Teachers Day Reflection and Teacher's Pledge Sunny Jacob SJ

Every year Teachers Day in India is celebrated on September 5th. The special day for teachers in India is dedicated to a quintessential teacher’s birthday: Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a teacher, statesman, philosopher and former President.

What is the scenario at schools today? Low pay packets; humongous expectations from both parents and management; overburdened with work; crowded classrooms clamouring for individual personalised attention and instruction; callous, unconcerned pupils; technological challenges that make one a refugee first, immigrant next and a native per force in the digital world; the obsession with standardised tests and thoughtless one size fits all propositions of boards and education bodies…

Teaching has never been tougher as it is today.

Being an educator by profession, I can’t but help taking a critical look at the education system prevalent in our country.

As a student of education and as a resource person to many in India, I see the reality of it playing out everyday in India. I tell the teachers if you do not get the work you love, start loving the work you get. Many teachers today come to the field, by accident and not by choice. The reason is low salary and perks compared with other lucrative and tireless works out there.

In our present education system there is time only to do homework and projects.
So, when is the time to read and understand lessons done at school? 
Studies are no longer interesting. They have become mundane chores. The spark of curiosity is totally missing, critical thinking is slowly diminishing, serious reflection escapes our class rooms. Stress seems to be on memorisation rather than to create a critical mind. Many class rooms limit text books and lessons. All eyes seem to be scoring marks ! What about Multiple Intelligence based learning and teaching?
Where is the time... they ask? Covering the syllabus is the goal of many schools!! I think a lot of un-schooling must take place in our schools. To do this, we need good teachers. However,
the best ones are not attracted to the profession. There is no money or respect for the profession as it was in the yester years. Many parents still are obsessed about a couple of professions: medicine; engineering; computers & software. The leftovers are often insipid and tasteless. They are teachers not because they are passionate about teaching. So their commitment level is low or almost nil. Value based education cannot be expected from such ‘teachers’. This is a dangerous trend that on this teacher’s day government and all must think seriously to remedy the problems. Students rarely get role models before them. 
Animating students is the need of the hour. Every teacher must be a role model, a friend, a mentor to his/ her students. 
Perhaps we can ask ourselves as teachers the following questions:Are we as teachers –
• Passion-driven? Without this our classrooms will be dull and drab.
• Action-driven? Without this we will never be able to infuse energy & bring the fun element to our class. 
• Empathetic? Without this we will never be able to strike an emotional chord with the child. This in turn will make our students compassionate individuals too.
• Lifelong learners? Learning just does not end with the classroom; a key point that must be driven home over and over again!
• Being Mindful and Reflective? We need to help pupils stay on course and be aware – not only about things around but also things within themselves. Self awareness is key to effective relationships and achieving success in adult life. It is always easier if we ‘catch ’em young’!
• Encouraging collaborations and curiosity in classrooms? It is these skills that our pupils require in the 21st century to function as effective citizens and humans. 
• Patient and Persevering? Without this none of the above is possible!

Let us think of every day as a Teachers Day, by enjoying what we do in our classrooms. Let us transform our classrooms into hubs of activity where pupils take responsibility for their own learning. Let us make our classrooms engaged, connected spaces so that our pupils will learn the art and science of collaboration. And may we succeed in making each student a passionate lifelong learner, the most critical objective of education. And thus let us contribute immensely to nation building.

We as Teacher’s must Pledge today the following: 
 I love teaching. Teaching will be my soul. I will be fully committed to the great mission of teaching. 
 I will consider myself to be a great teacher only when I am capable of elevating the average student to a high performance.
 I will organize and conduct my life, in such a way that my life itself is a message for my students.
 I will treat all the students equally and will not support any differentiation on account of caste, creed, colour and language. 
 I will constantly endeavour to fill my mind with great and noble thoughts.
 I will spread nobility in thinking and action among all my students. 
 I will always celebrate the success of my students. 
 I will ensure students blossom into creative enlightened citizens. 
 I will be loyal to the ideals of my school and adhere to the values of Love, Truth, Patience, compassion and justice.
 I will work in a team for the greater good of the school and for the all-round development of my society and the nation.


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