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Yesterday was Teacher’s day – a day very special to my mom because she has been a teacher for more than 30 years now (and I forgot to wish her!) Mom is here for a while and something she said had me thinking…
She said that teachers who teach nursery and KG kids need to be really paid much much more than the profs who teach in universities or even higher than secondary/ higher secondary teachers….(Dad take note, ma thinks you are overpaid ;))
Her logic is that these are the teachers who mould kids’ brains, they are the ones who require infinite patience, teach the kids all the basics which they build on, who basically are the hands that rock the cradle…
She herself has moved from teaching class 12 students at the start of her career, down to teaching class 2, 3, 4 students. While she confesses that she could never ever teach KG students since she doesn’t have the patience, she does accept that it’s more enriching teaching smaller classes because the teacher has the ability to mould the students in a positive way.
She agrees that the higher the classes you teach, the more you need to know, but somehow, you lose your influence on the kids after a certain age. Yes, you can command respect, but the power you have to create an entire generation of strong minded kids is lost by the time the child is about 12 years old.
In R’s school, I think the average pay of the playgroup, daycare and nursery teachers is not more than 6-8 K (which hubby thinks is on the higher side – he thinks they get paid much less). The other day, the owner of the daycare told me that the education system is much better abroad and the teachers are more dedicated; I disagreed with him saying that I feel teachers in India are dedicated, but often disillusioned because of the pay difference from the industry. While university level profs are paid well, teachers in India are definitely poorly paid. For someone who is doing the job of creating, leading, being role models and teaching values to an entire generation, don’t they deserve the right to a good living?
He told me that he has problems retaining his teachers who leave at the drop of a hat because they get paid more elsewhere, so where is the dedication? Well, while I agree that as a teacher, your first priority is the child you teach, don’t you think teachers are also human and their families too need all that stuff that you and I need? While I didn’t argue too much with him on that, I wondered about it…
Often, we hear of teachers taking up additional tuition classes – I dont really blame them, a teacher’s salary is hardly enough in today’s world.
While loads of people do criticize the education system in India, etc etc, I think perhaps it’s time we pay more attention to the demands of the teachers. Instead of giving them tasks like working on the census, it’s time we empower them to empower the future generation..and it’s time that we accept that we still have a long way to go in giving the teachers the respect due to them.
Oh, by the way, Happy Teacher’s Day to all of you who are teachers to someone in some way 🙂
R’s Mom is a working mother in Mumbai trying to balance work, home and
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