I was at this workshop on Teachers as Leaders - Beyond the Curriculum. There were about 300 teachers from different Indian schools.
Instead of going ahead with the workshop, there was a needless inaugural ceremony with several speakers. Thankfully the speeches were short and not too bad, except for the host school principal whose pronunciation was bad and style was atrocious. She thanked the 'cheerman' for organising the event. She valued the 'apawrchoonty' to get away from the 'moondane' into the magical and she was sure that she would have 'good mammaries' (of the talk) that everyone would go to and go back to... Albeit the embarrassment, it lightened things for me ,the eternal fault finder.
Some teachers of the host school then sang a song (shudder). It had been penned by one of those poor souls (probably forced to do so). Teachers are pathetic creatures, expected to be clerk, mother, counsellor, policeman, spy, choreographer, editor, songwriter, and much more.
The content of the workshop was not new, but the perspective was. The resource person, who vaguely resembled one of my back seat boys made us do this mind exercise which actually blew my mind. Besides, the introspection that followed the session uncovered several shortcomings that I had closed my eyes to. Of course my friends and I did pass notes and giggle at the nonsense responses of several teachers. But it was a holiday well spent.
Few agreed with me though. Some delegates felt that crowded classrooms, absent infrastructure, profit oriented management, overworked(and underpaid) teachers are not really conducive to teaching, let alone 'transforming the students by creating magic in the class'. The majority found the day a waste because they could have spent it at home(doing what? cooking?), because it was boring and most because the tea was bad and lunch was worse!
Later pondering on the teaching profession, the words of Malvolio (Shakespeare's Twelfth Night) came to mind. "Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. Teachers seem like the fool Malvolio - bearing the cross of nobility that is thrust upon them... because people love to hate teachers - students write nasty remarks about them on orkut, the parents criticise them.. Teachers can't demand or protest because they are 'noble'. It is sad but true that schools have become 'teaching shops' and society refuses to respect individuals who trod the path not taken. Parents still force children to learn subjects that they have no aptitude for or interest in. As long as this scenario prevails, teachers are destined to be leaders in the confines of a cage.
Despite these dismal thoughts I am happy I chose to be a teacher. I am so glad I didn't have to work in a bank or something, counting currency endlessly. What can be more rewarding than staying young at heart, being surrounded by youthful energy, learning something new each day?!