‘How can I do this? I have so much portion to complete’. This has always been the complaint of our teachers. Why do the teachers refer to the textbook as the bible? Syllabus completion seems to be the only concern with the teachers.
With the NEP 2022 and the NCF the understanding is slowly but surely making a shift. Why is it the teachers struggle with this concept?
Let’s begin by looking at the responsibility that a teacher has to shoulder. Besides teaching, the teacher has to ensure that the character, value system and the personality per se is groomed well. A super responsibility at that!
A quick look at the status of a Govt. aided schools or a Govt school. At least 50 children in a class. I happened to visit a Municipal school, immediately after COVID. The students who had left for their hometown had not returned and the number of students had dwindled to half of what it was. Consequently, one teacher was expected to teach more than one class at a time. I have heard of super women but this is beyond anybody’s imagination! I offered to go and teach science every day for one class. But, the HM did not show an interest, The result, teachers salary is saved. Child’s education is lost. Keep volunteers at bay for fear that their own inadequacies might get exposed.
Textbooks are not subjected to rigid quality checks. In one of the books, Phyllotaxy is mentioned under types of leaves. This wrong concept is carried forward by the teachers to the students because, textbooks are expected to provide accurate information! At the end of it all, both students and the teachers might think, phyllotaxy is a type of classification of leaves and the concept of simple and compound leaves might exit from their consideration set.
To add to the woe of teachers, Election year is critical for the school teachers. They have to substitute as election officers and go through the arduous task of handling the voting process with long hours and at times not enough breaks I between.
Upskilling of teachers is another case in point. Senior teachers nearing the superannuation are not keen on the training. Schools don’t want to spend. Teachers want the schools to spend. Where does this deadlock end?
A few suggestions:
For starters, teachers need to cultivate a reading habit besides just textbooks. They need to think beyond textbooks. Develop a growth mindset and an open mind.
All schools should look at an ideal student teacher ratio that is workable from the point of view of teaching, correcting and giving feedback. There can be a broad range that can be agreed upon keeping the student’s needs in perspective. The feedback should be fair, positive and transparent.
Textbooks are not the final authority of content. Teaches should be conscientious enough to tell the students when the content is wrong and teach the right content.
Election duty need not be the responsibility of only teachers.
Upskilling is an essential aspect of teaching in view of NEP and NCF. If the techniques are not taught, the chances of meeting the NCF goals will become remote. How does one end this deadlock?
A training session for the ‘sake of holding it’ does not provide the skill set required by the teacher. I got a call one morning about conducting a workshop for teachers of a particular school. I was to go out of India that evening so I refused. I was asked to do it online because, the inspector was there and not doing workshop would bring in a remark against them. This attitude should change. There has to be a paradigm shift in teaching leading to innovation of ideas with freshness of spirit and inquiry. Some incentives could be added on to the upskilling to boost the interest level of the teachers. Certificates of merit to be linked to promotions – not just participation! Schools could be given some compensation by the Govt as an incentive after going through their profit and loss statement.
Lastly, I have a suggestion to ease the burden of completing the syllabus. The NEP mentions the Core curriculum without the burden of ‘n’ number of chapters. So till grade 8, there is an option of all teachers sitting together and brainstorming as to which topic is relevant and required for the next year. Only teach these chapters and teach them well using varied techniques and ensure that the expected LO is achieved.