Aleena Abdul Nasar, a student of Al Jamia Al Islamiya, Santhapuram, explores what genuine ‘teaching’ looks like, beyond claims of literacy, productivity and salaries.
Nora Ma’am was happy because she got warm wishes with sweets on September 5th. Three days later, 8th of September, Nora Ma’am got a big round of applause on the occasion of International Literacy Day. Three days later, 11th of September, none even hailed her!
Teachers are the guiding lights who make their students responsible and well-mannered citizens even in their personal lives. Teachers who produce a mere literate group of students will not suffice. Only if they instill the understanding of life lessons, morality, and critical and creative thinking will it inculcate more insight in their lives. But often, this does not happen. A very limited prism defines the literacy of a nation. Rather than passing down “ready-to-use letters” as 77.75% of Indians do, brainstorming activities in and outside the classrooms may foster productive output in the students. The current curriculum must ensure the intellectual and ethical development inside them. Instances of the COVID days are fresh in our minds, when students had voiced their grief against the overburdening by “robot-like teachers” and after-class work which ended up challenging the basic purpose of schooling. Poor teaching style and a badly structured curriculum framework can have adverse effects on the social order. Moreover, schools are overloaded with phobia and misconceptions pertaining to religion, ethnicity and so on.
Now let’s head towards what should be subjugated for deconstruction and be rebuilt upon in the section of education. Knowledge is not the abundance of narrations. It is an illumination that is cast in hearts. Action executes what is inside. Gaining useful knowledge through which empowerment happens, begets an individual’s responsibility to learn. Sincerity, passionate pupils and broad-minded teachers facilitate education as an institution to flourish. Understanding education and co-related institutions have larger spaces with different rooms and corners to meet the praxis in accordance with the priority.
There comes at first, kindness towards compassionate pupils and utmost respect in return to the teachers which is declining today. Frowns on brows will only earn disrespect from students. Teachers today are puppet-like and unload the whole syllabus capsules in the classrooms, where the students have been applauded for being the holders of high “digits” like zombies who even don’t know what they intake directly to the “tummy” without even taking a chunk to “taste” or check whether it is right or wrong. They carry this to the exam halls where they scribble down all the stuff they carried for a semester! Here fat, untouched brains are safe, and no calories are been spent even for fake thinking!
It is hard to find punctuality of students before the teachers, first filled front rows in classrooms, sleepless or at least sitting students without leaning on benches or tables, obedience to the teacher at the first say which saves them against unnecessary repetitions and so on. Teachers have the autonomy to free his/her pupil’s thoughts out of the box by standing inside it without any destruction.
State-mandated curriculum, the government shutting down schools by the justification of “rebellious students” who protested against the death of 2 of their fellow classmates, lack of inclusivity in the syllabus by rationalizing linguistics, socio-cultural differences and so on – all affect students. There are factions and stratifications to classify the subjects from one another where, in reality, all the matters are co-related. Dividing religious studies from that of politics when in reality they do not have separate roots is another fallacy. The trend of naivete and quietism in classrooms shows the stagnation of critical thought in students. It can be relatable to the death of frogs in a boiling pond where teachers and institution managements are busy “instruments” of corporate workers who concentrate on the mere tangible certificates, rationalized skills and salaries. The entry thought of this sector is improved working conditions, continuous comprisable assessments, salary cut-off etc.
The “dreams” and “careers” of students ended up in the rigid frame of “getting a white-collar job.” If the teachers are benevolent, sincerely serious with patience and courtesy to the long-term goal of intellect, they are responsible for the pupils as they have the right to be kind and ought to discipline them only in exceptional circumstances. Teachers, on the other hand, do not have the right to humiliate students publicly. Rather, they ought to explain to them with care and sincerity in order to improve them. In between, time for physical exercise also is a must. Lack of sports is one of the reasons for laziness in studies and procrastination among students as well as teachers.
These days, it seems some of the teachers take a “Tyagic” kind attitude towards the religious identities of students that ends up in the destruction of teacherhood. The other extreme situation is when there are no encouraging approaches from any students towards Nora ma’am as mentioned in the beginning to shatter the ideals of studenthood. Between these two extreme situations must be a point of cohesion and productive coexistence in the most ideal of bonds – the student and the teacher.