By: Gowher Ahmad Bhat
The status of teachers in a society determines its prosperity and progress. History is testimony to the fact that great societies have been built by great teachers. Teachers have served and nourished the very fundamental ideas of investment of intellect to shape the future of the communities which later on led to free them from enslavement, poverty ,illiteracy, hatred, prejudice, bias, sway and much more. Teachers are the heroes of yesterday and warriors of tomorrow. From nation builders to human shapers, from development of scientists to airplane fliers there is a hand of teachers behind the screen. The teachers of government schools in jammu kashmir are being treated as aliens by many people in the society. There is a notion in the society that teachers are more vacational than duty performers. The hate regarding teachers, especially the government teachers is deep rooted in the society for reasons unknown.
People discuss and pinpoint the drawbacks of teachers not for the sake of rectification but only for bringing disgrace to them. The hot topics discussed being like government teachers are highly paid, they get a salary while they don’t work, enjoy vacations and so on. whenever there occurs a natural calamity and government announces closure of schools people look at teachers at such abhor and hate as if they have done some heinous crime. Nobody in the society bothers to check and enquire about what teachers are doing in the schools and what the teachers are going through. The question of prejudice and hate resuscitating in the society against government teachers through propaganda tools and hypothetical imagination and the cutlery used to defame them needs to be identified and answered unequivocally to close this door of mudslinging used against the nation’s shapers.
Government School teachers are normally doing the basic assignment of teaching in schools, be it teaching all the classes in single teacher schools or taking the usual five to six classes per day in normal schools. Last year the picture of the timetable of a middle school went viral on social media in which a single teacher was supposed to teach all the classes from KG upto 8th class and of no surprise that too all the subjects. Same is the case in most schools though there may be more than one teacher in them. It is necessary to mention here that a high school requires at least ten teachers, a middle school eight teachers and a primary school at least five teachers to keep the normal classwork going on.
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Besides this a teacher has to write the reply of one or two orders from the higher offices on a daily basis. In a week an order may be floated many times to get the reply, for instance the providence of staff statement. Besides the above normal allocation and task, a teacher can be seen carrying a bag of rice on the shoulders for MDM scheme moving through the markets and the parents of students to whom the teacher teaches in the school, painstakingly watching the helpless teacher.The students too look at the teacher just feeling a sense of ignominy and mortification.Teachers don’t resist or shy away for doing such jobs as social environment is to be made jovial and favorable for them so that the teacher is owned by the society . Secondly MDM preparation has to be served among the students and timetable in schools is framed in such a way that the MDM incharge teacher is given time for doing this job and for the preparation of the daily and monthly statements. If not prepared and reported in time the HOIs and MDM incharges are being threatened of suspension or stoppage of salary. In Schools where there are no sweepers which most of the schools don’t have, a teacher with broom in his hands can be seen cleaning the classrooms and premises of the school.
In addition to this government school teachers have to perform a number of non- school tasks and assignments be it surveys, censuses , elections, back to village programs or gram sabhas . A good number of teachers are performing the job of Booth level officers(BLOs) and are being called often and on by higher authorities for various purposes. Such orders are passed when schools are open and the class work is going on. Surveys for out of school children, dropout children when being conducted the teachers are being ordered to do the job. Many teachers have been performing the task of drug de addiction counselors while some others as educational counselors for many years.
In the covid-19 pandemic the teachers were and are at the forefront in the fight against virus. Besides teaching through various modes, be it online or through community classes, services of almost all teachers were utilized to perform a number of tasks to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Teachers were put on magistrate duty at a number of places as ordered by the administration. Surveillance teams,vaccinations teams, data feeding and forwarding teams all had in them mostly the teachers besides having officials from health department and other departments. The crux is that govt teachers are managing and performing the teaching assignment with full enthusiasm, dedication , on the merit and to the best of their capability and at the time are bringing off the non-school tasks as per the orders from the higher authorities. The Antisocial personality disorder ( ASPD) teachers are confronting due to venomous campaigning of anti government teacher propagandists must be recognised and rejected by the conscious society. The impressions of hate against government teachers must be erased from the brains, otherwise there will be a time when the status of the teacher in the society will worsen to such a level that nobody will dare to choose teaching as a profession.
Author is a teacher, and core member og JKGLTF. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org