Throughout history, teachers have been termed as instruments of positive social change. The job of a teacher is not limited to merely holding daily classes and completing the course curriculum, but their responsibilities go above and beyond this limited scope and they play a role model not only to students but also to whole society. In the present era of knowledge through internet whatsoever to say, but teaching has been the backbone of a developed and civilized society.
Teacher awards at national, state, block, university/institute/college are conferred on good teachers on the occasion of Teachers day to recognise and appreciate the contribution of some of the so called best teachers in order to encourage and motivate the teaching community to do their best towards the society.Just like previous practice, this year also 47 teachers have been selected to confer national best teacher awards to these personalities on the occasion of Teachers Day on 5th September. The awards are presented by the Ministry of Education every year to acknowledge and encourage extraordinary and meritorious efforts of teachers across the length and breadth of the country and the awards are conferred by President of India.
Many other teachers might have got such awards at departments/institutes/universities/colleges, block, district and state levels also.It is a human common nature to wish for recognitions/awards/commendations but teaching community is said to be one of the most intellectual segment of the society which does not take things without analysis. Many people of the community do not hesitate in condemning the awards to be unfair on the basis of nepotism and partialism. These things are integral parts of the society and its functioning but still the people who are bestowed with the awards might have something different from others. Need is not to envy them but emulate the good things which they have shown during their teaching so that teaching by each one of the teacher become meaningful and useful for the students as well as for the society.
The challenges that the pandemic and lockdown brought also forced teachers to find innovative solutions for the problems. Online classes have been a challenging yet interesting experience for most of the teachers. Teaching on a virtual platform has been refreshing as it has replaced conventional classroom teaching with more innovative and effective audio visual tools. There is more scope to research and delve into the tiniest details of every topic.Apart from their duties of teaching and ensuring learning continuity for the students, teachers are also roped in by different government agencies as Corona Warriors. Many teachers from government schools were involved in conducting door-to-door surveys and were also deputed on duty at quarantine centres. In fact, many schools were transformed into quarantine centres and food distribution centres during the COVID-19 period, which was managed by teachers. In many areas, teachers were also directly involved in contact-tracing of people who came in contact of patients found to be COVID-19 positive. It is important to acknowledge the contributions of school level teachers who have been at the forefront of India’s fight against COVID-19 while also ensuring that their core responsibility of teaching is also fulfilled.
In the absence of a face-to-face connect with students, teachers are coming up with new and innovative methods to engage students and make learning fun and interactive through online platforms. The move from Classroom to Online was a daunting one and even simple activities such as marking attendance of students had to be rethought with innovative and virtual solutions. Organizing digital classrooms meant not only acclimatizing oneself but also students and their parents with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Classrooms. Teachers are finding new ways of teaching students and making sure that learning process is something creative and enjoyable. From PPT’s to small videos to brain-storming, all have been fun.While adapting to the new format of online classrooms and digital learning, teachers also had to provide mental strength and motivation to their students to keep their spirits up.
It was nice to read about the teaching pursuits of national teacher awardees from Punjab and J&K from the news media. The teacher from Punjab is known for introducing learning through television, audio lessons and practical skills at the primary level school to generate interest among students. The Kashmiri schoolteacher has been awarded this year for demonstrating a creative and innovative approach towards teaching. The Ministry of Education has acknowledged that her sincere and extraordinary effortshas resulted in keeping the students in engaged in learning activities even in challenging times when schooling and educational activities were severely disrupted. She adopted innovative and low-cost teaching-learning practices like pocket boards, utility cards, tracing boards and other child-friendly resources for enhancing literacy and numeracy among her pupils. Similar qualities of teaching definitely might have made other 45 teachers worth for recognition to confer the National teacher awards-2020 to them. Hence, it is better to follow the good teaching qualities of the awardees instead of blaming or defaming the awards in order to contribute something meaningful to the society.
Teachers can be generally classified into three categories: fifty percent are those who take the teaching as a job, duty, ritual, daily routine and formality. They are busy with something else than teaching and generally do not go to classes or go unprepared and just to make it a formal teacher-student get-together. Next forty percent teachers may be dedicated towards their duties and try to do their best. Remaining ten percent teachers may be serious and innovative about teaching learning process and always come up with innovative methods or procedures to make teaching learning process more meaningful. It will be better for a teacher to introspect oneself and work hard to emulate some of the qualities of the teacher awardees.The overall list of teachers selected for National Awards to Teachers-2020 is as: