TEACHING: PASSION OR A JOB? – Onentila Longkumer, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Education

“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.” – Nikos Kazantsakis



While writing this article, I am reminded of an experience. An elder was preparing me to face a teacher interview. Assuming question that came up was, “what is the best quality you think a teacher should possess?” Passion was the first answer that struck our mind. According to me, passion is when you invest more energy with enthusiasm and excitement on something than it is required. It is when you have a strong interest for something and you enjoy that feeling and therefore, as and when I introspect as a teacher; I arrived at conclusion that teaching is nothing but a passion out of which flows ideas and creativity which has the potential to change the world of students, and also the society at large.

Teaching is a perfect profession of passion which is not just a job anyone can do or perform, nor should it be underestimated to consider teaching as the last option job. In fact, teaching is a process that involves the learner and the learned, attending to different needs, experiences and feelings in pursuit of seeking/ imparting knowledge and understanding. To fulfil this challenge, a teacher should possess certain qualities such as: proper knowledge of the subject matter, understanding the role of a teacher in a child’s life, willingness to reflect, a work ethic that does not quit and enough humility to remember that it is not about the teacher. With that stake in hand, one cannot simply take up teaching as a job where it is just a process of performance in an exchange for pay. Job is merely for livelihood, when a person does a regular work and earns money for living. Teaching is that one profession which creates all other professions, the foundation of preparing everyone to reach their desires or goals in life.
Considering the current status of teachers in Nagaland, which revealed in a survey conducted by Unified District Information System of Education (2014-15), there were 29,499 school teachers in Nagaland and out of which, only 30.05% are found to be trained, which is a matter of serious concern. The survey also informed that students enrolled in primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary schools were 435,432 in total. Now here lies the questions, where are those lakhs of students now? What are they capable of? Are they utilising the knowledge gained from their teachers? Or have they realised the tireless memorization of lessons were all in vain and sitting idle at home feeling frustrated? With those students’ lives in hand, one must be aware of the challenges or get the full picture prior to embarking on a career as a teacher. Lack of passion or the misconception of teaching as a job or merely as a means of livelihood may lead to disastrous consequences for both the students and the teacher.
Students of this generation are so smart in sensing the attitude of teachers towards their careers. They get the vibe so easily; they tend to follow every step. During that discourse, teachers should be vigilant and realise what they are giving out. Students need to feel that teachers are enjoying the experience, so that they will be receptive and productive to their teaching. When a teacher is passionate, there is a sense of commitment, dedication and responsibility in pursuance of touching the hearts and minds of the young learners, moulding and shaping them and this serves as an inspiration for them. The hope of a teacher should be to instil the love of learning in the students while sharing the passion for learning with them. Teaching provides an opportunity of continuous learning and growth. To maintain the priority, Nagaland has come up with the implementation of four years B.ed programme and mandatory enrolment for D.El.Ed programme, which is the most ideal for preparing the teachers.
Nagaland needs productive learners who can contribute to the society, develop sustainable livelihood and enhance individual wellbeing. With limited exposure and opportunities for employments in the state, creating more idle youths is at high risk. Only those teachers who care for their students will be able to exert every possible effort to provide every possible opportunity to enhance their knowledge. Teachers should try their level best to facilitate the learning process and make it a productive experience. Yes! The path is narrow, and the journey will never be smooth. Teachers in Nagaland are facing more challenges today and it is more complex compared to the past years. There are so many rough edges but that can be polished when there is collaboration and co-ordination between the policy makers and the teaching force. Sometimes teachers today seem more pressurised to succeed than the students. Education policies require teachers to adhere to strict standards and norms. Most often however, these do not cover the necessary needs to function normally. These issues sometimes cause teachers to feel stifled, less creative, frustrated and during those times even wonder if they made the right decision. Students with different personalities and behaviours will seek different attributes or demand certain qualities of their liking. The best way to overcome those challenges is to remind themselves of what drew them to teaching in the first place; Was it the passion or simply for a job to get paid? If a teacher lacks the spark to teach there will be hardships and difficulties in executing one’s duties.
It is said that teachers are born and not made. It is a calling to serve with open-minded, patience, tolerance, compassion and humility. Passionate teachers can create passionate learners and it is a motivating factor. To maintain that passion might be challenging but with hard work, commitment and dedication, there will be rewards in the future. Teaching should be a passion that will play as a driving force and the energy that will fill us with meaning and happiness.
“There Is No Greater Thing You Can Do With Your Life And Your Work Than Follow Your Passion In A Way That Serves The World And You.” – Sir Richard Branson.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Aniruddha, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.


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