In many countries, including India, teaching is worryingly treated as a second-class profession. Why is this so worrying? Because our teachers are our leaders, those who inspire and engage our children, and instil in them not just knowledge to pass a test, but also values and attitudes which can guide them for the rest of their lives. When teaching is not viewed with the value it deserves, we risk losing our talented minds to the confines of traditional professions and limited career choices.
In reality, the classroom is where the foundation stone of our future society is laid.
The 2014 UNESCO Global Monitoring Report—Education For All highlighted the need for “trained, motivated (teachers who) enjoy teaching” in India to make sure learners are meeting basic standards.
This is key: great teachers are the ones who inspire their learners to discover more and to achieve—not just in tests and examinations, but in life. Excellent examination results can be the fuel to power young minds to achieve further, and they can be the springboard for learners to discover more, but they are certainly not the end in the learning journey.
A brilliant teacher uses these benchmarks to encourage a wider world view by giving learners global perspectives, or using pedagogies and assessment techniques that develop learners’ cognitive, social and emotional skills. They use their own professional development to keep in step with changing practice, that they then apply in the classroom.
Most of all, they never forget that teachers should be confident in their teaching skills; responsible for themselves and their learners; reflective as learners themselves; innovative and equipped for future challenges; engaged intellectually and ready to make a difference.
Good teaching stretches, challenges and pushes learners to discover more. And motivated learners become the leaders of our society. On the occasion of Teachers’ Day in India, we celebrate and congratulate all teachers who are putting their best foot forward to help shape our young learners’ thoughts and ideas, guiding them on their learning journeys to discover and achieve, while never forgetting that they themselves are lifelong learners.
The author is regional director, South Asia, Cambridge International Examinations