'Take a stand for teachers!' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 07, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 07, 2012

'Take a stand for teachers!'

Aristotle once said: "Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well."
Since 1994, World Teachers' Day has been celebrated on October 5. Its aim is to strengthen support for teachers and to ensure that they can meet the needs of future generations. "Take a stand for teachers!" is the motto for World Teachers' Day, 2012.
"Teachers are the backbone of a nation" is a saying that we have been hearing from our childhood. But nowadays the scenario has changed in many respects. We see that teachers are fighting for their livelihood and their rights on the streets. In any society, a teacher is a highly respected person, but we find that they are sometimes treated in a most disgraceful manner.
"Teachers ultimately determine our collective ability to innovate, to invent, and to find solutions for tomorrow. Nothing will ever replace a good teacher. Nothing is more important than supporting them," said Irina Bokova, Unesco Director General.
A child's primary school education is the foundation and the builders of this foundation are primary school teachers. But we see that they are not getting proper salary, which makes it hard for them to maintain their families, so how can they concentrate on building others' foundation when their own foundation is weak? As a result, they have to take to the streets in protest, hold hunger strikes, etc. to try to get their rights. Primary and secondary school teachers' pay scale should be revised as per present economic demands.
A dreadful news item shocked us recently. A female teacher was a taking class when suddenly some armed men entered the classroom and killed her. In another incident a headmaster was critically wounded when he was hit with a hammer. These incidents show how vulnerable teachers are. Nowadays, in general, it seems that our morality, humanity, and other humane qualities are being degraded.
At the university level, teacher-student relationship is very friendly; students follow their ideal teachers and want to be like them. Here, it is the teachers' duty to keep a friendly distance between themselves and the students.
Once, the brightest students joined the teaching profession with high ideals, but nowadays many come into this profession not for any great purpose; they just take it as a profession. After joining as teachers, they start coaching business and often compel students to come to their coaching centres.
The happy news is that most of the teachers at all levels are still honest, sincere, caring to their students. They only want their students' welfare. Their only prize is that their students honour and respect them.
Alexander the Great had said: "I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well." Age after age, teachers have been greatly evaluated by their students and society. We have to keep that place in the society till the last day of the world.
Confucius said: "A true teacher is one who, keeping the past alive, is also able to understand the present." In the same way. we find many teachers who are the makers of mankind, ignoring their own good. In Bangladesh, many school teachers teach all through the year without getting any salary. We salute them.
According to William Arthur Ward, "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." Our civilisation has had many great teachers, we need more.
We hope for a better world where every teacher will be regarded as a wealth of a nation.

The writer is a Senior Lecturer, Department of English, ASA University Bangladesh.

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