Teaching: Bread and butter or society’s backbone?

By Emidao Shylla

Teaching has and will always be the most noble profession of all, and the greatest act of optimism. It is a delight for someone to be an educator. The entire nation, and the world as a whole, functions because of the education and knowledge gained from schooling. The prime people behind this are the teachers and educators. Not everyone can be a teacher, but only a select few. Each one of us have our favourite teachers, whether from KinderGarten, schools, colleges, universities, etc. What makes a teacher our favourite teacher? A definition of “favourite teacher” will vary from one individual to another. Teachers are the backbone of society, and it is a universal truth that teaching is one such profession that creates all other professions.
Who is a teacher? Why does an individual choose to become a teacher? What is their ultimate goal? Are they destined to work in this field for the rest of their lives? Are they the chosen ones? How do they know if they are the chosen ones? What makes one a good teacher? What are the qualities needed to become a teacher? What are the skills required to do the same? Are the said skills inculcated or inborn? What is most important? Qualifications, teaching skills, the ability to impart knowledge or all? Can we answer these questions? Evidently, everyone can come up with answers, and we might even have uniform or varied answers to each question put up. Our opinions on the same questions can be different. A debate on this should be conducted. Perhaps research should be done.
One may wonder if this article can act as an eye-opener or impact our leaders, our fellow citizens, our educators, and each and every concerned citizen of the state of Meghalaya or the country as a whole. In the affirmative, we believe it will make the thinkers think and the doers take action. We have all grown up and graduated from various schools, colleges, universities, and other educational institutions, and have also left a mark on each institution whether for good or for ill. Similarly, our teachers have left an indelible mark on our lives for reasons we can never forget. Who are those teachers who have impacted our lives, such that we remember them and talk about them every time we meet a mutual friend? To answer this question, we might come up with multiple reasons. In the aforementioned, it is mentioned that not everyone can be a teacher. This is a debatable question. In the modern world, magnifying the state of Meghalaya, the scale of unemployment is so high that we all end up being highly qualified just to sit within the four walls of a room, either in the kitchen, scrolling reels on Instagram, or hooking ourselves up playing pub-g and doing all kinds of unproductive activities, and for some even getting into illegal tournaments. Should we blame the government? Should unemployed youths be blamed? Who is to blame? Someone has to own this, but who will? Why must one be accountable for this? Is society to blame or the individuals themselves?
On the other hand we have another group of qualified, smart but unemployed youth who fail to get a job in the courses they mastered, such as engineering, nursing MBA graduates, etc. These people have tried their best but due to a lack of job opportunities in the state, they resort to teaching. In the event of job openings in educational institutions, especially in private schools, these youths will hop and apply for the vacancy for the sake of being “employed.” Most of them will successfully clear the interviews and get the job. A happy moment for them and for the family, but a sad moment for the students and the future. Intellectuals and concerned individuals will pose a series of questions. Are these young people really qualified to be teachers? Have they ever thought in their younger days that they wanted to be teachers? Do they have a passion for teaching? Or do they have the ability to impart knowledge? How patient can they be with the kids? Can they mould the students the way we were moulded by our great teachers? What made them choose this profession?
For this series of questions different answers will be given by different people but one answer is common “Unemployment.” To blame these “newly recruited teachers” for joining the teaching fraternity is absolutely wrong. They have no options and they a livelihood. They have families to feed and, most importantly, a life to live. Hence, a job, however big or small, is important. With their qualifications and education, they have no option but to resort to the last profession, the teaching profession. If these youths are not blamed, who should we shoulder the blame on? Four or five years of intense studying to graduate as an engineer or an MBA has done nothing good for these students because their investments in these years have gone down the drain. Someone is responsible for that, but who? It could perhaps be a mysterious organisation or an individual.
To ask everyone to do their B.Ed or their Dl.El.Ed is nothing but a waste of time. These degrees, are merely certificates. How much of their B.Ed or Dl.El.Ed lessons are actually practised within the four walls of a classroom? We are bound to answer unanimously that such activities are barely exercised in real teaching. For some, these degrees can be helpful, but not for all. These degrees are a ladder to a higher salary or to qualify for the post of Principal in the future. Other than that, they’re a waste of time. Why should teachers with ten or fifteen years of experience go for this course? These teachers have vast experience, and most of them are good teachers, even if they are not qualified. Being a good teacher and being a qualified teacher are totally different.
If an individual with higher qualifications chooses to become a teacher, that is an advantage. But if the same turns out to be someone who lacks teaching skills or the ability to impart knowledge, is this not a disadvantage for the school and students in particular? Will this not affect the future of the country and the state in general? On the other hand, we have a handful of people who have teaching skills, are passionate about teaching and can impart knowledge, but they lack qualifications such as B.Ed, DL.Ed etc. Where do such individuals go? Shouldn’t these people be in the teaching profession? We have all come across such teachers in our lives. We have had great teachers with minimum qualifications but who are passionate towards teachings. We have also had highly qualified teachers with no skills whatsoever and most of their classes turned out to be monotonous. Can we still entrust our children to teachers who have no interest in or skill in teaching? If so, what will the future of the state be? Where will our younger generations stand? What will happen to the education system? If this is not analysed now, when will it be? We are concerned about the future of our children and we must wake up from our slumber, especially the concerned department: the Education Department. The main reason behind this debate is “Unemployment.” To conclude, let’s leave this for an open debate.

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