Teaching: Trade or Calling
Very happy teachers to all teachers.
Teachers deserve special honour. The role of teachers is a much respected one in Asian traditions. Guru (Teacher?) – Sishya (Disciple) relation is a key that we can see very much in Asian traditions. I am very happy to have studied in a university (BHU) where Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was the vice chancellors whose birthday is being celebrated all over India as Teacher’s Day.p
According to Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, a teacher “must be a committed man, committed to faith in the future of man, in the future of humanity, in the future of the country and the world.” The profession of a teacher “should not be reduced to a trade; it is a calling, a vocation, a mission.” Teachers, according to Dr. Radhakrishnan, must impart to the students “zest for new experience, love for adventure in knowledge.” Love of the pupils is therefore the first essential quality of a teacher. Teachers must try to understand their pupils – their needs, their interests, their abilities, their wishes, their attitudes and their problems (qtd. in Shivendra. K. Verma, “Radhakrisnan’s Philosophy of Education,” The University News, Vol. 28, No. 19, p.3) .
Today I had the opportunity to interact with two leading Professors in India. They were using few terms to denote teachers of today: “settlers” and “committed to national development”. One of the eminent professors was telling that even after 20 years from today india may not be able to achieve significant progress in education if the trends in education does not improve significantly. He was mentioning about a group of teachers who are settlers. According to him they are not committed to their teaching. They will be teaching for the sake of doing. He also talked about nepotism, favoritism, casteism, politics and corruption that spoil this very noble profession. They are the ones who are a real threat for Dr. Radhakrishnan’s vision of a teacher as “a committed man, committed to faith in the future of man, in the future of humanity, in the future of the country and the world”. But he has also mentioned that there are still teachers who surpass beyond the settlers category and are committed teachers.
Many nations look to India with great expectations. Only when Dr. Radhakrishnan’s vision of teacher comes true India would be able to shine and be able to grow leaps and bounds. Our nation is full of celebrations. But sadly many good themes celebrated in different festivals are thought about and put into action only for a day when it is celebrated. On August 15th we become patriotic but we forget to work for the nation after the very next day. My only wish is that the vision of teacher by Dr. Radhakrishnan will not be a good lecture to be listened on September 5th but the one which will be put into practice by all teachers all day long.
As I end this short not on teacher’s day I recollect a verse from the Bible which says “ And the LORD has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach their skills to others.” For me this verse is very encouraging as this verse talks about God’s unique help to teachers in imparting skills and knowledge.
May God bless all teachers with special skill to impart skill and knowledge!