It is truly said, “The root of education is bitter but its fruit is sweet.” This saying is commonly used by young students in their compositions with perhaps little or inadequate understanding of its meaning. The root of education, to me, is the foundation that the teacher lays in the learner. This foundation-laying is not an easy task. It means a lot of effort and unlimited patience but the sight of the learners’ learning things that s/he teaches gives immense pleasure or satisfaction. This contentment is what I call the ‘fruit’ which is sweet – in fact, much sweeter than any sweet in the world.
Our education system has come up with drastic changes from the time of our forefathers till now in terms of the quality of imparting lessons to students, qualification of teachers, usage of teaching learning materials and teaching strategies being used etc…The changes have taken their positive development in the education system. However, I feel that there is some difference in the attitude of learners of today from that of those in past. One should consider education their top priority in the technical and competitive world where everything advances so fast. But, do the majority of present learners have that priority?
When I recollect my days as a student, I remember the sufferings and the hardships of my parents to educate us. We were frequently reminded of the reward of working hard, the importance of education, value of money and host of lot. But nowadays, how far the present generation of students understands all those things? In stead, they want whatever they see in the shops; they want expensive mobile phones and want to enjoy the luxuries of life and will be happy if their parents drive them to schools in cars instead of scooters. Many different faces show up to us in the schools yearly but we rarely come across children who believe in working hard and who understand the struggles of parents etc... In my service so far, I have come across students with different abilities from which I too learn many things.
As a student once, I always felt that teaching was an easy task demanding little work; that teaching is where the teacher just taught what is there in the text book. But now, in the shoes of a teacher, I know the challenges, the enjoyment and courage required to face challenging situations provoked by the students. I had once dreamt of being teacher and I could clearly remember me as a senior student all the time volunteering as a substitute teacher in the primary classes when our teachers had meetings. What I used to do was conduct spelling tests whether I knew spelling myself much or not, give ‘star’ to the highest scorer and sometimes let boys and girls compete in singing and so on. I was thrilled to see the smile and excitement on those faces and I too enjoyed. I never knew of other works the teachers do besides teaching. But now I understand and know about those extra miles that teachers take for the sake of their students and schools.
If I compare our profession with other professions, I feel we don’t have ‘off hours’ whereas other civil servants often do enjoy that. I don’t mean that other professions are easy tasks; nor do I mean that I do not enjoy my profession. The gist is that other professions are quite light compared with teaching. Non- teaching professions are time-bound – within office hours. But teachers bring their office home.
I have served my first years of teaching year in Dorokha MSS and now in Thinleygang PS, both of which are boarding schools. Having to look after the children right from 6AM till 6 PM (for some, beyond that) lets our own biological children feel neglected sometimes. For that reason, some teacher-mothers need to keep their toddlers after maternity away from them just to fulfill their responsibility. I am also one such mother-teacher. Do other professionals need to do such sacrifices? However, all such challenges make me more determined, stronger in life- putting more effort to balance our professional, social and personal life. Especially a lady teacher in our social set-up needs to play many roles (role of a mother, a teacher, a housewife, a daughter and a friend, etc..). Every role has to be played well and if any role fails then things get messed up.
A teacher is said to be a Guru but that Guru has no freedom even to laugh out openly, cannot show sadness she/he has inside, cannot dress the way he/she likes and etc… because tiny, affectionate and learning eyes are watching the Guru and ‘YOU’ is a role model. Actually, I feel I am pretending to be what actually I am not but now this has become part of me and I am used to be what I am not. Sometimes, I really miss those golden school days where my work was just to listen to what teacher taught and write what we knew and besides help my family and enjoy life with friends. But these pleasant things in life students of today do not understand and they often waste their time by indulging themselves in unwanted stuffs. At night, everybody goes to bed expecting good sleep and beautiful dreams but a teacher goes with a reflection of how things went or what to do to help a weak child or a disruptive student.
Life is not as simple as we feel but is a mixture of fun, challenges and sorrows, etc…But still I feel that the teaching profession is an enviable one and it has really taught me a lot. It has always shaped me into what I was not and helped me to be a better person. This profession gives me ample opportunities to grow and enrich me with experiences to face any new challenging situations that I had, I have and I will confront hereafter.