we expect way too much from teachers…

19/08/2014

… and also from schools, and very little from us. Of course there are a few exceptions, as I would mention always, but then…

I think, we as parents (mostly clueless, that is – it takes one to know one and all that…) have these romantic notions of an ideal school being populated by ideal teachers and ideal peers for our children – and keep looking for it. And, when we can’t locate one (obviously, what do we expect!) we keep complaining ad nauseam about the state of affairs…

We are not satisfied at all with the situation, and spread the happy news of our disaffection, discontent and cynicism all over the place – and for some unfathomable reason, the inherent spreadability of any negative news defies ALL physics that I know of – it spreads so fast, in spite of not having much of truth, and absolutely inertia-free!

We expect to find bleakness and negative situations, and voilà, we find them in mind boggling abundance!

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I think teachers are like the rest of us. They are neither despicable demons nor angels waiting to service us. They are part of the great area of gray! There are good teachers and bad teachers – and the multitudinous majority of them are in between. There are capable & conscientious ones and there are utterly useless (‘kaamchors’) system beaters… Just like the rest of the professional world. Just like the parents, just like us.

... in India, especially in Tamilnadu - we have this mornonic TV stupidity and rampant alcoholism as part of  'home issues' and of course, the schools and teachers will be blamed for the lack of 'education' of the child...

… in India, especially in Tamilnadu – we have this mornonic TV stupidity and rampant alcoholism as part of ‘home issues’ and of course, the schools and teachers will be blamed for the lack of ‘education’ of the child…

There are good teachers, who have incredible passion towards teaching, who have the capacity to ‘connect’ with children when needed, and who are NOT of the ‘emotional’ type, but very warm and respectful towards the children; the last point – in the sense that these good teachers do not get personally hooked on to the children and get into tiring/draining situations. I am happy to know of a few of them.

I am also sad to know a few bad teachers. But they also teach me many things – but nothing that they profess to teach. I am talking about the ‘other things’ – the tacit ones here..

And, good teachers need not necessarily be from schools. Even we can be (I like to hallucinate – but think of all the axes of requirements of being a ‘home schooling’ parent, ohmygod! ayyo!!) but, it is a choice one has to mindfully make.

On a related thought stream – why don’t we expect ‘too much’ from ourselves, instead?

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In the long lost mists of my childhood, we used to chant that verse (from Taithriya Upanishad? I don’t remember, I could be incorrect) – that begins with ‘Maathru Devoh Bhava.’ – many of us would be familiar with that, I think. But I also realize that those days are probably over. The old order changeth, yielding place to the new or to chaos? Now, I’ll tell you what we would do – or at least, what I would do.

‘Old’ upanishadic saying

Our (at least, my) current interpretation

maathru devoh bhava toxic co-dependence needs to be avoided; and my god, she happens to be my spouse’s mother-in-law, Grrr
pithru devoh bhava – toxic ditto – and my god, he happens to be my spouse’s bother-in-law too; he is responsible for all my failures. Grrr
achaarya devoh bhava teachers are bad, clueless – and don’t they merely work for a living? We need passion man, passion. But you don’t ask me how passionate I am about things that I profess or claim to do!
athithi devoh bhava we don’t want ‘unannounced’ guests at all; if at all these thithis want to come, they had better inform us well in advance, and then do a reconfirmation before they land… RSVP please! No freeloading, sorry.

I am not saying that modern psychoanalysis and its loud cousin – the psychobabble is all bull excreta, but I increasingly feel that – all these techniques are being used to analyze the others endlessly, instead of even beginning to use them to look at ourselves, at least occasionally!

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I was truly startled – when I went to a Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) training – the guide/guru was really good – Dick McHugh, a venerable guy at that, many years back —  to realize that almost all folks, my fellow trainees, were more interested in analyzing others rather than using the good techniques on themselves – but this may have been an aberration. But it was fun.

A shrink’s world almost never shrinks, and in any case, it NEVER shrinks much enough to include only the shrink. That is shrink-rapping for you!

Anyway, what I was coming to is the assertion that: Unless one is not mediocre, and knows what mediocrity is and has oodles of attitude and meta-cognition – he/she cannot point an accusing finger at the other mediocre people.

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Probably, aeons back, teaching was a respected profession. But I don’t think it is true anymore.

... if this random blaming is continued - we cannot get motivated & passionate teachers into the system at all - instead we will get only thick skinned folks, through the government merit filters. These later folks are more likely to become teachers only because these jobs are 'government jobs.' I am asking: why can't we, for a few years, start blaming everything on clueless and idiotic parents??

… if this random blaming is continued – we cannot get motivated & passionate teachers into the system at all – instead we will get only thick skinned folks, through the government merit filters. These latter folks are more likely to become teachers only because these jobs are ‘government jobs.’ I am asking: why can’t we, for a few years, start blaming everything on clueless and idiotic parents??

The way we (as a society) treat our good  teachers, honest elements in the police force (am giving just two examples here)  is so bad – we do not have good entry criteria, good guys do not get paid well, recognition of merit is a strict no-no, they have bad (=mediocre) working conditions, there is a sea of mediocrity with no scalable solution in sight,  bad/outdated equipment, inadequate training, they have to deal with kakistocratic administrators & management, they have long hours, do all kinds of extra work (teachers: election, enumeration, dealing with parents; police: random security duties) – and yet, we expect them to perform much more, offset for all the all-pervasive mediocrity and be answerable to all kinds of real and imagined fears and insecurities. And, to top it all, one has to deal with clueless biological parents and automaton-citizens.

... from my experience, I can say that - people who make the most noises about 'education' (leave alone the politicians and administrators, am talking about otherwise normal people) - have zilch experience in teaching anything to anyone. All they can do is to dish out advice after advice on how things should be etc etc... ....

… from my experience, I can say that – people who make the most noises about ‘education’ (leave alone the politicians and administrators, am talking about otherwise normal people) – have zilch experience in teaching anything to anyone. All they can do is to dish out advice after advice on how things should be etc etc… ….

If these two segments of society are given the salaries (more than this, the respect) of say, the lowest of the lowly dingbat computer programmer (or an ‘Information Technology Professional’ grrr…. I would hate to call them engineers – most of them are mere automatons and warm-bodies) and treated with respect – I think, within a generation, our society would vastly improve.

But am obviously smoking marijuana.

And, yeah – did you say ‘ Achaarya devoh bhava?’ My foot.

Moral (hic) of the story: The parents have to be really and consistently good at their parenting job at least, before they expect the other professionals to be good with their respective jobs, period.

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Note: Images, when clicked on, will lead you to the sites where those bits are hosted. Thankyou.

Connected post: … அல்லா டீச்சருங்ளயும் நிக்கவச்சி சுட்ணும் சார்! 20/04/2013

JournalEntry# 1st May, 2009.

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