“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” –Malala Yousafzai
5th September, the day celebrated as Guru Purnima or Teachers’ Day is dedicated to the work and the pain encountered by teachers to ensure that students turn out to be enlightened citizens. A special day to revere teachers’ role in the foundation of a civilised and progressive society. The relevance of this day goes back to 19th century when Guru Purnima was traditionally observed. 5th September is the birth anniversary of a great teacher Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was a staunch believer of education and was a well-known diplomat, scholar, the President of India and above all, a teacher.
Who are teachers? Role models, icons of knowledge or some magicians? Teachers garner knowledge and help in building life skills as well as soft skills. Teaching is indeed a pillar of the society and not a profession. They use themselves as crutches and invite the students to walk with these crutches. Once facilitated, they encourage the learning minds to dispose off the crutches and walk confidently and independently on the road of life.
In this Pandemic year, teaching fraternity would definitely be missing the emotional gestures in the form of Thankyou cards and smileys.2020 has been the most challenging year for teachers. The personal touch has been replaced by virtual bonding in the form of selfie with a placard or poster sharing their teacher’s name/s or with a message to their teachers. Social media was never ever encouraged but now the schools promote hashtags #Our Teachers Our Heroes #Teachers from India to engage the students in teachers’ day programme.
Education has been thrown into disarray by Covid-19. Teachers are trying to get the best out of the worst situation. Online classes are more like a bitter pill to swallow. Digital devices and internet connectivity too have become more like personal degrees for the teachers. Not only do the teachers face technical difficulties but lack of motivation by passive students is a hindrance to the effective teaching. Teachers are grasping at straws, unlearning the old style of education and getting in tune with the new normal. Thinking out of the box, interactive applications, webinars and micro teaching are a few of the tests the teachers have passed with flying colours. Brad Henry has righty said, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.”
5 September 2020, an iconic year will be written in golden words for the posterity to remember. All these years, the best teachers were felicitated with meritorious awards at the local, state and central level as a mark of public gratitude to the praise worthy contributions in the field of education. With crisis comes challenges as well as opportunities for transformation. Teachers, the front liners in these blight days, happily have surrendered to the needs of the time. With their limited means, they have transformed their living rooms into the class rooms forfeiting the privacy of their family. They are trying to deal with their personal lives and take care of their own children and find innovative ways to make sure that learning continues in a fruitful manner. Trials, tests and frequent usage will rebalance the physical and virtual class. A teacher’s influence never stops, he moves along with his students till infinity.
This crisis will help us understand what teachers are. Education sector has united in the divided world, bridging connections across nations, continents and work in a unison at the global level. Let us salute the teachers globally for giving a new meaning to the learning experience.