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Teacher’s Day: The Privilege & Responsibility of A Teacher

File photo of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.

File photo of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.

September 5 is celebrated as Teacher’s Day in India. In this article, Sadhguru looks at the responsibility and privilege of being a teacher.

Sadhguru: Today happens to be Teacher’s Day because it is the birthday of Dr. Radhakrishnan, the second President of India, who happened to be a schoolteacher to start with. It is a wonderful compliment to the teachers of the nation that one of our Presidents was actually a schoolteacher. In Indian culture, we have always recognized a teacher as a very important part of one’s life, to the extent, we said: “acharya devo bhava”, which means a teacher is like god. Because generally, growing children spent more time with their teachers than with their parents. The idea of parents sending children to school is: somewhere they know that someone else could be a better influence upon the children than themselves.

A teacher has a significant role in the making of an individual human being, in the making of a society, a nation and the world at large. And a teacher definitely plays a big role in the process of enhancing capabilities and developing an interest in a particular subject. Largely for many children, which teacher is teaching a particular subject determines whether they love or hate that subject. It gets identified with that person. If a student identifies with the teacher, if the teacher is inspiring enough, the subject suddenly becomes interesting.

People think there is no longer any significance to a teacher in today’s generation because everything that a teacher can say, the Internet can say. In fact, I think the significance of teachers has gone up manifold because the burden of delivering information has been taken away from them. A teacher’s job becomes mainly to inspire and enhance a student as a human being, which has always been the main task. A teacher is no longer just a tape recorder who reads something out and rattles some information to you. He is someone who is going to make a student’s life by inspiring them to be in a certain way.

If we have to build any nation into something worthwhile, the highest caliber of people should go into school teaching. What kind of influence the child comes under in those first 15 years determines many things about their life. So the best quality of minds and the highest level of integrity and the most lively levels of inspiration should go into the making of a teacher. But today, we have set up an economic and social situation where if people cannot get anywhere, they become school teachers. This has to change. If this doesn’t change, we will not build a society of any substance. We will build very low quality human beings, a low quality society and low quality nations. This is already happening. Inspired teachers are few in most schools. It has become a profession. No one is willing to walk an extra step to do what’s needed. We have seriously failed on this in this country. There are hardly any inspired teachers.

A teacher does not mean 10 Ph.Ds hanging from his head. It is not just that someone should wait for the dole-out of what a teacher knows. A teacher means, in that person’s presence, people should learn things that even the teacher doesn’t know.

Children means they are humanity in the making. What you make of them when they are in your hands, is one of the greatest responsibilities and privileges a human being can have. Any human activity is significant only if we are able to touch another life. That you can actually shape another life is a tremendous privilege. If you have your own children, you won’t have that. But as a teacher you have that privilege. When such a privilege is being vested in someone’s hands, it is very important that the highest caliber of minds, and the highest integrity and inspiration goes into that.

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first published:September 05, 2017, 11:21 IST