by Sumangal Roy
If we had a mirror like Snowwhite’s mother, we could ask: “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the best teacher of them all?” And what would it tell? The best teacher is the one who ignites the lamp and does not fill the bucket or the one who not only tells, teaches and demonstrates but also inspires. Blah, blah, blah…. A casual search on the net for quotations praising teachers yields around eight lakh entries, many of them highlighting the characters of good teachers. But all of them are defunct today.
The other day, a teacher was ruing about the uncooperative behaviour of her colleague: “Whenever you put him on examination duty he is sure to catch the cheaters and make unfair means cases against them. I will never put him on exam duty in future”. Oh! What a bad teacher! This poor person is not even aware of the basic prerequisites of a good teacher –never to stop a student from wrongdoing!
One teacher got a beating because he tried to teach his students the basics of Indian aesthetics. Another had to lose his job because he wanted the students to dress up in a student-like manner different from a ramp show.
We are today facing increasing incidents of students armtwisting their way to high scores, full attendance, time tables with their favourite teachers, unfair means in exams and many other perks of being ‘students’. The appeasement of the students has become the preferred path of the authorities, teachers and parents alike.
So the mirror today would declare something like this: “The best teacher is the one who marks the students present in the class even when they prefer to be in the natural environment of the open air café, one who would turn a blind eye when the students are using unfair means in the examination, one who would never attempt the folly to teach the students but will hand them ready-to-regurgitate notes. And pity on a teacher who dares to gift the student a leaf or two of the book of ethics. She is the worst of all!”
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