An Extract from a Teacher’s Diary

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Margaret Fishback Powers said, “One hundred years from now on, it will not matter what kind of car you drove, what kind of house you lived in, how much you had in your bank account or what your clothes looked like, but the world may be a little better because you were important in the life of a child.“

Assess the worth of a person who plays a vital role in the lives of a number of children. Of course it’s none other than a teacher. Teachers are the role models who inspire us, guide us and lead us through the paths of life. Behind every success and failure of ours, there’s a mentor or a leader.
When I questioned myself why do I want to be a teacher despite multiple inhibitions about the profession, I found that it’s only because of the great teachers I had in my life. Whether it’s my junior class petite and polite instructors Maams Tabassum, Naheed and Aforze or secondary school exemplary educators Ms.Naseem, Safia, Mrs Siddiqui and Yahya, they remain a source of inspiration and enlightenment through the thick and thin of my life. They role model for their students, discover their potentials and polish their personalities in every way possible

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I luckily found great facilitators in college and university too. Ms Mehta’s style, Ms Shafqat’s charm. Ms Baig’s poise, Maam Gulzar’s concern and Ms Sahida’s radical thoughts opened new vistas to many of us and we blossomed into confident young ladies from perplexed teenagers.
I always wonder if I could ever be as valuable to my students as my teachers were. One who have the insight to make its scholars think, question and discover.While a good teacher is a blessing, an incompetent one can easily turn a student’s life into a hell. Students lose their belief in goodness of mankind when teachers exhibit attitude problems and prejudiced behavior.

Unfortunately, commercialization of education in Pakistan has reduced teachers into paid tutors dealing with clients rather than students. This transformation has changed most values about teacher-student relationship. Leaving exceptions, most private educational institutions are selling education at high rates. Teaching there is just a mean to produce labeled degree-holders that can acquire attractive jobs with handsome salaries only. Parents also seek for the result-oriented education that ensures fast-track secure career.

In such a demanding market-oriented environment, teachers are to drill numerous syllabus topics into students mind, assess them to achieve high grades and arrange extravagant activities to justify exorbitant education cost to its customers. The concept of truly devoted teachers with a genuine interest in students’ character building is thus extinct. The selfless dedication of instructors and unconditional devotion of students are long-lost. Reciprocally most teachers are losing their status and charisma at the cost of declining education standards despite better packages and increasing ventures at numerous educational institutions.

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I got a chance to teach at different levels; from high school to college and undergraduate to graduate and even post-graduate levels in different stages of my teaching career. On the basis of which I can say with all honesty that students from middle and lower social stratus still exhibit keen interest in their studies and genuine respect for their mentors.

However, my experiences with some of the City’s posh institutions were devastating. The affluent parents send away their spoil brats in these renowned educational institutions for a reputed degree. It’s, therefore, teachers foremost duty to please their customers anyway. I often wonder their casual mannerism. The never let a chance to demoralize their mentors. Be it a bad joke, suggestive remarks, howling sounds or arguments over assessment, they like to get an edge. However, very few show true intellect and interest in studies. Since students have a say at management level and teachers are hired,promoted and demoted on their feedback, most teachers grade them leniently to acquire students’ acknowledgement.

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It’s true that a teacher is a key factor in the class but s/he is not working in isolation. Students nowadays enjoy an equal status to make or frustrate a teacher. Teachers who teach social sciences, liberal arts, literature and languages often face tough time with their students since most of them consider these disciplines inferior to hardcore science and business subjects that can lead them to a standard degree and sound job.

Our educational institutions and society are equally responsible to reinforce the due status of teachers along with the essence of education. Appreciation for Art, Philosophy, Literature, Ethics and Religion and Social sciences must be developed, as these are the spirit of human existence and self-realization. We as a society need to understand that “Without respecting educators and education, we will remain backward and ignorant.”

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