Teacher’s Day: The struggles of teaching the young today

Hyderabad: Micro-managed, exhausted, and underpaid- is how teachers generally describe their profession. Despite being the profession that shapes the future of the nation, the problems that the teachers face on a daily basis are often ignored by the civil society.

Siasat.com spoke to a few teachers from the schools and colleges of Hyderabad on the occasion of Teacher’s Day to help highlight their voices.

“Have you ever tried to juggle fire batons while walking a tightrope stretched over a pit of hungry alligators as a panel of judges explain to you how to juggle better? Consider this alongside a crowd of onlookers bombarding you with questions? That’s teaching,” explains Arpita, a journalism teacher in St.Mary’s college, Yousufguda.

She further adds that once the pandemic hit, people often asked her if she loved being a teacher and she is unsure as to how that questioned should be answered.

“I love what I teach, I love kids, I love spending my days helping children become the people they are meant to be.” However, she said that her profession is micro-managed, exhausting, underpaid, and under-appreciated.  “I love teaching but I don’t always love being a teacher,” Arpita remarked.

Another teacher, Swetha (name changed) said that teaching as it is, is a very stressful job, and “notorious kids, as much as we love them, make teaching very hard.” She said that kids who talk during the class or indulge in jokes intend to disrupt the class take a heavy toll on the teacher.

She added that disturbances disrupt the focus and flow of the teacher, and waste a lot of time of the class, which most students don’t really care about, but teachers know how precious that time is, as they have to complete the syllabus within the appointed time.

Susheel Kumar, who teaches mathematics in Meridian school, Banjara Hills said that he has only one message for students this teacher’s day. He said, “students should try to learn for knowledge’s sake and not to acquire marks, and attempt to be happy in life.”

Further, he remarked that gratitude to parents and to the almighty is very important for students, as it is the parent’s support and God’s will through which a student meets his teachers.

Swati, a civil services coach said that for her the struggle is more about if she’s able to reach the expectations of the students and if she’s able to solve their problems and able to clear their confusions.

“I used to be more concerned about my performance with respect to the student’s expectations. Now my focus is on how to customize the subjects to meet the student’s needs, as courses are more generic in nature and students come from a variety of backgrounds with diverse experiences along with their own perception of the subject, which could be based on their existing condition or their level of understanding,” she remarked.

New set of challenges because of the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up a new set of challenges which many teachers are still struggling to get used to, with the advent of online classes and tests.

Jyotsna, who teaches English at St. Mary’s college, Yousufguda said that it has been over a year, and all the teachers have adapted to the new mode of teaching and learning, however, “it was the greatest challenge that we as teachers have ever experienced.”

“The personal connection is currently absent, and so is the rapport that develops over the semester as we do not actually know if the students are listening to us unless asked,” she remarked.

Therefore, Ms. Jyotsna added “we are trying to make complete use of the available resources and our personal energies to make our sessions impactful and also enriching.”

She further added that she is sure that eventually, this kind of teaching and learning is sure to become a norm.