As the country celebrates Teachers’ Day, the state of educators in India is still underwhelming. The nation which calls its teachers gurus has recently seen an increase in cases of assault against teachers. Talking about teaching as a profession, a large number of teachers, and professors across India talk to news18.com, and most of them call for more support and recognition.
Highlighting the issues faced by teachers across the country, Ramya Venkataraman, founder & CEO, Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA) said, “Insufficient career growth, recognition, and support options are some of the top issues in the profession that many of us are working to address."
Talking about a survey conducted by them CENTA chief said, “In a large survey of teachers, we found that next to merit-based career growth, this came up as the number two thing teachers want. More explicit recognition of their work, leading to more respect for the profession as a whole."
Lalitha, a teacher in a government school in Delhi and a member of the Government School Teacher Association (GSTA), said, “The profession which was once so revered is now being left unorganized." She says, “Teaching is a tough profession, we are responsible for shaping personalities of tomorrow, and the entire fertility does the job diligently and proudly, yet many teachers are treated badly."
Another government teacher from Hyderabad, V Manjula said, “There is a need for better student and teacher ratio, especially in government schools. The lack of proper student and teacher ratios adds stress to both students and teachers, which is why it has to be improved."
Transparent environment for career growth and success, rewards and recognition for a job well done, and improved parental involvement in students’ learning, are the three things that can change the teaching profession for good, said Rishabh Khanna, CEO and Founder of Suraasa - n ed-tech platform focusing on teachers’ career growth. “They want salary and benefits packages that reward performance. They need professional development programmes that are designed to help them succeed. Most importantly, they want an environment where they feel respected as professionals," he added.
Focus on Mental Health of Teachers
Talking about the need for support for the teachers Ramya added, that teaching is both a profession with a lot of human connection, but also a profession that can be lonely. You don’t work with other adults on a regular basis; you are often under pressure to “have the right answer" for everything.
Alka Kapur, Principal, Modern Public School Shalimar Bagh called for focus on mental wellbeing of teachers, “there is a pressing need to ensure that the stress and mental health of the teachers should not go unnoticed. The Indian education system, while taking measures to chalk out strategies to ease up the pressure on students, should equally focus on the well-being of the teachers, since it might directly or indirectly have an impact on the students. The pandemic and the disruptions in the normalcy of the education system across the country have brought in several changes in teaching, making it more stressful for teachers to adapt to new ways of teaching in a re-drafted syllabus. Such circumstances draw attention to the need to find ways to ease the pressure on the teachers and take care of their mental well-being in certain ways like providing them with realistic deadlines, finding ways for teachers to socialize, helping them with proper counselling, etc."
Acceptance of Imperfections
Anil Mammen, Chief - Learning Design & Social Impact, Tata Studi, “Teaching is not just about transacting content. It is also about being able to connect with children, build trust, and create a sense of belonging for every student. And teachers need a supportive environment to do this."
Stating that there is a need to train the teachers, Professor Smriti Arora, UPES, said, “No one is perfect and neither are teachers. There are areas of improvement specific to each teacher and ways of upgrading oneself to align with the goals of the nation. Training of teachers is thus crucial."