The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.
Ideal teacher could be somebody who has empathy, understanding, patience and the ability to provide the knowledge of what student seeks in a comprehensive manner by helping him to liberate his mind. Unfortunately not many teachers fit this criterion these days. Most teachers are in a hurry to teach and then to get their monthly salary. This may be the reason why many students like me who have got disillusioned by their Teachers and set themselves on a compelling journey to search for an Ideal Teacher- a master of wisdom-a torchbearer of truth.
Let me begin with a very basic yet unanswered question, who is an ideal teacher? Surprisingly, I have never ever had any thought or imagination of an ideal teacher. So, does this mean that I was content with the teachers that I had? or the education system which imprisoned me within four walls of classroom, rote memorization, mugged up notes, rat race to be a topper has never allowed me to go beyond it? Teachers play a pivotal role in a student’s life and society at large. Teaching profession must be given the highest honor among all the professions, as it is the one that construct thinking population, capable leaders and better citizens for a better tomorrow.
Time has come for us to introspect, to voice out and question about what we want, what we need to prepare ourselves to face the world. Unfortunately, the mentors that are guiding, moulding and shaping us in colleges and universities are transforming us into machine – a humanoid with information and nothing else and I believe, I do not come to college to be fed with information that is easily available on the tip of my fingers due to technology. I have no reason to have any regards for all those Information Feeders (who call themselves Teachers) who not only lack analytical power, oratory skills, research aptitude, independent knowledge but also the vision for future.
Socrates viewed that an ideal teacher is the one who denies his or her knowledge of a subject, in order to lead the student to the correct ideas and answers. However, Plato’s concept of an ideal teacher is more contemplative. He says that, an educator or a teacher’s job is to lead the student’s mind somewhere and to make oneself question about one’s own belief, so that students can come to their own conclusion about something. He, therefore, want the student not only to question a teacher but also their own existence, views, standing, perspective, beliefs, notions and ideas. Even ‘Gautama Buddha’ said to his disciple that they should never accept and follow his teachings blindly but only after thorough study, examination and testing. Ideal teacher is the one who teaches students to question his teachings and gives them unconditional liberty to either accept or reject it.
I introspect, since, the day I was brought into the fold of the system of formal education till now after nearly 14 years in formal education, what have I really gained or learned? I remember myself studying through memorizing the notes to write my exam well and get good marks. When I recall my days spent on learning in formal institution, it saddens me to come to the conclusion that I had never learned anything ‘constructive’. Our education system largely depends on rote type of memorization and students are confined only in their walls. All these make students to depend solely on readymade notes available at cheap price in market. Intellectual capabilities of a student are in fact deteriorating with the passage of time. This can be a reason as to why we as a society failing to create a “Thinking Class” which can question the ‘POWER CENTERS’ in society as and when required. As Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar said, thinking class is a backbone of any society, it is a class that gives direction to the momentum of society and becomes instrumental in its overall progress. In this context, My question is, Do We Have Visionary Teachers who are intellectually able and psychologically capable to create ‘Thinking Generation’? Are our teachers capable to create Philosophers, Thinkers, Scientists, Artists, Writers, Poets, Statesmen and Leaders? Are our teachers who could not even inspire themselves, able to inspire us? Are our teachers who STOP us, discourage us from asking questions and raising counter-arguments in class against their teachings, views and knowledge able to cultivate a sense of intellectual freedom and confidence in students?
The task before teachers is huge, and we the students have greater responsibility as well. However, since we-the students are on receiving end we cannot do much unless and until our teachers take a step ahead. Opinions and perspective varies from individual to individual, however, an ideal teacher as I see is someone who believes in the capabilities of student. An ideal teacher shows the path to student to break himself free from the bondage of social evils, to liberate his thoughts and ideas; to make him understand the true purpose of life. A true teacher destroys walls of intellectual prisons so that his student can learn to deliberate, examine and analyse before jumping to any conclusion. The qualities of ideal teacher possess the quality of selflessness, he stand strong and always encourages his student to do better and better. True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.
Finally, An ideal teacher is a divine blessing for the society. He devotes heart and soul to teaching and character-building of students. He possesses all good and noble qualities of a human being. To the students, he is a wild friend, trusted companion, serious philosopher and mature guide at a stretch. He holds aloft the light of knowledge for his students. An Ideal teacher never lets the limitations of students restrict their vision. He constantly motivates them to reach ahead and broaden their horizon. An ideal teacher teaches the value of a failure to a student so that he would be capable enough to rejoice in the success. Ideal teacher introduces his student to the chilling darkness so that he would not get astray in the light. An ideal teacher is the one who will burn and transform himself into the light to illuminate the ‘path’ for his disciples. True teacher, after all, never dies; he lives in the words of his students, in the deeds of his disciples, in the visions of his followers.
(Mosa S. Sangtam (MOSA NAGA) is based in Dimapur; Nagaland, currently studying Political Science in one of the prestigious colleges in Dimapur.He is a Dreamer and has an ultimate aim to dedicate his life to create a better world for the generations to come.)