Today is the fifth of September, an important day for teachers of
. Teachers’ Day, celebrated on the birthday of Doctor Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan is a day when students are supposed to show their respect and love to their teachers. Most schools celebrate this occasion with a nice blend of cultural programs and speeches by the teachers. Our school is no exception. Teachers’ Day is one day we look forward to with excitement. About three weeks before the occasion, the girls from class ten get allotted to different classes and take the responsibility to stage some kind of a program with the girls of that class. Those three weeks are invariably great fun for us. We skip classes and run for practice, and hide when the principal comes to look for us, and then go stealthily back to class and make up all kinds of cock and bull excuses, and have a whale of a time! The day of the program is usually a mixed bag of anxiety, excitement, happiness and sadness about the fact that the day will pass very soon. Undoubtedly Teachers’ Day is the best celebration we have in school, and only Children’s Day comes anywhere near it. India
However, something else has been going on in my head. In spite of all the dancing and frolicking around that we do on Teacher’s Day, how many of us feel any real respect and gratitude for the teachers? Like any other occasion, isn’t Teachers’ Day a mere excuse to avoid work? While staging the programs, how many of us really think about whether the teachers will like it? The truth is, teachers are usually bottom of the priority list when a program is planned. And this is not something happening just in our school. I have friends, both boys and girls, from various schools around the town. When I mentioned Teachers’ Day to them, all of them started talking about the dance or play they were going to stage, because they themselves had liked it best, and the picnic they were going to have, and the various ways they had planned to entertain themselves. Not one of them told me that they were putting up something that they hoped the teachers will enjoy. I must admit, even when I was planning my class program with the girls of class ten, we decided to do something that the students were going to enjoy the most. We did not spare much thought about what the teachers were likely to feel about it.
The same thing goes on when it comes to giving presents to teachers. Most of the students who give anything to their school teachers or other tutors do it just because it is the tradition to do so, and not because they really like that teacher. Students are more bothered about what their friends will say if they give, or don’t give a present to a certain teacher. I have seen girls in my school competing each other about how many teachers they had given gifts to. It is all about winning and losing such competitions, and not about real affection or gratitude.
All said and done, however, can we put the entire blame of such behaviour on the students? Aren’t teachers partly to be blamed too? After all, teachers play a major role in forming one's character, and maybe the children are just learning from how teachers and other elders behave?