By Mohamad Zubair-u-din
Teacher occupies a central position in the educational system with whom the future of a nation is associated. The teacher has come in for a lot of debate ever since the change of guard in Jammu and Kashmir. However, without falling in that debate here, I have attempted a few points for teachers to revamp the education sector.
1. There is no doubt that we need to prepare teachers in accordance with the needs and demands of School education but there is a lot to be done to achieve this objective. The thrust of our authorities should be to ensure rationalisation in the matter of subject teachers at the middle and secondary level. It has been seen that teachers found themselves in a quandary while teaching subjects other than their own.
The net outcome of which results in a teacher’s apathy towards his profession and more so the retarded intellectual growth of budding students.
2. The qualities of a good teacher are to impart lessons in such a manner that a student’s aesthetic development is always groomed along with his intellectual development. In fact , a good teacher should take care of the holistic development of the students. He should be a perfect care taker,providing students with their requirements,a mother showering love and affection, a father providing them a sense of security,a moralist assisting and encouraging them to acquire goodness and purity,a doctor concerned about their physical health and an artist motivating them to find beauty in life.
3. There are a lot of hurdles in preparing good teachers. In our country the teaching profession ,especially at the primary and middle level , is almost the last choice one resorts to after failing in every other endeavour. There is a lack of fire and clarity of vision among those who took to teaching as a compulsion which hampers in preparing good teachers. The problem in teaching mathematics and science is generally felt in schools especially at primary and middle levels because a meagre percentage of teachers have their degrees in science and Maths. Consequently, a lot of teachers don’t feel well-equipped to plan instruction that meets the needs of students at varying levels of math and science understanding. Similarly our orientation programmes don’t come up to expectations and as such the teacher doesn’t experience a desired improvement.
4. It is believed that teaching is a highly respected and a noble profession . But over the years it is being observed that young minds prefer every other profession to the exclusion of the teaching profession. A lot needs to be done to attract the young talent towards this profession. In the first place the respect of a teacher has to be guaranteed at social and political levels. A teacher is seen as a week and docile creature who has to yield to the whims and fancies of every tom, dick and harry. Secondly, the interference of administration (bureaucracy) has to be kept at the minimum level . The bureaucratic apparatus often take pleasure in humiliating the teachers. As regards the career progression , there is very little in teaching profession to motivate and encourage young people towards it. Similarly, the salary offered to teachers is not commensurating to their academic and professional attainments.
5. The induction programmes are theoretically framed in tune with the needs od teachers. However, the orientation programmes are in most cases a mere formality loaded with unnecesary fanfare. Last year an induction programme of 30 days in Budgam was supposed to equip the new recruits with the necessary skills and knowledge to deal with the class room experience. Unfortunately, the experts ran short of material only after a week which forced the organising agency to cut short the programme to only two weeks. As a corrective measure the experts ought to be hired who would not only hone the skills of teachers but also our so called experts at the induction programmes. The duration of these induction programmes also need to be kept at the minimum to keep alive the interests of participants.
6. Other than the cascade model , the professional development of teachers can be facilitated by exploring the modern day technologies. The relevant documentaries and movies can be of immense help in boosting the professional skills of teachers. Similarly, the visit to different historical places, scientific museums, institutions of excellence, cultural centres can have a great educational value can be of immensely helping.
7. Teacher absenteeism is an open truth in India . The problem needs a holistic approach to be addressed to its logical conclusion. In the first place the local level committees comprising of well educated persons ought to be formed and equipped with powers to monitor the functioning of schools. To draw the monthly salary the teacher ought to furnish certificate from the local level committee attesting to his punctuality and regularity. And then the government needs to step in to ensure the posting of teachers in their respective tehsils so that they could balance their family and the professional demands.
8 . The teacher education institutions should envision functions other than teaching by making teacher education broad based with respect to changing times. Many dimensions with specializations will have to be added since the future teaching will not be limited to classroom teaching alone. Students will not depend upon teachers to seek knowledge about subject matter. They will be finding better transmitters of knowledge in media. However, they will not be able to negate the teachers. They will require help of the teachers to solve their day-to-day learning or behavioural problems. The students who will not be able to have access to schools will look for teachers get self learning material to suit their learning styles. Not only students, even the parents of the students will seek indulgence of teachers in achieving their aspired goals. Posing a problem before the learners and helping them find solutions to these problems is a skill and such skills need to be developed in the teacher trainees. Similarly the teacher trainees have to be trained in quality assessment procedure. This type of assessment requires the trainees to assess the students with respect to their thinking process and learning styles.
9. A number of measures can be helpful motivating teachers to become more accountable. The first thing , I believe, is to instill a feeling in a teacher to create a lasting impression in the minds of students so that after many years when he sees his students smiling, feels them shaking his hand and talking about his class affectionately, he should know they are not thinking about an assessment they got ten or fifteen years ago. They are thinking fondly about an experience that goes well beyond of testing results being used by schools for promotional purposes. This is a feeling which can’t be fathomed. And then there should be certain attractions like a bonus increment associated with better annual performance reflected in the scores and other accomplishments of students in diverse fields like debates, essay writing, etc.
10. It is an established fact that teacher education institutions mostly work in isolation with schools . For ensuring quality teacher education the teacher educators should be made to visit the different schools to get the real imprint of what and how the business of teaching-learning is transacted. The teacher education institutions often devise and come up with ideas and methods which have less or no harmony with the real classroom experience. The situation in the rural areas is all the more concerning.