In school, there are many events throughout the year that keep students gainfully occupied and excited. When I was in school, there was one day that used to be a favourite of many – Teachers’ Day – a day when senior students used to dress up as teachers and conduct classes.
I remember when I was in Class XII and the Teachers’ Day was fast approaching, all around me were discussions about which teacher would one become and what to wear. And, on 05 September that year [smartly not mentioning the year :)], when I dressed up as a teacher, I was on cloud nine! I got to be a teacher for a day and conduct classes though I actually didn’t really teach anything.
Like all good things, that day also came to an end, and the next day I was back to my student avatar. I remember having thought to myself, being a teacher was easy and lots of fun! I wondered why the teachers looked so over-burdened.
A couple of decades down the line after having experienced the corporate world and having done some projects for schools, I realised how wrong I was. Being a teacher for one day where you had no responsibilities or didn’t even have to do the basic job of teaching, was a very different ball game from being a teacher day in and day out.
I have conducted workshops for school students on Online Safety for three years. I used to reach the schools at around 7 a.m. and wait till the students arrived. I remember, the schools used to be bustling with activity – school buses dropping off students; bus drivers manoeuvring their way amongst the students running around, making sure nobody got hurt; bus conductors carefully helping the students get down from the buses; teachers counting the number of students who got in the bus versus the ones getting down; the principal standing at the gate and overseeing the process; parents dropping off their children in private cars giving them last minute tips; the school guards donning the role of traffic police; and much more.
Even at such an early hour when many of us haven’t even woken up, the school staff is all dressed up and smiling. Today, being an adult, I can understand the multiple responsibilities that the teachers must have taken care of at their respective homes, before dressing up and reaching school.
As a student when I used to enter the staff room, I used to find the teachers enjoying talking to each other while some were hurriedly checking their copies. Now as an adult when I entered the staff room, I realised the teachers were not just talking and having fun, but discussing things like how they woke up at 4 a. m. to ensure their kids had sumptuous breakfast and their families carried healthy lunch to their respective places of work and study, amongst other morning tasks.
Earlier teaching used to be considered a half-day job. However, even back then people did not realise that the half-day involved running around for pre-class activities like school assembly, standing for hours during lectures, getting used to students chatting all the time, taking care of student woes, handling trouble-creating students, and much more. After all this, many teachers when they went back home, got no rest. They had personal responsibilities waiting for them, which were equally demanding.
After my school workshops that used to last for a couple of hours and not be there every day of the month, I used to get very tired. There used to be so much noise in the school that on returning I would just want to sit in silence for at least an hour. I loved conducting the workshops and the experience was very enriching and satisfying, but imagine doing this every day for six hours! Yes, that’s what the teachers do.
These days, a teaching job is no less demanding than a corporate job. Apart from teaching, teachers have responsibilities of organising a variety of extra-curricular activities and balancing expectations of the school and parents; parents who are getting more demanding than those from the previous generations. Paying attention to each student, who is unique, remembering their names and needs, and then communicating with their parents, is a gigantic task.
I can go on and on about the multiple hats that teachers don, but I guess, you get the idea. This article cannot even do justice to what all they do.
In spite of multiple strings pulling the teachers in different directions, can you guess what was the best part? The teachers used to be immaculately dressed up and always be there with a smile, every day, every morning, every weekend when there was an event, for every child and for every parent. Isn’t that amazing?
I have had the privilege of having some amazing teachers throughout my journey as a student – be it school days or college days. Some of them have had a great impact on me. Whatever little I have accomplished today is because of my parents and teachers. We often acknowledge the efforts of our parents, but forget the teachers. This Teachers’ Day, let us remember our teachers who have taught us and think how they impacted our lives. Let us all thank them.
Contrary to the general perception and interpretation, the term ‘teacher’ is not limited to only those who are in the teaching profession. Throughout our lives there are many people who ‘teach’ us some invaluable lessons – be it your boss or even your subordinate, your colleague, your friend, your neighbour, your grandparents, your relatives, your professional associates, a trainer whose workshop helped you, a celebrity whose life or thoughts impacted you, an author whose book changed your life – in short, anybody and everybody who has taught you some lesson that has held you steady in life, is a ‘teacher’. On this day, let us spare a thought for even such teachers who are making the world a better place to live in.
As students, we used to give greeting cards (in the good old non-Internet era) to our favourite teachers on Teachers’ Day. This article is the modern version of that greeting card. Let’s use social media platforms to thank our teachers. You can share this post online, if you like, and tag your teachers. Even if this article does not reach your teachers, send some positive vibes for them. Somehow it will reach them. This is the least we can do for those who made us what we are today. This is the least we can do for the sacrifices, hard work and dedication of our teachers.
Back in school, when you cried, they made you smile. It’s your turn now. Let’s make all teachers ‘smile’ – today and always.
A big heartfelt thank you to my teachers and all the teachers across the world! Happy Teachers’ Day!