When I post graduated last year, the thought that ate my brains out was, "what next?". Though I did not know what next, I certainly knew "what not to?". A school teaching career sat somewhere in the hidden margins of the page that was adorned with my to-do list. Obviousely, a 'good' student like me should look out for better options life has in store, I had to look for the 'accha' job. As it turned out, life lessons starts out from the margins. A good friend (and I am forever indebted to you for this) sent me a vacancy notice of a school in Gurgaon and persuaded me to apply for the post of PGT Psychology. I went through the test rounds, interview rounds and just as I had hoped, cleared it all with flying colours. You see, I was the 'Good' student. However, here started my battle with the accha job inspectors.
To begin with, my parents were extremely heart broken with my decision to start working as a school teacher. The irony here is that my mother herself is a teacher and has been successfully employed as primary wing coordinator for the past 10 years. I don't blame her though, she is after all a product of capitalism- if it doesn't pay you big bucks, its just not worth it. Then, came a set social vultures, who interrogated my parents for their decision in 'allowing' me to continue with a teaching career. "But why?" was a constant rhetoric and my parents would cut a sorry figure with no answer to give. I was spared with mere looks that one would pass on a to dying puppy. Apparently, I had become a social pariah where the items on display required a fancy 'job description' to deserve a shelf space.
My self esteem was thrashed and torn to bits for the social scavengers to prey upon. And then my first class happened. Can you imagine walking into a room full of 25 curious, excited minds waiting to pounce on you with an endless stream of questions? It is an exhilarating experience and I knew, despite what the world thought, I was in the right place. Everyday, I read, learn, unlearn, question, answer, think, over a wide variety of topics and in this one year I know I have grown in ways I never fathomed.
We all want our children to be taught by good teachers, be surrounded by facilitators who are well-read and informed. However, none of the good students are expected to become teachers. Isn't it a disturbing paradox? One of the main reasons why teaching career is shunned by the 'creamy academic' layer because of is its poor monetary compensation. I have been fortunate enough to be employed in an organization that pays me a good package with adequate opportunities of growth. However, I strive to explore the essence of being a teacher beyond a monetary evaluation. I want to remind the world, that the very basics they have built their life on, was because of a good teacher in school who created opportunities for young minds, like theirs, to grow and expand.
In several countries, teachers are revered for their contribution to the society and their role in creating a better future for the country. In Japan and China, their status is accorded a place along with doctors and top government officials, because they believe all these professions are working towards the benifit of the country with a selfless engagement with humanity. I don't dream of high laurels for the work I do. I do what I do because it makes me happy, content and satisfied. Dignity of labour was never a value held high in our country and hence I don't expect a overnight transformation to an age-old thought. However, I have decided to add laurels to my self esteem and every class where a child tells me that they enjoyed learning with me, is an added feather to my cap.
Dear teachers around the globe, be proud of your profession because there is none other where you get the opportunity to be a lifelong student.
Stop growing, start learning!