On being a Teacher..

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Who is a teacher? A teacher is a person who imparts education and knowledge to students. The term “teacher” is generally used for people teaching in schools. At the University level, the term ‘professor’ is used. A teacher who educates an individual is called a personal ‘tutor’ or largely a ‘governess’. And spiritual or religious teachers such as ‘gurus’, ‘rabbis’ and ‘mullahs’ impart to their followers, the teachings in the Holy texts such as the “Quran”, the “Bible”, the “Torah” etc.

Up until now, we have all had numerous teachers who have taught us all that we know. Our teachers have played an extremely big role in shaping our personalities, in helping us realise our talents, in guiding us to become what we are today. I can easily name 5 teachers, who have had a great influence in making me who I am today. And I will forever be indebted to them.

But if we were to think from our teachers’ perspectives, how would we feel? Is being a teacher an easy job? Does it only mean receiving a paycheck every month, and enjoying vacations in summer and winter, and having only a day-job? Does being a teacher mean that we do not really have to work, but we just have to go into class, and teach the same thing again and again, every year? Maybe not…

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A teacher’s job is one of the most important jobs out there. A teacher has the great responsibility of shaping young minds, and nurturing their thoughts to create great individuals, who will be the “future”. Every word a teacher says, can have a great impact on the students. A teacher should be able to inspire the students to achieve the best they can. A teacher has to always be ready to solve any problem which her students face. A teacher has to be strict yet loving, knowledgeable, yet not a preacher, a guide but not an imposer.

 

As difficult and important being a teacher is, it also has its perks. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Teachers receive solid paychecks every month. Though it is not as much as to make a very great difference to their bank balance, and make them super rich, yet it is comparable to salaries given in other professions. And raises for commendable performance are added advantages.
  2. Teachers get the weekends, holidays and summer and winter off. Though that does not mean that they get “vacations”.
  3. Teachers receive other benefits such as health benefits, and retirement pensions, which are not very common in today’s economy.
  4. Probably a BIG advantage is that teachers do not have to pay income tax. A teacher’s job is non-taxable.
  5. A teacher’s schedule matches with his or her children. So their family does not feel neglected, as they share ample time each day ,and on holidays, and weekends.
  6. Probably the best moments in a teacher’s life are when his or her students choose them as “their favourite teacher”, or when they choose them to be their confidantes.
  7. The bonds formed between a teacher and a student lasts a lifetime. I am still in very close touch with teachers who taught me when I was in classes 3 and 4. And I am sure this is the case with many people. Especially since we have new-age technology such as facebook and twitter and e-mails etc.
  8. Not only does a teacher teach others, but they also keep learning new things themselves. A teacher’s mind is like an Encyclopaedia, full of knowledge. Where the old information keeps getting revised, and new information keeps getting added.
  9. A teacher finds many friends in his or her colleagues. Because they are part of the same field, they form a deep understanding, and such friendships may last a lifetime.
  10.  That sense of relief when the students finally understand something they were having a problem with. Also the great feeling when all the students do comparatively well in the exams.
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These are just some of the advantages of being a teacher. There are simply too many “ah-ha” moments which teachers face everyday. Waking up each morning, knowing you have a class of 40+ chirpy faces waiting for you, can really bring a smile on anyone’s face, who simply loves to teach. But there are also a few disadvantages. Teachers do not have it as easy as we think. Some of the cons are as follows:

  1. There are so many students in a class. An average class in a school has 35-40 students. And catering to the needs of each one of them is so tough. And especially if the students are very small, then the teacher has a very tough time trying to handle so many kids together. He/she has to solve problems like small fights among them, helping a student who does not understand something as easily, making sure they eat their tiffin, making sure they do not dirty their uniform, to name a few. Phew! Just this one point seems like a very very tough thing teachers have to face everyday.
  2. Teachers have to face many problems from the administration of the school. Red-tape and inelastic rules make it very tough for teachers to do their jobs effectively. At times a teacher might have a great, creative idea, but the principal might not agree to it. Or maybe the principal takes the parents’ side in case of any problem.
  3. Students. Students can be both a pro and a con. Some naughty students might like to “bully” their teacher, and to humiliate the teacher in front of the entire class. They make jokes behind the teachers’ back, disrespect the teacher, and refuse to listen to them, no matter what the teacher resorts to. It can be very frustrating to deal with this.
  4. Some parents also cause a lot of problems for teachers. They believe that their darling child “should” get more marks, or they demand special attention for their children, irrespective of the efforts the teacher is already making. Overly critical parents are a very big problem for any teacher.
  5. Teachers not only give homework, but they also have to prepare for class each day. Also at times, teachers have to pay out of their own pockets, for materials they distribute in class.
  6. Another very big disadvantage is that in most schools, teachers are paid on a 10 month salary system, which implies that they are not paid during the vacations. So as much as they enjoy the time-off, they would rather go to school and earn that money.
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So you see, being a teacher is not all that easy. Many people undermine the job of a teacher, and think that it is one of the most easy things to do. But it is definitely not. A teacher has to keep studying for his/her entire career. They have to keep updating themselves, so that they can teach their students better. Teachers have to be so careful with students because they can really make or break their future. Wrong guidance can really ruin someone’s life, and being responsible for that is not an easy thing to deal with. Teachers meet new students every year; they have no idea at the beginning of the term as to how their students will be. Every year, they have to create a good impression on the students, and have to earn respect. They go to class every day without knowing what kind of situation they might have to deal with.

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So to every student reading this—love and respect your teachers. Even if they are strict, they are doing it to make a better you. They have nothing against you, and their love is hidden in their scolding. It is not easy dealing with so many people single-handedly, so try and co-operate as much as you can. Being a teacher is a great thing, but not an easy thing, so students, do not make it tougher for them. And you never know, you might get a great guide, friend, philosopher in the form of your teacher, whom you will cherish for life.

More power to the people who enlighten minds, and shape a better tomorrow. Kudos to every teacher out there!

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