Does the question surprise you? For a good portion of middle class parents in India, the question may not elicit any other response beyond an immediate and resounding ‘No’. Why so? After all, this is the land of Dronacharya and Dr. S Radhakrishnan who have National level awards and birthday anniversaries, remembering them. What is it that makes well meaning, educated parents seek out good teachers for their kids, but does not give them the confidence to mould their kids into great teachers?
Attractiveness of teaching as a career has come down…
The answer is relatively straightforward, while the underlying causes are more complex. A key reason is that the parent and the child, both, do not view ‘teaching’ as lucrative, based on their life observations. Anecdotally, there are no MNCs or large organizations of repute that are involved in the act of teaching or educating children; Neither are ‘onsite’ trips or foreign postings for teachers visible that are seen in some of the more prominent career choices. In effect, in the present day mind tuned to relatives and peers, there is no positive imagery associated with the perks or benefits of teaching as a career. Clearly, as compared to a few decades back, the Indian economy has grown many fold and a whole new set of professional education and career options have opened up – thereby, pushing the attractiveness of teaching down the pecking order of career options.
…while, the demands on teachers have risen
On the other hand, the subject matter and pedagogy demands on teachers, along with the needed responsiveness in the 24×7 connected world have gone up substantially. Teachers are expected to be more updated of the subject matter, aware of recent developments as well as current affairs and yet, be available, on call, to respond to the school and possibly, parents on day-to-day issues. The responsibilities are demanding and unforgiving, and call for high level of support to the teachers. But, sadly, that’s not the ideal world teachers live in!
Well, looks like, it’s not just an Indian problem!
It’s clear – teaching is not a preferred career choice even outside of India. In fact, the 2018 PDK Poll on public education found that Americans oppose their own kids becoming public school teachers. As the report says, ‘Americans trust and support teachers, but they draw the line at wanting their own children to join a profession they see as undervalued and low-paid.’ Little surprise then that over two thirds of the respondents saw teachers as underpaid. This is visible in US department of Education data that show falling enrollment for teacher prep at college level. Similar story is true for other developed countries too, like Britain, Australia etc.
Can the country and society make amends?
For starters, getting teaching to rank among the most preferred career choices, in India or outside, will not be a quick exercise. However, the experience in Finland can throw some light at attracting good teachers and making impact on educational outcomes. Teachers in Finland are expected to have Masters degrees and are rewarded with autonomy in designing courses. Not surprisingly, Finland is one of the better performing countries, globally, in the Program for International Student Assessment (Pisa) framework, having topped the inaugural global table.
What is it that you can do for your child’s education?
As parents, we can select wisely from the set of available options, choosing the one that’s most suited to the specific requirements of the child. Most effective teaching happens when the teacher and teaching methods are personalized to the interest level and readiness of the child. It would obviously help to have the right technological tools and well trained educators that suitably aid in the process. Interestingly, this is exactly what we do at beGalileo. Customized learning path, supported by unique content & exciting teaching methodologies have been beGalileo’s USP, in helping students achieve remarkable success.
And yes, with many technological and content related developments, it is quite logical to expect teaching of children to get transformed in future. As optimists, we believe, it may not be very long before the answer to the title is – Yes, why not?