The Covid-19 pandemic forced schooling to move online for the better part of two years now. Without any doubt, the teachers have pulled off in inspiring ways in ensuring continuity of learning, mostly remotely.
The teachers took various initiatives on the ground to demonstrate how online teaching could be possible. Some teachers took measures and conducted classes within the community, mostly at far off places with students having no access to smartphones or better internet. They even managed to conduct classes when internet speed remained reduced to 2G. About 2G and 4G speed, a famous jurist once famously said that it was akin to comparing a bullock cart to a bullet train.
The pandemic changed how students are educated around the world. The teachers ensured that students keep the thread of education at home as well as meet stiff targets of the syllabi.
In India, Teachers’ Day is celebrated annually on September 5 to mark the birthday of the country’s former President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was born on this day in 1888.
When Dr Radhakrishan took the office of the second President of India in 1962, his students approached him to seek permission to celebrate September 5 as a special day. Dr Radhakrishnan instead made a request of them to observe September 5 as Teachers’ Day, to recognise the contribution of teachers to the society. Since then it is celebrated as the teachers’ day.
Teachers and students flourish in a relationship of mutual respect. Teachers’ Day is a reminder of that richness. The celebration and respect should not be limited to an annual day alone.
The crisis of the pandemic also must be used, not to ram through the fantasy of futuristic tech-savvy education. It must be used to empower the public school teacher with genuine autonomy and support. The private school teachers today often have a tough time economically, and many have lost the enthusiasm for teaching. Teachers in most private schools are still paid less than what they deserve. The government and society needs to work out means to address the issues facing them and ensure that they are paid so as to meet various challenges while they teach students.
All of us, whether children in school or not, should say and do more to express gratitude to the dedicated women and men who choose to teach.