Many children have strong ambitions which help them to take up subjects and courses leading to their goal. Those who do not have such callings, are now-a-days spoilt for choice. Besides the stereo type medical and engineering professions there are an umpteen number of career options to choose from. Deciding upon the correct vocation is most important for it is the door to happiness and success.
One must enjoy one’s work, only then can success follow in whatever form that maybe. When deciding on your career you must be practical and honest with yourself. It is important to recognize your weak and strong points. There’s no use in dreaming of becoming an accountant if you do not take easily to numbers. Similarly, a lack of patience would not go in favour of being a lawyer. Skills and aptitude need to go hand in hand.
Having said that, there are many people who failing to find the suitable job, go through each weekday with drudgery resulting in unhappiness and frustration. Yet a few are fortunate to discover their passion at a later stage and change their occupation.
I was one of these fortunate few who dreamt of qualifying as a doctor and treating the poor until I discovered in the 1st year of the BSc course that the science subjects did not make my cup of tea. Having no other options in those days I settled for the humanities with the B.A. course still wondering what to do. At the same time, I was surprised to note that I looked forward to the English Literature classes. It was not till I had completed my masters in English and joined the B.Ed course that I realized how much pleasure I derived in teaching. I was soon rewarded with a teacher’s position in a private school.
Standing in front of a class of 40 boys and girls explaining a chapter from the prescribed book was exhilarating. The ability to put across knowledge to the young minds brought immediate satisfaction especially when I was faced with questions and doubts. The light of clarity that brightened up the students’ faces was a valuable return. I had been warned against indiscipline in the class. But as time went by, I found that with a strong personality, a smiling face and above all a thorough knowledge of the subject being taught, indiscipline flew out of the window.
A teacher’s business goes well beyond the classroom. Careful preparation of the next day’s lessons, formulating questions for the tests and examinations, setting home and classwork not only go towards developing the child’s understanding and forming an analytical mind but also to enhance the teacher’s own skills. The teacher is free to find out new ways and techniques by which the subject matter can be made more interesting and attractive. Hence no two days are the same for teachers. Each class brings new opportunities and challenges. Teaching is a full- time job. In the process the student learns, and the teacher expands his/her knowledge too! Not just in the subject he /she has specialised in but in subjects like child psychology, child health and hygiene, child behaviour and other related matters.
Dealing with the under performer poses a challenge to any teacher. Knowledge of the child’s family background, his or her personal preferences, the weak and strong points go a long way in bringing about improvement in such a child.
Passion for teaching school children is a compulsory pre- requisite, for the teacher is not just conveying the knowledge of the subject, rather a teacher pays attention to the child’s behaviour and attitude, subtly correcting and guiding the child in the right direction. It is the over- all development of the child that the school and teachers are concerned with. It is during this time that the child’s character and personality develop. The school helps them to grow up into responsible citizens of the country. Indeed, teachers bear a heavy burden on their shoulders.
Similar to other professions but perhaps not to the same extent, teachers have opportunities to climb the ladder of success. He /She can become the head of a department, an assistant to the head and finally the principal or headmaster/ headmistress. These posts in their wake naturally bring added duties and responsibilities which when successfully administered result in furthering growth of the institution and personal pride. There is scope for much thought and development in an educational institution. No matter how well established a school may be, some change, some improvement is always wanting. After all time is not static and one needs to change with the times.
During my tenure as the principal of a developing school, I enjoyed building the library and the science laboratories the most. This entailed visiting other school libraries and laboratories, selecting the appropriate furniture and ordering the required books and apparatuses. I learnt much from this experience and to this day feel a sense of pride to hear that the school has one of the best libraries and laboratories.
As the head of an educational institution I got to learn several other aspects, viz. advertising and publishing, sanitation and health management, safety procedures, public dealings et all.
Like other professions a teaching career does not come without its cons. One must turn a blind eye to petty politics, uphold the divide between education and business and overcome the pressures of the political parties to name a few. One needs guts to stand up for what is right. Each student’s well- being and development cannot be sacrificed at any cost; for they are the customers and their interests must be placed foremost.
In my career as a teacher and principal I have experienced both heart breaking and joyous moments. Students’ untimely death, young boys running away from home, becoming terminally ill to students excelling in various school activities, overcoming weaknesses, and winning laurels for the institution. The best reward, however, is when after years of passing out, they still remember you by stooping to touch your feet or a sudden phone call or even a visit. No amount of monetary benefits is tantamount to the joy, pride and satisfaction that this brings; to know that you have been a part in their upbringing. No wonder Teaching is known as a Noble Profession.
Author Bio: Anusuya Hazra, Kolkata. Her schooling was completed in Birmingham, UK. She is an alumni of Miranda House, Delhi University , Jadavpur University (MA, English), Calcutta University (B.Ed). She started her career as an English Teacher and then served as Principal for 25 years in two English medium schools in Kolkata. After retirement, she keeps herself busy pursuing her various hobbies like; reading, writing sketching, art and crafts etc.