we expect too much from teachers…

… and also from schools, and very little from us. Of course there are a few exceptons, as I would mention always, but then…

(this would be part #8 of the ‘frequently avoided questions on education’ series)

I think, we as parents (mostly clueless, that is – it takes one to know one and all that…) have these romantic notions of an ideal school being populated by ideal teachers and ideal peers for our children – and keep looking for it. And, when we can’t locate one (obviously, what do we expect!) we keep complaining ad naueam about the status quo.., We are not satisfied at all with the situation, and spread the happy news of our disaffection, discontent and cynicism all over the place – and for some unfathomable reason, the inherent spreadability of any negative news defies ALL physics that I know of – it spreads so fast, in spite of not having much of truth, and absoutely inertia-free!

We expect to find bleakness and negative situations, and voila, we find them in mind boggling abundance!

I think teachers are like the rest of us. They are neither despicable demons nor angels waiting to service us. They are part of the great area of gray! There are good teachers and bad teachers – and the multitudinous majority of them are in between. There are capable & conscientious ones and there are utterly useless (‘kaamchors’) system beaters…

There are good teachers, who have incredible passion towards teaching, who have the capacity to ‘connect’ with children when needed, and who are NOT of the ‘emotional’ type but very warm and respectful towards the children; the last point – in the sense that these good teachers do not get personally hooked on to the children and get into tiring/draining situations. I am happy to know of a few of them.

I am also sad to know a few bad teachers. But they also teach me many things – but nothing that they profess to teach. I am talking about the ‘other things’ – the tacit ones here..

And, good teachers need not necessarily be from schools. Even we can be (I like to hallucinate – but think of all the axes of requirements of being a ‘home schooling’ parent, ohmygod! ayyo!!) but, it is a choice one has to mindfully make.

On a related thought stream – why don’t we expect ‘too much’ from ourselves, instead?

In the long lost mists of my childhood, we used to chant that verse (from Taithriya Upanishad? I don’t remember, I could be incorrect) – that begins with ‘Maathru Devoh Bhava.’ – many of us would be familiar with that, I think. But I also realize that those days are probably over. The old order changeth, yielding place to the new or to chaos? Now, I’ll tell you what we would do – or at least, what I would do.

‘Old’ upanishadic saying

Our (at least, my) current interpretation

maathru devoh bhava toxic co-dependence needs to be avoided; and my god, she happens to be my spouse’s mother-in-law, Grrr
pithru devoh bhava – toxic ditto – and my god, he happens to be my spouse’s bother-in-law too; he is responsible for all my failures. Grrr
achaarya devoh bhava teachers are bad, clueless – and don’t they merely work for a living? We need passion man, passion. But you don’t ask me how passionate I am about things that I profess!
athithi devoh bhava we don’t want ‘unannounced’ guests at all; if at all these thithis want to come, they had better inform us well in advance, and then do a reconfirmation before they land…

I am not saying that modern psychoanalysis and its loud cousin – the psychobabble is all bull excreta, but I increasingly feel that – all these techniques are being used to analyze the others endlessly, instead of even beginning to use them to look at ourselves, at least occasionally!

I was truly startled (when I went to a Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) training – the guide/guru was really good – Richard McHugh) a few years back, to realize that almost all folks, my fellow trainees, were more interested in analyzing others rather than using the good techniques on themselves – but this may have been an aberration. But it was fun.

A shrink’s world almost never shrinks, and in any case, it NEVER shrinks much enough to include only the shrink. That is shrink-rapping for you!

Probably, aeons back, teaching was a respected profession. But I don’t think it is true anymore. The way we (as a society) treat our teachers, police force (am giving just two examples here)  is so bad – they don’t get paid well, they have bad working conditions, bad/outdated equipment, they have long hours, do all kinds of extra work (teachers: election, enumeration; police: random security duties) – and yet, we expect them to perform much more and be answerable to all kinds of real and imagined fears and insecurities.

If these two segments of society are given the salaries of say, the lowest of the lowly computer programmer (I would hate to call them engineers) and treated with respect – I think, within a generation, our society would vastly improve. But am obviously smoking marijuana.

And, yeah – did you say ‘ Achaarya devoh bhava?’ My foot.

(part #9 may follow)

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  • wordrunk  On May 2, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Teachers and the Police… yeah, I agree absolutely! In my long passed youth, I thought teachers were infallible. I didnt quite get that they were human beings like the rest of us…!:-) and I grew up in an environment (in the UK)that was at great pains to tell me that the cop at the corner was my best friend and the one I should go to for ANY kind of help (I swear that’s a true statement)! Maybe that’s a bit extreme but why are we at the other extreme today? What happened?! Have the teachers changed or have the cops? It would be great if we could bring back the respect due these professions. Make it not the last resort of the ones who didnt get ‘better’ jobs but the ‘chosen’ profession of the passionate.

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