Monday, April 23, 2012

What teaching means to me

ir, kho ghi awa tang nu la”, said a curious little pair of eyes from a corner and the one who was “awa tangmi” is red ashamed in the other corner. This is how I was greeted when I became a teacher and when I entered the very first class as a fully fledged teacher. What I would do next? Simple! Clean the boy, made him wash like any other mother. And yes, this is what I exactly did.
Teaching in its conventional sense is much more than teaching. Teaching is the epitome of all service working profession. It can be termed otherwise as the ‘bolt of lightning that illuminates the cloud of ignorance’. Teaching also is the ‘noblest’ of all professions and this is viewed by the educated lot in our country as the true service working profession.  It is being said that the true ‘Lopen’ is only a title for the Buddhist saint Guru Padmasambhava and this reverence is given to the teachers as well. Such “noble” and “holy” is the profession teaching.
Some say teaching is an art, some say teaching is a learned skill. One thing's for sure, if you are not serious about teaching, you will not succeed. As your career advances, your skills at actual teaching will improve. But what about the other things involved with being a teacher? Just because you can stand up in front of a class and supposedly "teach," it doesn't mean that you are actually a teacher! And you do have to become a teacher for the right reasons with a passion for children.
Teaching to me is much more than teaching content. It takes so much to be a teacher because once a teacher, your character teaches your children. And they are real quick in picking things up from the teacher. There is a very thin negligible line between the personal and professional life of a teacher. A teacher is under constant surveillance at school. Whatever one does as a teacher has a deep and an insightful impact on the children. This is how I perceive teaching as a teacher myself.
My humble opinion about this profession is very simple; it’s the holiest of all the professions in these ever controversial debates on professions these days. Teachers and the teaching profession deserve support, not blame in light of what is happening to teachers lately. Despite all the criticisms and the “blame game” today teaching also has its special pleasures. Teachers get to be present when children discover new and exciting things about their world. They also help them unravel problems that might otherwise have kept them stuck at a certain level of intellectual development. It's an opportunity to teach aspects of morality and professionalism that will benefit students for a lifetime.
As a teacher myself, I love teaching and I take pride in the profession that forms the largest number of civil servants in our GNH driven country.
Long live the teachers of Bhutan!

Lobzang Nima is a teacher at Zhemgang Lower Secondary School

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