A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
– Henry Adams
Our education, the formal preparation for the life ahead, starts much before we become conscious of it. At home, led and guided by our parents, we taste the first joys of achievement and encouragement. As we grow, our learning experiences multiply and expand to include other people around us – the most significant of them all being our ‘teachers’.
Excluding our immediate family, a teacher alone shapes and guides the course of our lives. Looking back, we can always see traces of her in us and the way we deal with life. Moreover, a teacher determines the future, of not just an individual, but the society and the nation as a whole. A group of positively charged, healthy and honest pupils grow up to form a healthy and honest society. Trying to estimate how many pupils a single teacher teaches, touches and inspires in her lifetime, is to try and judge how brilliantly a star can shine. Much before the age of books and technology, teachers were the sole knowledge providers who performed the vital task of passing on knowledge from one generation to another. History books are full of names of extraordinary people who performed extraordinary feats, but not of teachers who persistently and patiently taught these men.
When young, teachers are our sole role models. They are followed, mimicked and idealized. There is a charm in being like the teacher; no wonder playing ‘teacher’ is the favourite game among friends. But these games are soon forgotten, along with our childhood dreams. The desire to one day become a teacher is, in turn, substituted by the other professions like medicine, engineering or management. The significance of the teaching profession diminishes even though our teacher’s impact on our life continues. Today teaching is viewed as a convenient profession taken up by those who are thought not cut out for professions that are competitive, demanding and hence more rewarding. Yet, teaching continues to be the most rewarding and noble professions of all – the one profession that helps you turn your compassion for human growth to a passion for teaching.
It is a real challenge to teach and, to teach efficiently. As a profession teaching has been in a constant flux. Teachers have had to learn and unlearn a lot in order to do justice to the role of a mentor, a guide, a nurturer, educator, philosopher and a friend. No longer is their role limited to that of an ‘information provider’. Teachers today have taken up multi faceted roles. The responsibility of nurturing uniqueness and inculcating values into the young impressionable minds falls solely onto the shoulders of a teacher. They act as mentors and help students make the best of their potential. They bring in creative ways of teaching and try to cater to the individual differences of their students. They educate students on various life skills and empower them, enabling them to live a productive life. Having an understanding of the emotional and psychological needs of the age group they even act as counselors, trying to understand, heal and motivate their charge in times of emotional upheaval. No wonder a student always reaches out to her teachers for help. It is thus evident that without teachers, and their major contribution to the society, a lot would have remained unaccomplished and unexploited.
What is much more astounding is that their achievement and reward lies in the achievements of their students. The satisfaction of being able to touch innumerable lives and transform them surpasses all, a miracle in many!
– Dr. Nimrat Singh