Teachers' Day is 'teach us day'
(I will give my Teachers Grateful Praise)

Fr. Paul Lelen Haokip *

A Tribute To The Teachers at Don Bosco College, Maram :: September 05 2012
A Tribute To The Teachers at Don Bosco College, Maram on September 05 2012 :: Pix - DBC Maram


I sought wisdom openly in my prayer and I will search for her to the last (Sirach 51:13-14). Skinner opines that "Teachers need to understand our culture, and they need to understand themselves as guides of the young. To such understanding, psychology has much to contribute." Therefore, 'Teachers heal Yourself'.

Even from a young age, every child seems to be attracted or frightened by one or more of his/her teachers at the temple of learning - at home or school. Each person on earth creates a trail. Every move determines where one is heading and what one has achieved. To direct that careful move, a teacher is an indispensable agent. Among the many teachers - some are for their students; some just wait for the pay, some for the tuition at home, some for the students in and outside the campus. Here comes the teachers with a difference who teache us.

Why the need for a Teacher or Teachers' Day:

Rich or poor, prince or pauper, every individual who intends to be empowered benefits greatly from the guidance of able gurus. In Sanskrit, 'gu' is one who dispels and 'ru' means darkness. Everyone who wishes to rise above his nature requires a teacher. Come September, you can find students at schools and colleges preparing to felicitate and thank their teachers and celebrate the memorable "Teachers' Day". The most common address one could afford to a stranger is "Sir/Miss/Madam".

But will it is be worth calling someone Sir./Miss./Mrs. if that person hasn't much to offer the world in terms of professional teaching? All the same, we usually address someone as teacher. The idea of celebrating Teachers' Day took ground independently in many countries during the 20th century; in most cases, they celebrate a local educator or an important milestone in education (for example, Argentina commemorates Domingo Faustino Sarmiento's death on September 11 since 1915, while India celebrates Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan's birthday on September 5 since 1962). These two factors explain why almost all countries celebrate this day though on different dates, unlike many other International Days.

When Swami Vivekananda first visited Ramkrishna Paramahansa he asked: "I have read the Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures several times, I lecture and give discourse on the Gita and Ramayana. Do I still need harbour of a saint, do I still need a guru?" Ramakrishna didn't reply to Vivekananda. After a few days, Ramakrishna called upon Vivekananda and handed him a parcel to be delivered at a nearby village. Early morning the boat and sailor would be ready and all he needed to do was to go to the village and deliver the parcel to the designated person. Vivekananda agreed and decided to start early. He found the boat and the sailor ready. Suddenly, upon sitting in the boat, Vivekananda realize that he didn't know the road to the village. He inquired of the sailor who had no clue either.

Vivekananda decided to go back to his guru to ask him the shortest way to the village. Upon this Ramakrishna said, "Narendra, this is my reply to the question you asked me when we met the first time. Today, you have the medium (the boat), you have the resource (the sailor), you have the road (the sea), you know what to do (deliver the parcel) and you also know where to go but you don't know the way. Likewise you have read all the scriptures, and you can conduct wonderful discourse on them. However, to realize the wisdom of scriptures one needs a guru, someone who has traversed that path so that he can guide you through the journey and encourage you not to give up".

A workman needs good tools:

Today, along with the gesture of gratefulness comes also the expectations. Teachers in different branches of study do require certain amount of professionalism and expertise. When the below general expectations are highlighted - particular knowledge for workmanship is not denied.

Some of the expected qualities in a teacher:

  1. He/she should be able to obey authority before commanding the pupils.
  2. Should possess refined professional personality.
  3. Be an inspirer and a fashioner of human destiny and dream moulder.
  4. Should have academic requirement and experience.
  5. Be a free person to interpret culture and challenge authority and power for the betterment of the society.
  6. Should express opinions without fear and malice.
  7. Encourage the students for a critical thinking and pursuit for truth.
  8. Humility is a must. Must realize that knowledge has no stop or boundary.
  9. A constant need to search for more should be a teacher's mentality.
  10. From self examination to societal examination, he/she strives for transformation
Relation between a Teacher and a Student:

Sometimes you hear a comment like this "this student is awful and incorrigible". Perhaps a closer check unfolds that the student's teachers at home possess the same quality. Where do we begin teaching exactly? We can't begin with the students themselves. A teacher, though paid just a minimum, still needs to walk the extra mile to tutor the parents of the students to take good care of the young minds.

A student during his school life up to 10+2 spends about 25,000 hours in the school campus. His life is, more influenced by the teachers and the school environment. Therefore, the school must have the best of teachers with ability to teach and love teaching and build moral qualities. Teachers should become role models. Similarly, the student must be alert to build himself/herself with best of qualities and to get ignited with a vision for his or her future life.

"Teachers… ultimately determine our collective ability to innovate, to invent, to find solutions for tomorrow. Nothing will ever replace a good teacher. Nothing is more important than supporting them." (Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General). A teacher with a difference not only completes the syllabus but makes the students feel at ease with the matter discussed.

According to Kireet Joshi Report, "But the word 'teacher' does not refer to those who train pupils merely for making a living not as it is sometimes said for preparing slave to machine or to an affine or to a simple money-making skill. It is true that a teacher with a vision can give liberal orientation to instruction in any special skill or vocation.

The word 'teacher', however refers to those who impart education filled for a free man, free to order his life according to his well-conceived thought and philosophy of life, free from whatever social and other pressures which inhibit or compel the mind of man [Report of the Working Groups to Review Teachers Teaching Training Program (in the light of the need for value).


Teacher is a model, counselor, guide, motivator and organizer. He/she is expected to bring the community to the class room and take the school/pupils to the community. The word 'teacher' can be bisected as teach+her where the last letter of 'teach' and the first letter of 'her' is the end and beginning. A teacher may end his/her life in the teaching field which becomes the beginning of the life of his/her pupils. What a dignified task. Thanks to the Government of India for its implementation of RTE and the various benefits accorded with it.

The teaching profession has been the oldest and noblest profession on record. It may not be monetarily rewarding but a Guru always draws satisfaction and jumps with joy when the Shiksha excels in life. Even before formal and standardized institutions for impartment of knowledge, parents did start that work. Caretakers of children are actually the first teachers themselves. More than a profession, it's a vocation - a call to serve for life. Just as gold is tested in fire, should the selection of teachers (who are to teach others) for teaching posts not undergo the crucible of fairness and merit accompanied by experience?

Thank You teachers! Long Live Teachers!

* Fr. Paul Lelen Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express and Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer can be contacted at paulhowkeep(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in
This article was posted on September 05, 2012.

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