Monday 22 October 2012

On being a teacher ...

I attended  Gurucharan Das's  "India grows at night" book release function by BDB Book club.

I liked his style and picked up his "Difficulty of being good" for reading.

It is lucid and brilliantly written book. It uses Mahabharat - its characters, and the various dilemma they face in dealing with the ethical questions. Most appealing aspect of the book is the way author brings his learning from the stories to the ethical dilemmas that we face in our day to day life. Most importantly - why be good ?

To make his point across , he narrated the story of primary school teacher , published in "Times of India" in 2005. In his own words ,
..  a man who has bicycled 32 kilometers each day for the past twenty years without missing a single day of school. Because of his commitment, as well his ability to inspire students, a surprising number of his former students went on to become hugely famous.  When asked about the roots of his motivation, he answered, 'Teaching is my dharma,'..
I could not locate the original story online. But it is riveting. I can sense from my own experience and can see around that the teachers who do their work as "dharma" or "swabhaava" - are touching the life of their students.

Question that is more pertinent is - can this "calling/swabhaava" be nurtured in first place ? if yes , "how can we nurture this".  It is more riveting - when the same book points to the 2004 research of Michael Kremer of Harvard university along with world bank members that ,
One in four teachers in our government primary schools is absent and one in four, although present, is not teaching. Thus one in two teachers out of roughly 1.5 million primary school teachers is not doing his/her job.
If we repeat this for graduate and post-graduate teachers ,will the results really change to opposite side of spectrum ? Hence nurturing the calling for teachers - will be important question !.

(Image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gurcharan_Das_%28as_on_26-Sep-2012%29.jpg )