A Principal Educator writes on Teachers’ Day

Since last evening (4th Sept.) our students have been busy in the school- decorating the staff rooms, preparing their classes, arranging things for Teachers’ Day celebrations. And right from this morning there have been calls and SMSes wishing me a Happy Teachers’ Day. The whole of St. Xavier’s has been alive and active this morning with the student teachers coming in and the actual teachers taking a back-seat to allow the new ones to conduct the regular school activities. All this set me thinking as to what really is the job of a teacher educator?

Young people are growing up today amidst a society where life carries least weightage, violence is common and death is a frequent visitor.Our children are growing up in a world of flux, of rapid change, vibrating to the beat of the latest rock/pop stars, titillated by advertising which presents life as a perpetual honeymoon. Consumerism is the key word today and mall culture is the in-thing.Added to that our school system imparts education to the highly ambitious, upwardly mobile children, of career conscious parents who want good first division marks for their children leading to a promising lucrative career.A strongly competitive atmosphere is maintained in which the whole concept of creating a good human being is forgotten or sidelined.

But schools should be places where people are believed in, honoured and cared for; where the natural talents and creative abilities of persons are recognized and celebrated; where individual contributions and accomplishments are appeciated; where everyone is treated fairly and justly; where each one of us finds the challenge, encouragement and support we need to reach our fullest individual potential for excellence; where we help one another and work together with enthusiasm and generosity- what we call intangibles.This is opposed to the tangibles which can be measured- class-work, corrections,tests, exams, punctuality, academic results etc. But the intangibles cannot be measured- these are values the children pick up like for example taking part in teachers day programme, working hard to prepare the place, working hard to prepare the lesson to be taught to the younger children, looking after the logistics of the whole celebration and so on.

We talk today of the child’s attitude towards the teachers, classmates, school programmes, the environment. This is basically an intangible parameter- a matter of relationships.We have to teach a child to become a person “for others” and not just a person “for me first” instead.Our whole focus has been on competence and now we have to make sure that the intangibles take a prominent place so that we can create good human beings instead of creating good robots.Our job as educators is to form our children into good, intelligent, competent human beings, who look at the world with compassion and develop a social, emotional and rational bent of mind. That would, in short, be the educative process we at St. Xavier’s school, Gandhinagar, advocate. Hence this Teachers’ Day celebration has been one more step in that direction and we hope and pray that we can form and mould the minds of our children to be good citizens of India and good and generous human beings. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore- “Into that heaven of freedom my Father, let my country awake” – or rather ‘let my children awake’.

— Fr. Hector Pinto, S.J.


St. Xavier’s School