Should I Recommend Teaching as a Profession

in Contemporary Times?

In a talk addressed to the faculties recently, our director asked the audience as to whether any of the faculties have in their lifetime advised the bright students whom they have taught to take up teaching as a profession. We encourage and express our joy when the students take up a job at Google, IBM, and such coveted companies, but have we done our bit to promote teaching as a career amongst our students? This question was enough for me to put on my thinking cap. Would I recommend any students to take up teaching as a Profession?

Three or four decades back when I was a student, I used to see teachers who were a different lot. Society was not materialistically oriented with gizmos to play around., and so the teachers had an unmechanical way of going about their profession, arguably more idealistic and grounded as well as inspiring in their devotion. Nowadays faculties aren’t so impoverished as the teacher of yore. Almost 80-90 percent of faculty members who come to the educational institutes are reasonably well-off and own their personal cars. Even teachers' salaries have increased manifold compared to yesteryears, but still not comparable with that of the industry.

In the first decade and a half of my career, I worked in system administration, along with teaching and training in the periphery. Thereafter in the next eighteen years, I only teach for a livelihood. Does teaching give me an unadulterated high? Well, to be honest, this is a tough one. Over the years I have seen education undergo a transformation, especially in the last 10-12 years, when the institutes have begun focusing on accreditations and rankings and a mostly ersatz kind of research that has relegated the emphasis on teaching from the only job to that of one in the essential’s list. I absolutely love the company of books and of knowledge, but when Goddess Lakshmi is given more prominence in a temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswati (unstated though yet obvious to a discerning eye), it goes without saying that everything can’t be hunky dory on paradise.

You probably think I am trying to dissuade newer prospects into the profession. Far from it. Yes, as a teacher in modern Indian society, you may run the risk of losing your job if you ask students to vote for educated politicians. Yet I am also reminded of the resolute but oppressed teacher played by Soumitro Chattopadhyay in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Hirak Rajar Deshe’, and how he refused to teach falsehood to his students, even when the evil ruler unleashed his reign of terror over his subjects. Teachers are a beacon of hope in any society. Their toil may go unnoticed or even ridiculed in a society ruled by politicians and entertainers, but they are the only glimmer of hope to take society in the right direction. Teachers contribute immensely towards motivating and skilling the best of professionals, be they scientists or doctors, or any conceivable profession.


More by :  Subhajit Ghosh

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Views: 272      Comments: 2

Comment Thanks G Swaminathan for the feedback. The monetary aspect is certainly true of recent times. Can't say whether one is doing full justification to one's profession but certainly all efforts are geared towards that end...

16-Dec-2023 07:33 AM

Comment Very well-written illuminating writeup on the teaching profession. You have listed all the good qualities and expectations in this noble profession. Nevertheless, times have changed and today every individual is valued for what they have monetarily earned. A good teacher is always remembered and I remember my teachers. But, though I too worked as a teaching faculty for a short time, I cannot claim the same except in certain instances. Happy that you like your profession and doing justice to it.

G Swaminathan
14-Dec-2023 20:39 PM

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