Oh captain, my captain

264

By Tinky Ningombam

A lot of my friends celebrated their first Teacher’s Day with pride and an air of satisfied glee on finally being on the other side after years of donning the hat of a student. I am happy for them, maybe because of my secret wish to use the red pen, call out names from the attendance register or to hear them say in a synchronized “ Goooood Morrrrrninggg Teacher”.

And much to the surprise of the young students, even teachers learn along with the students. Every student is different, is it not?  We are not factory-made models are we? We definitely can’t be fit to a pattern.  That would be horrible.

Is the teacher always correct?

When do we stop agreeing to everything a teacher says? When do we really think “we don’t need no education”?

A teacher will not necessarily be always correct. A good teacher is someone who makes the students question and not just nod in agreement. I believe that a teacher who sends back a kid with a problem to solve is better than someone who seems to have all the answers. But no, we are made to believe that a teacher indeed has all the answers. No-one does. And you know that already.

Every student owes credit to the teachers who have been through our hardest trials as students. Somehow we also come to understand how smart our teachers were when we grow older. We grow up with teachers teaching about what our life should be, with them telling us how to spend time most parts of our life. Telling us what to learn, what to improve on, what to unlearn. And then learning them all over again.

“One of the first things we learn from our teachers is discernment: the ability to tell truth from fiction, to know when we have lost our center and how to find it again. Discernment is also one of the last things we learn, when we feel our paths diverge and we must separate from our mentors in order to stay true to ourselves.”- Anne Hill

A teacher should always have the better sense to have someone not agree to them.

Should education be school based?

We always end up in the age-old argument of why public schools or government schools are not considered better than private schools. A hundred things determine child education. But I will go on and say that Teachers are the prime factors that can make the difference.  In the end however, a system is a system is a system. Outrage, suspensions, complaints, these are not new for teachers who tried to bend the system and teach kids things that the establishment thought was not right for them.

Is Discipline in school just a form of regimentation? Do you not think that these are byproducts of the kind of teachers who tell them to “shut up “and be quiet in class? Who have not told them to say whatever they want to express, who should have made them come up with ideas then to wait to be spoonfed and memorize chapters? Teachers who have more trouble trying to complete their prescribed syllabus before another bandh cripples the state or before another bout of depression when their pay check fails to arrive. The question is how much does a teacher rely on the system  and should the system be so different from one school to another if what we are striving for is only one common goal, that of “excellence” in education , of producing a uniform regiment of young adults, either brainwashed or brain dead.

Does a system create a teacher or a teacher creates a system?

Isn’t education supposed to be imparted free? Should everyone not have the freedom to learn what he/she wants to learn? Well, no. I might want to learn how to make a bomb. But teaching how to make a bomb will be considered anti-social, anti-nationalist and criminal. Now that is a stark example. But you get my gist. We learn and teach in restraint. That is why we have grades and we distribute our syllabus. We distribute knowledge on the virtue of our intellect.

But as I say this, a kid learns more from the internet chat-rooms than they learn in a year of class. How does our education system try to incorporate that? Will we keep up pace with how the rest of the world is moving, how fast our kids are growing? We need regular checks in our education system, like any human-system. We need to review what kids are learning every year, year on year. We are moving in lightning’s pace in the real world. Why have drastic disparity on how we educate kids amongst such a small population. Our concern is to make kids be outstanding, and I do not mean just grades, we need smart kids… kids with ideas and hobbies and their individual point of view.

Look at the rest of the world, all the major political upheavals, global reforms, have students not been a huge part of that. While our kids are still trying to learn how to communicate in public, kids in other places are debating which president to vote for?

Are our youths today politically conscious?

It’s been long that I have spoken to a kid who understands our state politics. They do not care. We have a generation of kids who do not care. Maybe they will, after failed exams and failed employment trials, but now they do not care because no-one has told them to.

I bet 80% of the kids in our state do not know who is our governor is. And to all of them this will seem like a GK quiz and not something that they should know as citizens of tomorrow.

I leave with three questions:

Why is student and politics such a bad combo?

If our politics indeed spoils and corrupt now, should we not tell our kids to not repeat the same mistakes that the people of our former generations have done?

Should teachers not teach students to be politically sound and not pretend like we are living in two parallel universes where everything is hunky-dory and they will get employed once they come out of their dorms?

( “The effects you will have on your students are infinite and currently unknown; you will possibly shape the way they proceed in their careers, the way they will vote, the way they will behave as partners and spouses, the way they will raise their kids.” — Donna Quesada )

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