“Who was your favourite teacher at school?” asked Maggie as soon as she came home after attending a workshop on innovative teaching conducted by an organisation whose books and methodology of teaching are going to be introduced in her school from the next academic session. I had just returned home after checking the answer scripts of a certain Board’s English exam. Maggie had been asked the question in the workshop with the intention of proving the qualities of a good teacher.
“My favourite teacher at school?” I thought for a moment. “ The Art teacher.”
Maggie was bewildered. I was/am no good at arts. I cannot even draw a straight line properly.
I explained. My Art teacher used to come to the class, draw some picture on the blackboard, ask us to reproduce it in our book, and then go to sleep. He never bothered about what we did after that as long as we didn’t disturb his sleep. When his sleep was disturbed, he would wake up and ask us to show him our drawing. What I used to do was to make in a few minutes some kind of a reproduction of what the teacher had made on the board and close my drawing book until the teacher woke up from his sleep and ask for it. He would give me something like one or two marks out of five but would spare me of punishment. Those who had not bothered to draw anything at all would get a taste of the cane. There were always a few who wouldn’t bother to draw anything at all for some reason or another. Such were students in those days.
“Why is he then your favourite teacher?” demanded Maggie.
“Because I never got the cane from him.”
Education in those days meant keeping the students in some kind of discipline and nothing more. And the discipline was meant to keep the teacher in a comfortable state [of sleep, or something else not much different].
Education today means keeping the student in some kind of comfortable state, it seems. The teacher has to be a kind of joker or at least ‘performer’. The student has to be pampered.
I am pampering the students while evaluating their answer scripts. That’s what the Board wants.
The extremes do no good to anyone. Neither the cane nor the pampering is going to save the child.
“Your student got zero mark in his first essay in English in the Canadian university,” said the mother of one of my former students when we met in a bank three days back. Her son, my former student, is now a student in a Canadian university now. “90% in the xxx Board is equal to zero percent in Canada,” I said with a laugh.
I’m still looking for a system of education that will really work.
Other than mine own 🙂
[The last line is a joke.
The laster line is for educators.]
My more serious blog about my teachers: Some of My Teachers