Join me for a moment.
There are teachers, there are teachers, and there are teachers. Are all these of the same calibre? Certainly not, you’ll say and I agree with you. You may have your own criteria to decide the differences in the calibre. I have mine, too.
Listen and think with me. Thanks.
How significant is the role of teachers in the (teaching)-learning process? Very, I’d say. How you might ask. Here is how:
However good students may be, they cannot do much without support services like the laboratory, the library and the classroom. They can’t shine either without appropriate guidance from faculty. If the infrastructure provides the necessary accessories, faculty provide the vital link between the student and the infrastructure.
Naturally, faculty are needed to
• define, shape and give meaning to learning
• strengthen the weak learner with compassion
• support the average learner with understanding
• kindle the exceptional learner with zest.
It may be said that the computer can and will eliminate the teacher in due course of time. But it’s a nonhuman source and if at all it can speak only in monotone and will thus totally lack the infinitely communicative nonverbal body language that two bodies and minds can generate and share. It is a cold machine and will thus totally lack the warmth and the bondage that bind forever the disciple to the guru and the guru to the disciple. Such is the fatally vital link. Such is the crucial role of faculty in the life of the learner and thus in the growth of technical education.
This is not to say the sources other than the teacher are to be done away with but that learning cannot obtain its fullness without a human and humane ‘guru’.
Are teachers born? Or are they made? Just as there are three categories of learners, there are also teachers who are exceptional, who are good, who are average and who are weak. What do I mean by the four attributive adjectives?
The exceptional (ones) are very knowledgeable and are already very highly self-motivated and are blessed with a sustained positive attitude and teaching skills.
The good (ones) are also knowledgeable and self-motivated and possess a weak positive attitude and so need to be pushed to travel the whole distance.
The average (ones) possess knowledge, are unable to sustain a positive attitude and are generally motivated but require attention and training for them to sustain the right attitude and maintain their motivation. They wish to prove themselves to be good teachers but are disappointed, unlike the exceptional and the good ones, if they are not appreciated. They are large in number.
The weak (ones) also possess knowledge and are least motivated and so require training and guidance constantly to develop positive attitude and motivation. They do not come to teaching willingly. Therefore they teach with their body and go through the motions. They hop on to lucrative jobs overseas or in private sector. The residue continue to occupy teaching positions. They may not be strong in their disciplines. They may not be inclined to update their knowledge either. As a result, they may not be able to cope with the demands of the thirsting learners and fail to gain respect and admiration. Frustration may set in and they may take it out on the student community. It is not my intention to find fault with this category. I am drawing our attention to existing realities only to focus on the need to motivate and train these weak teachers so that, using their intrinsic potential, they perform with competence, so that they do justice by their students who are placed by the state in their protection. I am confident that once steps are taken to enable them to see meaning in teaching, they will be equal to the task of building their nation as teachers.
Even the ‘best’ of the ‘best’ know they’re not the ‘best’. They know the more they know what ‘best’ is, they know they know ‘less’. This is the sign of the ‘best’. For ‘best’ has no set definition. ‘Best’ can be ‘bested’ because ‘best’ is like the horizon stretching to infinity. You go the distance, yet there is more distance to cover.
Give it your ‘best’ shot, won’t you? I know you will. God bless!
Kolipakam Lakshminarayanan, Expert Panel Member – Procademia