Teachers are considered the torchbearers of the society; without the love and care of the teachers, it would not have been possible on the part of many to achieve successes. The influence of a teacher on students is immense; it does not have any limit! Most students blindly believe and depend on the decisions of the teachers; they believe that teachers cannot commit any mistakes although some teachers are seen to go off track very often. We, the parents, become carefree by sending our children to schools and the teachers take responsibility of our children’s education. Teachers are considered the second guardians of the children. When teachers do so important jobs for our children, we should think about teachers’ wellbeing as their welfare positively contributes to our happiness. In 1966, ILO and UNESCO set benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers— standard for initial preparation of a teacher, further education and training of a teacher, recruitment and deployment of teachers, and teaching and learning conditions in the institutions. If the stated factors can be ensured, it is hoped that teachers will be able to serve in the best possible way.
Although those aspects of teaching and learning were discussed more than five decades ago, the rights of teachers, enhancement of their quality, and expected teaching-learning conditions remained almost unachieved. On top of that, we celebrated the World Teachers’ Day 2021 when many teachers around the globe have lost their jobs, been receiving reduced pay, and leading miserable lives. On the contrary, huge responsibility is on teachers to recover the loss in the education sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I also firmly believe that teachers as the hardworking and conscious part of the society have huge responsibility to contribute to the recovery of the loss in education. Teachers will have to play the major role in this regard as teachers are at the heart of education. Although all the teachers around the globe had to heavily depend on the use of technology in order to keep the students engaged during the pandemic, Bill Gates has claimed, “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” When teachers do the most important job for us by educating our children and by trying to turning them into human resources, the society (parents, other professionals, the state, and so on) should show them proper respect. The Ministry of Education, Singapore wrote the following lines in their official website— “As teachers, you build the foundation of education. You equip students with essential skills and sound values to prepare them for life. Anticipate a career of lifelong learning, as you grow alongside your students.” As a teacher educator, I find a sense of honour for the teachers in the above lines; a kind of recognition. If we do not show proper respect to those who prepare all the professionals, will they be motivated to work wholeheartedly?
The aforementioned are what the society and the state can do for teachers. But, what can the teachers themselves do to improve their status in society? Let’s ask the following questions to ourselves: do we invest quality time for the institutions we work in? Do we love our profession? Do we love our students? Do we work for the students and the organisations other than teaching and assessing students? Do we mentor students and junior colleagues? Do the students feel our absence? Can the students depend on us? Do we read, write, discuss with colleagues, students and browse the Internet for preparation to teach? Do we eagerly avail any opportunity for professional development? Do we look for any professional improvement opportunity?
If all the answers are YES, I become optimistic as a teacher that we are on right track but if the answers to 50% or more questions are NO, I see darkness ahead and we need to be committed to the nation before expecting recognition. Recognition may come after long years of hard work!
Therefore, let’s promise to work harder for the students and for our professional development. The future teachers will see better days and they will present the world better nations.
The writer is an educational
researcher and Associate Professor, currently posted at Govt. Teachers’ Training College, Dhaka