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The truth is: our school system is broken. So who is responsible for this deplorable situation? One of the major factors is the teachers who instead of guiding and motivating students have the exact opposite effect.
Albert Einstein once said, “ if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” He would know. After all the worlds greatest theoretical physicist was once told by a teacher that he would ‘never amount to much’. Thankfully for the world of physics, Einstein did not take his teacher’s words to heart and went on to become a Nobel Prize winner and a name that students around the World dread and fear.
One wonders how many Albert Einsteins the Indian education system is hiding. Or Thomas Edison’s or Mark Twain’s or Oprah Winfrey’s or simply amazing kind talented wonderful souls who are just not made for cramming and rote learning.
The truth is: our school system is broken. It caters to an extremely small percentage of the population while the majority of students struggle and suffer. Students enter the school on the first day of kindergarten excited and enthusiastic, however as the years pass they end up exhausted and disillusioned.
They lose interest in learning and their creativity fades under the strain of memorization and standardized testing. They attend hours of coaching and tuition, forgo their social lives and neglect their mental and physical health in an attempt to clear exams such as NEET, IIT and UPSC Civil Services exam. Those who are unable to keep up face ridicule from their peers and society as well as the disapproval of their parents. These pressures can have negative effects on young people as highlighted by the disturbing data provided by from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) (2015) that one student commits suicide in India every hour.
So who is responsible for this deplorable situation? One of the major factors is the teachers who instead of guiding and motivating students have the exact opposite effect.
From an early age, we are taught to respect our teachers. And yes most of them are deserving of our respect and our thanks. Yet there are some who think that teaching is a chore or a burden, who focus all their attention on the front bench students, who enjoy the power trip a little too much, who humiliate and belittle students just because they can, who takes joy in making learning a nightmare. I wonder what pleasure this behaviour brings them and can’t imagine how easily they seem to have forgotten their own student days
The importance of a good teacher is impossible to overstate. A good teacher instils a love of learning in his or her students. They are kind, understanding, patient and impartial. They do not discriminate or favour students in any way whether in attendance, marks or exemptions from work yet they are sympathetic to the needs and circumstances of the students. They are inclusive and make an effort to involve every student. They encourage learning for the sake of knowledge and praise students for efforts rather than grades. They make students anticipate the school day instead of dreading it. Unfortunately, such teachers are like white tigers- very very rare.
So here’s to the students who have felt like a fish being judged for its ability to climb a tree- don’t worry you aren’t stupid. Find what you are good at, what motivates you and makes you happy and do it regardless of anyone’s expectations. I’d like to conclude with a quote by American professor Daniel Goldston who says:
“If you’re going to be passionate about something, be passionate about learning. If you’re going to fight something, fight for those in need. If you’re going to question something, question authority. If you’re going to lose something, lose your inhibitions. If you’re going to gain something, gain respect and confidence. And if you’re going to hate something, hate the false idea that you are not capable of your dreams.”
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