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Frontiers of knowledge are vast, infinite and endless. They are somewhat like the horizon which appears close, but as you move towards it, it leaps several miles ahead of you. You keep repeating this process and the real horizon (It does not exist and is only an optical illusion) will continue to elude you. You stand on a beach with the ocean of knowledge lying in front of you. Drink as much water of knowledge that you can assimilate, and yet you will remain thirsty, literally and metaphorically.
There is something very curiously strange about the anatomy of knowledge, indeed of truth. Paradoxically speaking, more you know, more you realize how little you know. In this context, it will be interesting to quote great Greek (Athenian) philosopher of Fifth century BC, also credited with setting up the first institution of higher learning.
“I am the wisest man living alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”
Knowledge must also necessarily bring great humility, or it can lead to intellectual arrogance and that is a potential cause of fast decline. Humility therefore is the first attribute of a good teacher. It would not be an exaggeration to state that teaching is counted as one of the noblest professions in the world and it is not difficult to find the rationale behind this statement.
A teacher constantly remains in the state of Giving. He or she gives away and in this case knowledge, which is perhaps the priceless possession any individual can possess. There would be very few disciplines where you are constantly sharing and giving. This becomes an instrument of empowerment which helps a person to live a meaningful and respectable life.
Ideally, a teacher is imparting, knowledge, information and teaching several skills to the students, by actually demonstrating and validating the statement that are made about any phenomenon, essential for enhancing knowledge. The most important and indeed, the most relevant question that becomes evident is the extent of knowledge possessed by the teacher herself. A teacher will be in a position to give only what he or she knows, or has in her possession-in this case knowledge and skills. Nobody can give more that what one has.
This is where relevance of training in the life of teachers assumes importance. She is dealing with the business of education, and perhaps specializes in a few disciplines out of vast and multiple areas of educational landscape. It is also well known that the world of education is extremely dynamic in nature and is constantly evolving. While some principles and concepts, including some historical facts may not change, new discoveries and fast technological changes bring about a new perspective both on the content as well as on pedagogical methods. The global connect today, facilitated by digital technology has only broadened the scope and access to several changing paradigms, relating to education at all levels, literally from kindergarten to higher level of learning.
The children today, because of an easy and direct access to several knowledge portals, are better informed and are known to challenge the knowledge quotient of the teacher, if she is not adequately informed or prepared. The teacher in the present era has to acquire deep versatility, and this has to reflect in her domain knowledge, innovative pedagogy, adroitness in class management and above all an empathetic mindset. Initial training that a teacher may have acquired before induction is not adequate, and it is absolutely mandatory that each member of this glorious tribe, takes a brief sabbatical for 10-15 days in a year, to brush up her knowledge and learn a few new skills to remain relevant.
A periodic immersion in areas like, personal effectiveness, development psychology, classroom management, project based teaching, assessment strategies is absolutely imperative for a teacher to deliver the best. Teacher is also required, in the present scenario to shift focus from his or her teaching, to learning by the students.
Commitment and complete dedication is essential in all professions and one has to perform to the best of one’s capacity. This capacity has to be enhanced on regular intervals. A teacher should take the profession of teaching as a matter of personal conscious choice, and not as another job for a living.
You have to believe in yourself, be passionate about teaching and continue to remain engaged in a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and its application.
A great teacher who is fondly remembered by her students, well after they have left the school is also happiness personified. She makes learning a matter of joy. This art she has to learn on her own.
Mr. Vinod Malhotra
Director – Corporate Relations
Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions