Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Educating the educators

Corporal punishment is in the news again. We are a country that needs laws to curb grown up men and women from hitting kids. In fact we need laws to ensure we behave like a civil society. But let us not go there for now. Right now, I want to talk about teachers hitting kids.

I remember as a kid waiting at the Cubbon Park to get on a peculiar type of carousel. There was a family already on the carousel and they ensured that when a child got off they would put another from their family onto the carousel. I waited patiently for the nice Uncle to give me a chance and then from somewhere, my Dad walked up stopped the carousel and told the head of the family manning the carousel to give me a seat. The man realized that he was monopolizing the play equipment and obliged. This more or less sums up us Indians. Here was a 8 year old kid waiting patiently for her turn play on the carousel but this man was not man enough to ensure that the kid also got a chance.

If you remember your childhood, you will remember that the only adults who ever cared for you were your parents, family members and family friends. You could never hope to be treated kindly by even parents of kids who did not know you. We are a selfish society.

And our teachers are not any different. Teaching is a vocation, but in a country like ours it becomes another job, another meal ticket. Therefore expecting our teachers to be nice to kids that are not their own is asking a bit too much.

I studied in a school where teachers were nurtured. Yes, you heard it right. Teachers were nurtured to be teachers. The others were let go. The nuns who run this school, created such an environment, that only genuine aspirant dared apply for a job in the school. The school still continues the tradition. Please don’t misunderstand me here. Teachers are not intimidated here. But guided. And most were willing to change their mindset and become teachers’ a.k.a imparters of education and not mere roll callers and home work and class work checkers.

My niece recently passed out of the same institution. She was doing poorly since 8th std due to tensions in the home between her parents. The teachers zeroed into the root cause of the decline in marks and rectified the same. After failing in 8 subjects from 8th std, she recently passed with a first class in ICSE without repeating a year.

What I am trying to say is that, teachers, like students need to be taught that a B.Ed is not enough qualification enough to be a teacher. A sympathetic attitude towards students and a genuine desire in their welfare and above all a genuine desire to impart learning is paramount. And it starts with the school management.

If a teacher is caught hitting a child, punishing him/her or removing him from the job will in no way deter future kid beaters. What will deter them however is the practice of evaluating teachers not only in teaching, but a whole lot of other parameters that would indicate if a person is suitable to continue in the post.

Thanks to Blogbharati for linking this post.


skar said...

Here are related links I found useful:

After reading the above I'm now contemplating if its more cultural than legal(See France Vs Japan, North US Vs South US in link 1). That would likely mean a broader, slower process for us.

RGB said...

Teachers don't seem to realize the power of the weapon they have in hand, to arm each student with deeper knowledge of the subject, to groom them into responsible citizens and leaders, to shape their values...

They are expected to be role models and instead they go about terrorizing students into doing things "they" think is right and if anybody goes against the "rules", take the whip in their hands. Sad state of affairs indeed!

skar said...

*process of change

Anish said...

It is so sad to see the news like that again.Atleast it is a big relief to that in south things are getting better

between love to read your views about junior doctors strike in kerala

Anonymous said...

I agree we really are a selfish society, with little respect for anybody who looks like they can't fight back, including children.

Another thing teachers do is, they favour their own children. And other children don't fail to notice this.

Gauri Gharpure said...

the post very nicely talks about the casual attitude to teaching that has generally set in these days.. very few schools are exceptions, education has become but another thriving business, isn't it?

Meera's World said...

How true.

ABP News said...

I was wandering in Blogspot park and suddenly stopped in here.
Very nicely narrated thoughts Anjali, but have you thought how can we change these teachers.
Even they are not at fault, they are also a part of bigger plan, something big which has been kept a secret.
Would love to read your views on how we can update these teachers

Sailin Gudhka said...

Nice write ups. Enjoyed reading it.

silverine said...

Karthik: Thanks for the links! :)

RGB: You described it well. Sad state of affairs indeed.

Anish: I have no idea about the junior doctors strike and cannot write till I get 'inside info' :)

indianhomemaker: Not just their kids, but favorites and kids whose parents keep them happy.

Gauri: Unfortunately, that's true. Education is indeed big business these days!

Meera's world: :(

AbhinnaL: I think change has to start from the management.

Sai: Thank you! :)

Anonymous said...

"If you remember your childhood, you will remember that the only adults who ever cared for you were your parents, family members and family friends. You could never hope to be treated kindly by even parents of kids who did not know you. We are a selfish society."

Generalizing it, if that kid's dad had shown concern to you, that kid would also have learnt how to be considerate to others. Imagine a billion Indians doing that. Imagine our society. Imagine the bonding. Imagine the unity. ...