Saluting the teachers

How many of you remembered your teachers from your school or college days this teacher’s day? If you are in your 30s or even your 40s, it can be said with some certainty that most of them will still be teaching, most likely in the same school and definitely for a salary that is only marginally higher than it was in your student days.

Teaching is often considered an ‘easy’ profession. What with long summer holidays, Dasara and Christmas vacations and ‘good work timings.’ It is also considered an ideal profession for women, since they can be back when their children get back from school and also be around during vacations.

Is it really an easy profession? Let’s see – they have to manage at least 35 – 60 students in a class, for nearly eight hours a day, make sure the students learn all that is in the syllabus, get enough all round activities into their days and teach them to behave better. Just this requires some serious understanding of people management, child psychology and common sense apart from subject knowledge.

But what happens at the backend? Do they really get to switch off at the end of the day when they leave the school premises? No, they have to write what’s called notes of lesson (a record what will be taught and how it will be taught) in a prescribed fashion every week, update the syllabus, fill up innumerable records – right from marks card to student admission details and often multiple copies of it.

And with emphasis on creative learning methods these days, the teachers spend considerable amount of time and money in preparing those charts and other materials. More often the money comes from their own pockets. As for holidays, much of it is gone in writing school records and attending trainings.

For all this effort the salaries they get are often pittance. It ranges from five thousand rupees to a maximum of 40 thousand rupees a month. Majority of the salaries however fall below 20 thousand rupees a month. There are very little growth opportunities (there can be only one principal per school, right?) and even lesser opportunities to diversify. Low salaries aren’t exclusive to Bangalore or even India. World over, teachers are the least paid.  

What makes them stick to the profession with such high levels of stress and so little money? The answer often is either ‘the respect we earn’ or ‘the joy of working with the future generation.’ But they do advice ‘neenu teacher aaga bedamma’ (don’t become a teacher), going by their own experience.

Hats off to the teachers.

About Padmalatha Ravi 4 Articles

Padmalatha Ravi is an independent journalist and filmmaker.