During the course of my +2 education, one of my teachers once told our class, "A teacher is a bridge between the textbook and the taught". It has been about 10 years since he told us that, but that sentence still reverberates in my mind.
In the same year that my teacher told us that particular quote, we were also taught by a teacher who took some sort of pleasure in beating the students! We were also taught by a teacher who had a penchant to pick up not so good students and make a mockery of them in the class. We were also taught by a teacher who, at the slightest pretext, threatened the students with dire consequences in the final exams. All through my educational career since, I have come across such teachers in the majority. Teachers who enjoyed to wield their power, but did not want to own up the responsibility that comes with it.
If the foundations of a bridge are not strong enough, then the bridge is sure to collapse. So is the case with this bridge. And the onus for making this foundation strong is more on the teacher than on the student. Unlike other relationships, a student-teacher relationship is not build on trust. It is built on the comfort levels the teacher can provide to the student. It is built on mutual admiration. The student admires the teacher for understanding his/her limitations, and the teacher respects the shortcomings of the student, and then tries to bring the best out of him/her. It is built on hope. Hope that the student will come out a better person upon completion of the course.
But in today's world of competitive exams, the average and not so average students on looked down upon. Most of the times it so happens that the bright students of the class are given preferential treatment over the average and not so average students. It is one thing to be looked down upon by the society, but if the person entrusted with the responsibility of making you a better person, shirks that responsibility within a couple of weeks, imagine what kind of effect that is going to have on the psyche of the student.
Here are a few examples. A bright student seldom fears to ask a doubt in the class. One of the reasons is that he/she is sure that the teacher will not call the doubt a silly one. If a similar doubt is raised by an average student, most of the times, he/she is always told what a silly doubt that was. In lab sessions, a bright student is not asked too many questions, but an average students is pounded with questions, the answers for which sometimes the teacher themselves do not know clearly (this is true...I have seen them happen).
All students obviously do not have the same level of intellect. Nor do all of them have the same interest level. Isn't it the responsibility of the teacher to see to it that each student realises his/her true potential? The most common method to make them study is by instilling a sense of fear in them. I still fail to understand how beating a student will make him a better student!
There are students who refuse to be taught. There are some who think being rude is confidence. I am not talking about them here. There are a lot many students who, if provided with the right guidance, can shine in their careers. Improving the confidence levels of a student can do wonders to him/her. Unfortunately, most of the time, either the student is deemed good or deemed fit for nothing.
A teacher is the only person who is entrusted with the enormous responsibility of making a average student into a good one, a good one into a better one, and of making the better ones the very best. At each stage of their education, students, bright and dull, look up to them to learn, they look up to them for help and they look up to them to grow. Instead of realising the true greatness in their profession, most of the teachers (particularly at the +2 level) feel that instilling a sense of fear will earn them respect. Mr. Vajpayee was right when he said (though in a different context), a sense of respect has to be commanded, not demanded. And when respect is commanded, the student-teacher relation will blossom to its fullest.
9 months ago