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TEACHERS AS CHANGE AGENTS OF TODAY

Tina Olyai Director - Little Angels High School -Gwalior M.P.

TEACHERS AS CHANGE AGENTS OF TODAY

Every existence is a state of consciousness. As the famous philosopher Rene Descartes said: “I exist because I think”. Without thought, without self-consciousness, existence – even if it is – has the same value as the mirror has for a blind man. This is that basic level of life and existence where a teacher stands. It is the teacher who evokes ‘self-realization’ in the child, creates his consciousness, and thus paves the way for his endless journey in the realm of existence. This is the fundamental and perhaps the ONLY role of a teacher. A teacher cannot produce potentiality in a child in the same way as a farmer cannot impregnate a seed with power to grow into a mighty tree. That power is already infused in a seed by the Almighty God. The role of the farmer is only to ‘sow’ the seed in a fertile soil, expose it to proper light and required amount of moisture, and then believe in the certainty of its growth as a natural law.
The role of a teacher is equally like a facilitator. Every child is a potent seed that needs the right exposure and teacher is like the farmer who is responsible for this divinely-ordained task. How a teacher fulfils this role is what makes him distinctive and successful. We are all familiar with “The Parable of the Sower”by Jesus Christ. A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bore fruit a hundredfold.
Every teacher can decide for himself or herself if he or she wants to be a ‘casual teacher’ – just ‘standing on a wayside’, working in a school merely for a salary and treat the children as passers-by who just came on their way, or he or she wants to be a ‘rock’ giving no fertility at all to a child or a thorn who gives a suffocated space for growth, or, what is the best course, to be a ‘good ground’ for children to provide their limitless growth. A child’s destiny is thus in the hands of a teacher. Baha’u’llah, the Prophet Founder of Baha’i Faith, said: "Every child is potentially the light of the world, and at the same time its triple darkness. . . . Therefore make ye every effort in order that these children may be rightly trained and educated and that each one of them may attain perfection in the world of humanity."
The role of a teacher in society is very significant. It has a far-reaching influence on the society he lives in and no other personality can have an influence more profound than that of a teacher. Students are deeply affected by the teacher's love and affection, his character, his competence, and his moral commitment. A popular teacher becomes a model for his students. The students try to follow their teacher in his manners, costumes, etiquette & style. Thus, a good teacher can play a prominent role in making the future of his students. At the same time a teacher who is oblivious of his role and negligent of his duties can harm the society more seriously than anything else. A bad politician, a corrupt officer, a pervert individual can harm only in a limited ambit but a bad teacher can spoil the mind of a child and thus destroy generation after generation. That is why Dr. Radhakrishnan was not wrong in saying that Teachers should be the best minds of the country. He maintained that the importance of a teacher as an architect of our future generations demands that only the best and the most intelligent and competent members of our intelligentsia be allowed to qualify for this noble profession. However the present scenario is contrary to this ideal.
What is important to understand is that in the same proportion as teachers are responsible for contributing to a healthy human society of tomorrow, the society of today is no less responsible to recognize the vital role the teachers are playing in nation-building. At present, our teachers are not looked at with the same reverence as doctors, engineers, IAS officers. It is ironical, however, that the Doctors, Engineers and IAS officers are ‘moulded’ by none other but Teachers.
Furthermore it is also important within our educational frame-work to set a clear-cut definition of a ‘good teacher’. Who is a good teacher? Is it the the one who has the latest diploma in education, or a post-graduate degree or doctorate? Or is he or she a capable teacher who has attended many national and international seminars? It is true that while a good educational background is very important for teachers so is their participation in national and global events, but these factors alone cannot be the elements of the definition of a ‘good teacher’. When we speak of good teachers it means that a teacher must be a model of faith and piety – a moral mentor for his students.
No price tag can be placed on the value of Teachers who mould and educate our children. Teaching the leaders of tomorrow is an honour bestowed only on teachers. In today's dynamic world and demanding pedagogies, teaching shoud be considered as one of the most important jobs. Teachers can be called the last revolutionaries - no one can make a difference to the world as teachers can do. By educating children, teachers become change agents of today’s society. That is why a teacher is called to be "An Engineer of Good Thoughts In The Minds of Students, A Doctor of his Bad Habits, An Architect of his Values and Attitudes, A Poet of the Ideas in his Heart, A Friend for Each and Every Feeling & A Guide for his Whole Life-Path”.

Tina Olyai
Director LAHS
www.lahs.org

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