The Kathmandu Post. 1 August 2007

Celebration of Teachers’ Day every year gets some credit for bringing awareness in the growing minds about the value of teachers. On the day, an inquisitive school-goer would look at his teachers and say to himself, “Yes, they know many things. They are smarter than many other people in the society. Many people respect them.” He may know the actual reasons in growing up: it is because they have read books, and learnt from more mature persons. Later, he may also learn that they are and should be useful models in the society. This knowledge of the value of education and the respect accorded to educators may make him desire more learning for himself. And the teachers? To them the celebration would be reminder that the veneration the young students have given them reflects the quintessence of teaching as a great work.

Yes, teaching, like learning, is a reward in itself. Several factors make it a rewarding job. Most important of all, it is a chance to work with good people. It is the chance to share a common mission: to create and share knowledge. The actual reward comes from being able to perform the pious duty of helping other fellow beings attain intellectual growth and maturity. Besides, teaching offers many opportunities to know people, and to multiply the number of friends and well-wishers. Each new academic session brings new acquaintances that are a source of emotional security. And it does not happen just once, but over the years. Finally, the piety of job itself entails prevention of dishonesty and perversion. In many cases, teachers act as role models – both in knowledge and conduct. They are guided by ethical needs to continuously update and polish themselves.

Teaching involves some productive challenges. First, you can’t afford to be lazy. A simple rule in teaching is that you must continuously update yourself. If you are earnest about giving justice to your work, you must try to make every teaching a new teaching, and every year a different year. It is necessary for teachers to be smarter than students. To be smart and knowledgeable pays by building the first necessary infrastructures in teaching, mutual trust and respect between teachers and students. Second, you can’t be dishonest. Dishonesty does not go with real teaching. Dishonest persons are not only unfit in teaching, but are also rejected in any good job. Even if honesty may not pay materially, it saves one from the potential feeling of self-deception and social sin.

Certain external factors help you sustain in teaching, and these are probably the prerequisites to join the field. The first is security – both emotional and physical – and strong support of the society and the government. Second is a good team of devoted and understanding people. This is because teaching is a collective venture and a lot of educational and emotional support is needed in the work. Third is the availability of minimum infrastructures. Fulfillment of these conditions backed by the inspiration to explore the spirit of service to the society would certainly encourage people to join teaching, or at least continue it if they are already in. However, there is a common belief that teachers should be spared of the burden of creating infrastructures. In a true sense the main responsibility of teachers is to generate and impart knowledge and skills, which is the spiritual infrastructure that the society needs. Equally, teachers are also expected to be capable of creating opportunities for others. A teaching institution thrives when its teachers are able to multiply knowledge and opportunities, especially in the present context, when there is competition in the field of education. Competition is a productive force; it does not allow creative minds to go to disuse. It saves scholars from “teaching one year many times.”

However, teaching is not the profession where money multiplies. You may or may not be paid sufficiently for the service you provide. Your satisfaction does not necessarily lie in your monetary earning. But the fact that teaching is of value as log as human beings live in the earth with their naturally inquisitive minds always underscores the existence of teachers. The fact that you are needed and respected in the field must keep you attached to this pious job and social service. Teaching is not a thankless job, though the rewards are not immediate and obvious. The real reward lies in being useful to the society. A teacher is an adventurer; a person who seeks novel spaces in every adventure as a test of his/her strength to persevere odds of life in the mission of helping minds to thrive.

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By hkafle

I am a University teacher, with passion for literature and music.

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