A few years ago, when we were children, and received a chocolate, as a pat on our back, we felt extremely happy. Today, patting on the back of a good student, we cannot think of offering a chocolate, when their expectation is in line with MP3 players, iPod, Laptop etc. With time human needs, human thinking has changed drastically, especially over the past few years.
Recently we, a small group of 9, students of social sciences, went into 9 different villages of Bangalore and lived there for about a month. During this month long exposure we met people, learnt their lives, their faith and belief systems, their dreams and aspirations, their pains and struggles and their needs and frustrations in life. Mahatma Gandhi, once while answering a question on developing India, stressed on the importance of developing the villages. Having come back after a month and reflecting together on - living in a village, we unanimously came to the conclusion that, only thing that could help these backward and downtrodden, to change their lives is-Education, the same age old answer. But not the same age old concept of education; Education with a difference and education for transformation.
An educator plays a vital role in the whole system of education. I repeat again, not an old fashioned educator who gives yesterdays, readymade answers to today's problems but a dynamic educator who thinks ahead of time and is able to give new meaning and creative responses to the present issues.
Michael Angelo, the world renowned artist was able to see a beautiful angel even within a crooked piece of stone, when others belittled it, thinking useless. If Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul Kalam, Nelson Mandela were formed in the classrooms, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin too were formed in the same classrooms.
Reflecting back at my experience in the village, I remember; One day when I asked my fourth standard students, 'what would they offer me when I visit their families?', among the many other, one small boy stood up with all his honesty and innocence saying, "Sir, I shall get you Ganja(Drug), which gives such pleasant feeling, nothing else can give." There are hundreds of such cases in our primary schools itself today, leave alone the others. One could already sense how many of these students who are in the bud now, may turn out to be criminals in the near future if not guided properly. Unfortunately the teachers, who deal with such issues, are dealing more often with the symptoms than treating the root cause. The age old practice of training the students, with a stick in the hand, holds no good anymore. Thus we realize the need for well trained educators in the early schooling as the character of a child is formed there within those four walls of a school.
We often come across 2 kinds of educators. The first one-for whom teaching is a mere profession and the second one- for whom teaching is a passion, it's their life. Unfortunately we have many of our educators falling into the first category. It's also sad to see the quality of students, doing their D.Ed education in our country. Most of them have scored very low in their studies and get into the field without any other choice. No doubt, we need best and competitive teachers for the early schooling.
Quite often we fail to distinguish between education and literacy. Literacy could be given by anybody but not education. Education could be imparted only by a person with a noble vision and depth. Thus they need to be trained. Then can any one specify a particular training for these teachers? One would be wrong, if he tries to do that.
A student comes to a teacher, not only to learn alphabets but also to learn -LIFE. A student is like a chunk of clay, need to be moulded and thus need potters of class and calibre. An educator needs to be like a seer constantly searching for light and truth in his own life. A student learns more from the life of a teacher than his/her words.
By Nature every person is wounded in one or the other way. An educator needs to be a person who is healed and only then he will be able to form and help the students to heal themselves.
A good teacher also needs to be inspiring, creative, and motivating. Participating in various workshops, training programmes, taking initiatives for some noble cause and basing one's life on certain values would definitely motivate and inspire the students towards them. A student feels in the company of a good teacher, that s/he, too wants to be like his/her teacher. And the teachers needs to be careful, not to produce their own photo copies, rather to mould every student in their potentials, guiding them towards noble values and help them to live a life, fully human and fully alive.
An educator also needs to be a person having deep insights into human nature and behaviour. Each student is different as a person and in patterns of learning. An excellent educator finds ways and means to get the best out of his/her students.
Thus training in NLP, basic psychology, programmes like 'Teachers for today' would help. But that's the bare minimum. Basically a good educator is self formed, daily with deep inner reflection on the exterior action and moving on with a noble vision, which is above their own personal comforts. I firmly believe only such educators have the power to change the course of human history and in particular, Indian society.