end careers. The result is that the government announced high remuneration for carpenters and today a carpenter earns more than an engineer there !

Even if we have to believe in the idea that all engineers will develop such technology where we can make do with virtual classrooms, we still need teachers to develop the learning material for that software.

People…take up teaching for heaven’s sake !!!!

More than any other profession this line needs, sensible and balanced people with humanistic approach and cross domain knowledge.

I hope that all those graduates in different fields who are waiting for some seismic shift in corporate employability will take up courses in teaching and get into classrooms.

I also hope that young people in colleges will explore more about the teacher training courses in foreign universities !
I sincerely hope that all those parents who are pledging their houses in banks to send their children to far off shores for MS, will do the same for teacher training !
Sustainability of values and society can be achieved only through education. And if we do not have educators, I guess the very fabric of the society is in danger. I encourage young people to take up teaching profession and leave your own signature footprints on this planet.

On the flipside

making the best out of their last choice

Teaching career is the last choice for the young, helpless choice for some people, and no choice for schools except for recruiting these people and making best out of their last choices.

The dinosaurs

Even if we recruit teachers with BEd degrees, the curriculum which gave them that degree is so outdated that they can actually teach in a 1970 classroom, certainly not a 2010 classroom.

Curriculum and content in teachers’ training and students’ learning- both need an immediate uplift failing which we will keep churning our mediocre minds who thrive on rote memory.

What Obama doesn’t know…

Obama is getting worried that too many jobs are being outsourced to India and that too many Indians are hijacking the jobs in US.
He implored his educational planners to revamp their education system to make Americans mug up math and science so that the jobs stay with them and do not cross the American shores.

Poor man, he only sees the numbers not the quality !

What he probably did not see is that the quality of American curriculum is actually so high that only those Americans who have the mettle and genius reach the university levels. The percentage of people may be small but the performance of those is relatively high.

Whereas we in India, have large number of people graduating from every nook and corner because our curriculum does not focus on concepts !

Therefore mugging up and rote memory are the routes to getting degrees but not knowledge. Owing to this large number of Indians are enabled with suitable degrees to take up lower, middle and upper middle level jobs in the industry.

Because of our large numbers it appears like Indians are everywhere.

If the Indian curriculum is revamped and reoriented towards concepts,
I suppose Obama has a great reason to worry then !

Until then he need not worry that Indians are the hijackers. He can be rest assured that we are only taking up the lower and middle level jobs and all the reins are actually in the hands of his own people!

Who will bell the cat ????

Revamping and reorienting the Indian curriculum..who will bell the cat? Honorable HRD Minister Kapil Sibal or NCERT or NCF or who ?

I don’t expect teachers or school managements asking for it because they are too busy running a system prepared by somebody.

Teachers’ concerns are limited to completing the syllabus than questioning its veracity and the Managements’ concerns are limited to making school commercially viable !

And certainly not those student unions who have no clue about what is education ! with their intellectual abilities , they can at best call for Bandhs or separate states- a new curriculum or content is beyond their intellectual imagination.

Parents ??? They do not have time to think so deeply about it because they are busy looking at advertisements of schools that get best results. For them education is only a quantification tool- marks !

Students? I wonder how many students have time to think about the need to learn Magnetism or French revolution, because they are too busy mastering lesson 1 2 3 4 5 6 etc., etc., many times they don’t even know the names of the topics they are learning..they can recognize them only by the number of that lesson in the textbook ! Their ignorance is bliss for all concerned !

Guess I have to make do with what little I can within the realms of my school and feel satisfied that at least I am causing a drop in the ocean.


Aniruddha said...

A very good, thoughtful article.

We appreciate the efforts taken to write a nice blog on a very very important issue for all of us in the society.

Society i.e you, me, we and all of us together. (The students, parents, teachers and all others).

So we all are responsible and need to accept and fulfil our responsibility.

If there are no good teachers then we all are responsible.

When a person takes admission to a donation based BEd college to rwtain his/her job as a teacher since this is a minimal qualification and earns the degree by his presentee and fees only to retain or get a job what he will do after going back?

In many cases he may start working as a labour. Do what is told.
Do not think what I am doing Why I have to do it or What will happen if I make a mistake Or How I can do my job better or When my students will be more better civvilians etc.

The same is reflectwed in his attitude towards the job the "bell and bill attitude".

Very correctly you have pointed out how many of us (parents)wish our child to be a teacher? Very few.

But still tehere are people who love this profession and work hard for it as a you have said,"However there is one set of women/men who have successful personal lives and feel the need to make themselves useful to the society. Considerable contribution comes from this lot in terms of passionate teaching and commitment."

Yes this is true.

In Mumbai in many areas the study circles are run for under privillaged students or nightschools are there. The teachers are mostly from the earlier batches seniors or enthusiasts who are ready to travel that extra mile to make few students understand better or the social workers. Very few persons from the successful or wealthy families teach there. No salaries are there. Long back I used to teach at Chinchpokali study circle.

Very nicely you have connected the issue and provided the balanced platform for thinking.

Madam, you are doing the very important and brave work.

We all are there to support you.


Gurava Reddy said...

Dear Teacher,
Thought provoking article.
I accept with every point of what you said.

However, it is also the schools, who should give opportunities for young minds to teach and share their knowledge. I am unsure, how this need to happen. I know, lot of my friends with very good backgrounds would like to teach in schools, however they are unable to. I feel somehow there is a gap in terms of pro-activeness from both the parties.

I recently spoke to one college principal in Chitoor and told about three of my friends (Engineering from NIT Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics and MBA from IIT, SP Jain and Great Lakes) and asked him to provide an opportunity to teach.

He outrightly rejected saying, they have enough good faculty. I dont know on what basis he said so. When i went through the website, the faculty is from normal colleges with 3-5 yrs experience and less than 15 member staff.

Teachers, i feel need to be nurtured. Providing an opportunity to taste it may help the young generation to consider teaching as profession with passion. I know, my friends who want to come back to teaching after few years.

Eswar Maruri said...

Dear Seetha Murthy garu,

I am sorry for this long thing.

In fact, Its not just about the teaching. It is also about Writers, Poets, Environmentalists, Philosophers, Painters, Bio-Sceince, Architects, Language specialists, Artists, Speakers and more and more ...

Here I am talking about the large percentage of students. The young generation is not chosing those roads less travelled. Its neither the mistake of the generation, parents, teachers nor the society. In India, its all about financial security after immediate career path. The reason being the state of financial struggles the students come from. The reason being the parents sacrifices, the state of surroundings they come from.

YES, "A Real Teacher" is very important to create the mentioned above. Before we think about the importance, We also need to think about - How this teacher emerges? Why a teacher should be emerged from this group? What makes a student very passionate to become a teacher? => The answer is the value creation. Value should be added to the teaching career in the form of Money, Security, Recognition, Long term employment and more. The teaching filed in India is not creating any value to the teachers. There should be institutions like IIT's, IIM's for teaching profession, not just B.Ed., or M.Ed., in colleges that don't have any recongnition at all. When this kind of value is created, I don't have to say what will happen. It is the same case of Writers, Poets, Environmentalists, Philosophers etc.,

The ideal situation you are talking about is well matched with the US Economy where every student has the opportunity to follow his/her dream. They have every opportunity to chose a career they wanted. Unfortunately, Its not so for India YET.

When one is sure about their survival, then they chose the roads less travelled. This is also not happening because once people are financially secure, they couldn't leave their comfort zones. No body want to challenge the world in following their dreams because It's very easy to give up. It may not happen if a student could chose the right path at right age in his/her career it self.

You do not chose a simple career just because its your dream. It isn't possible in India where we have few roads to travel. May it is possible in developed countries where there are many roads to reach the destination.

However, There are students who would like to travel the roads never travelled irrespective of their financial security, survival. There are students who already blessed with enough security whom we can groom and ask to find their destinies. This is the pool we need to concentrate on and create the creators. May it be a drop but it makes lot of difference going forward.

I am an example for my self not chosing the career path I wanted because of financial problems. My brother is another example. Everybody from my village is an example of this. However, we came out of our comfort zones - I would say, "ITS NOT EASY".

First of all, How do we let everybody know that, "You are born and there is a purpose to fulfill on this earth."

It is not very easy to write but I would love to discuss this topic and give more inputs.

- Eswar

Unknown said...

Dear Madam,
Fantastic post. Feel like making separate hoarding of each paragraph and display in the places like may be in malls, in orientations etc. I believe in the lines - Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. Always proud to be a teacher.

Shanthi Palreddy said...

Dear Ma'am,
A very thought provoking article. I agree with a lot of what "Eswar" had to say above.

But i also wanted to add one more point. All of the people who influence the kids especially the parents just think of two or three options. As a kid i just heard Engg and Medicine as the two options for me to study.

The kids need to be allowed to know of the various areas where they can study. When i was studying in US and used to look at the under grad curriculum in US - i used to love it. It was required that the students try lot of courses in the first year just so that they know what they are interested in. And I constantly used to think - what would I have been if I had the chance to try out so many different things.

I would like to think that atleast with the current generation who are growing up atleast a few will think seriously on what it is that they really want and not go into standard routes just because they are known.

Thanks for the great blog post.

Vamshi Krishna - said...

Respected ma'm,
absolutely right... teaching is the most wanted profession.... i would rather like to call it educating as an educator is the one who gives moral and intellectual support and education... its the one profession that is most required for the coming generations... moreover, each individual is a teacher (read educator) is his own way... as said teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions... so teaching should be pursued by more and more people in order to even prevent other great professions getting onto a the saying goes, a good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others... teaching is a highly noble profession as its crystal clear from everyone's stance after a brush on the prognosis. its always a boon for the society. Teaching has an influence in developing ones mind and character and also gives the satisfaction of having sparked the light of knowledge and dispelled the clouds of ignorance. its not an easy task by the way, it needs specialisation, it needs the midas touch, it needs a very committed training and one gets the riped fruits for it too... and also there is a general perspection among people that it is not a very high-paid job.... but i feel it too is equally rewarding not only in the form of penny but in many mental aspects too... give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime... at this stage of my life i feel teachers or educators are the most valuable assets for any country in general and for India in particular... teaching heads the process of transformation through education!

yours sincerely
vamshi krishna

Unknown said...

hi mam, ur article reflects the pain of a zealous educator in you. it does pain to find the dearth of gud teachers. however, i do not blame it on teachers alone. we sing an ode to the the same time, we pay least recognition and a least monetory benifits.
tell me, with the existing system of examinations, with the existing so called teacher training courses,( if teaching is a noble profession- what r we training? the nobility of teaching
or the nobility of being professional?)what more can we expect rather than the robotic knowledge filled machines trained only to manufacture marks scoring products out of children?
if a teacher is given increments depending on the score her students scored, where is the so-called nobility we have attached to her profession?
in my opinion, a right teacher is the one who carries her heart to the school. her love for teaching , her love for the taught and the love for what she teaches! but its a pity that teachers are expected to leave their emotions far behind at home and carry only the grey matter to the school. with this kind of scenario around ,how can we expect something big from them? one of the senior most lectures i know recently told me that she was given a batch of slow learning students with a specific task to 'pass them out of the examinations'. she just concentrated on marks while teaching them the subject. and when the students passed, she just said "i didn't 'teach' them anything , i helped them score marks" !!! such is the pain a true teacher experiences today.
instead of expecting a teacher to be selfless , instead of giving the profession the status of a social service, if we can lift the peofession to the most opted , most revered, and the most rewarded one, the field would have the best competition. the quality improves too. when the teacher knows she has a quality education to impart, contentment creeps in! what else do we need to improve the picture?
as long as we have institutions that test the english teachers by the fundamentals of structured grammar, i dont think there would be any improvement!
many institutions today expect the teachers to be present in the school even before the 'ayah' comes to sweep the rooms and leave the school after 6 or 7 in the evening( sorry ..night!)
considering all this, no parent , would want her child to grow up into a teacher. no student would want to g4row up into a teacher bcos she has always seen a teacher as someone who simply 'utters' what she knows and trains the students in presenting all that they have learnt! she is never seen as a noble worker and even worse, she is never seen as a human being( the teacher herself is made to forget it under the burden).
there is so much more to say! but i too sincerely wish that a change happens in the system as a whole and frees the parents, students , teachers and the zealous educators like you from the pain !
awaiting an immediate overhauling of the system.

meghana, shreya said...

hello mam,

Really good and an inspiring message.We are sure many youngsters would get inspired and take up teaching as their profession.We enjoyed reading your article and appreciate the efforts you have taken for this.All the very best.
meghana-IX B

S Kataria said...

I am not a very polished and Pretending-to-be-a-noble writer so pl excuse me. i talk brass tracks. Please accept that pvt educational institutes offer a better solution than worthless Govt schools ( sans IITs IIM etc) but they are a pure business venture. And Govt schools will take some time to come up. In addition the schools ( and colleges)suck the sweat, pride and at times blood of the teacher, thats my personal experience at Hyderabad. I know many people including self who can be good teachers, but can any ( repeat) any school offer me the salary which is enough to maintain hygienic living?. Notwithstanding the fact that I am not brave enough to leave the comfy job and accept this social responsibility, will my self respect be guarded in school/college is what I am not sure of. If I and my wife start teaching in any school in Hyderabd, I will have no choice but to remove my kids from their present school.Hikes in Hyderabd depend upon whether you are a Raju or not!. Low and delayed salaries and other self esteem aspects are threatening the profession of teaching. Lets be practical. My dad is a school teacher since 1962 for 48 years. Dont want my kids to be in same state after 48 years. Summarisingly, your stuff is nice to read but I wish and pray there is a practical soln and quick light at the end of the tunnel.

Unknown said...

Great article!

Teaching is an emotionally rewarding but unfortunately not the most financially rewarding profession.Most people who enjoy teaching do not want to pursue it as a full time career because of the low pay and benefits offered to teachers especially in India.This can change only if the payment structure of teachers changes.
Personally,I enjoyed teaching so much I would not mind being paid less for such a rewarding profession but I also understand teachers have to live in a shoe string budget and that demotivates students from wanting to become teachers and parents wanting their child to take up the profession. If teachers are paid well like other professionals there will be competition and all schools will get the best teachers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your lines...
When it comes to typical Indian Families [In some families even though they have great passion for teaching profession they can’t afford the remuneration they are getting]. We can speak many things being in the field at the same time what about the outcry of those families.
In this way schools are loosing those passionate teachers and potential hard working teachers.
I think this is also a real concern,.

@vin@$(-) said...

Respected ma'am,

I respect the things you wrote about the profession of techers.But it's my strong belief that techers in india are decreasing day by day because of the salary factor.We should accept that the techers are not given the amount that should be given to them.And also we are very lucky that we have these many of them who have teching as their passion rather than money.But once think ma'am.If an iit graduate is there, commonly he chooses an engineering job rather than teaching proffesion with that much knowledge he has because he gets more money out of it!! U told nowadays the teachers income and their exposure is increasing.But i personally think that it is in the foreign educated countries which care that but in india still that kind of exposure and money has come just in a few cases!!!... There are many in india which we may not expect to be there also.

But anyways you have comveyed some interesting thing to me.Your article was awesome!!!!....

NIKHILA (VII-D) said...

dear madam,
this nikhila fo vii-d.I read your article on teachers. It was very interesting & also very useful.The same thing which we discussed in the school assembly.
My view on this topic is that this is a teaching to the students like us. I think this will be a value teching for us. After reading this article,each and every one thinks to become a teacher,as we all think that our teachers are the gods after our parents and also our know ,best leaders of our life.
So,mam we think that you are also the best teacher.