In this age of debate and dissent, if there are a handful of issues that are considered axiomatic, the role of teachers on human minds is most certainly one of them. John Steinbeck words come to the mind in this context – I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.
Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, considers those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well, while Carl Jung, urges us to look back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. “The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child,” he observed with wonder.
In India, the birth anniversary of a great teacher Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan is observed as the Teachers’ Day. A strong believer of learning and a renowned diplomat and scholar, Radhakrishnan was the second President of India. Legends say that once when approached by students for permission to celebrate his birthday, he very famously responded by saying, “instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege, if 5th September is observed as Teachers’ day”. That marked 5th of September as Teachers Day, in India.
To celebrate this auspicious day Baishali Mukherjee of Stoodnt.com got in touch with real life teachers of today to get their insights. Here is what they shared-
All kinds of special days are celebrated all over the world, but the fact that we have a day in the year to celebrate the contribution of our teachers in India shows our attitude to education in our culture. Teachers contribute to society per capita more than most professions, but they are largely unsung since their contribution is largely intangible. Yet there isn’t a day in the year when I don’t thank my teachers, from primary school through university, and now my students, who teach me the most. – Somak Raychaudhury, Director at Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics; Former Professor and Head of Physics; Dean of Sciences at Presidency University, Kolkata
On this Teacher’s Day, I, on behalf of the entire academic fraternity, want to wish you the wisdom to make the right choices – the choice to accept or reject the lessons life will throw at you and the choice to be your own best ally or your own worst enemy. – Prof. Rohit Srivastava, Dean – Administration, Globsyn Business School
An ancient Indian heritage gives to the teacher the highest position in one’s life. For all of us our mothers are our first teacher. A teacher is one who not only teaches in classroom but one who is able to respect and love his or her students. On this day, on 5th September I recall all my teachers who taught me , loved me , rectified me and made me who I am today. – Prof Sinjini Bandyopadhyay, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Calcutta
I consider my mother as my best teacher followed by guardians, teachers and my beloved students. Be a good human being and share whatever you learned with others. – Prof. Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, Amity University, Kolkata
This is the right time to think about redesigning of the curriculum of primary education and inculcate the real meaning of value education is in our everyday life. Being a teacher, we should take our responsibility to build up such an environment where a child irrespective of his or her background enjoys and thus come to his or her ‘own school’. At the same time, it should be ensured that there must be a zero tolerance of compromise in research and higher education sphere. Perhaps it will be the best homage ever paid to the stalwart on his 131st birth day. Sir Radhakrishnan believed that “teachers should be the best minds in the country”. Love, respect and regards are reciprocal feelings of emotions. I feel truly privileged and proud when i am able to contribute even a bit in this direction and the reciprocative affection from students pins my faith on this vocation ever so much. – Dr. Rajesh Das, Assistant Prof, Department of Mass Communication, University of Burdwan
Student life is the most valuable time which lays the foundation stone of future lives and of the nation as a whole. Swami Vivekananda thought that students are the embodiment of dynamism and vibrancy. . Physical fitness, self confidence, hard work, positive attitude and thirst for knowledge make one ready to face various challenges of life.
Right from the kindergarten days, parents start fostering their dreams regarding the career of their children, thereby streamlining the thoughts of these young minds and forgetting some finer aspects of what life has to offer. Everything happening around us, positive negative good or bad, gives us an opportunity to learn and helps in our character building. Students can become something not merely by thinking of becoming something, but by doing something utilizing their positive energy and creative potential. In today’s decaying world, humanity, truthfulness and morality play a vital role and by inculcating social values, principles, one can forge ahead a society that is polite, caring and thoughtful for the future generations, not merely by imitating the culture of other countries, but by protecting good habits, nature and the environment. – Kaveri Sarkar, Associate professor in Economics, Gobardanga Hindu College
Learn with your mind but follow your heart – Sudeshna Bhattacharya, Associate Professor at Miranda House
Dear Students We the teachers are not the enemy- we are on your side – we are teachers because we are genuinely interested in your future and we believe you can fulfill all your dreams. Teaching is a vocation rather than a profession – it must come from within. Your success is the greatest reward your teacher can every ask for. So work WITH them to realise this. – Gopali Ghosh, Former Teacher of English, Highfield Leadership Academy, Blackpool UK
In an age of uncertainty, teachers should inspire students to transcend the crests and troughs of life and emerge as confident individuals. Teachers’ Day is all about learning and re-learning- a day to remember all our mentors who helped us annihilate negativity and celebrate the beauty of life. –Dr.Madhumita Basu, Assistant Professor in English, Victoria Institution (College)
In a world where teachers are supposed to have all the answers, my only wish is that we teach students to question — question everything that comes to them, including questioning us and what we’re teaching them. – Sumana Roy, Visiting Fellow at the South Asian Studies Institute at Cornell University, former faculty in Department of English, at government colleges of West Bengal