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A very significant and paradoxical question has recently surfaced among us – me and my friends. One friend of mine asked me whether teaching is a profession or not; if it is a profession then how and if not then why not. What do you think – is teaching a profession? At first look, yes, teaching is a profession. No one teaches for free and if someone accepts monetary or any other form of compensation or reward for teaching, it becomes a profession automatically. Teaching has been a profession all along – since the Vedic ages. Guru Dronacharya was also a teacher and he was a professional teacher as he accepted monetary rewards from the king as well as Guru Dakshina from his students. On the other hand, teaching as a profession is not a profession of simple manner because it gives much more than what it brings for the professional – a teacher can create a thousand administrators in one year but he will receive a very meagre reward in terms of money for that act. While all other professionals mainly focus on generating wealth for themselves, a teacher focuses on making responsible and educated people who are the wealth of the nation.
Is teaching a profession?
If one says so, this might not do complete justice with the teachers. However, if one says that teaching is a noble profession then only one may do justice with all the teachers. Why is teaching a noble profession? It is a very noble profession because nothing can compensate what a teacher does. A teacher creates human resources for the nation – skilled, trained and equipped professionals who take the nation ahead. A teacher can create writers, professors, artists, drivers, army, intellectuals, thinkers, philosophers and what not! What can you and I create working as other kinds of professionals? Anything other than hard money – perhaps not! Therefore, yes, teaching is a profession but a noble one, a very giving profession that brings fortunes for the person receiving education as well as for everyone else.
Today – is teaching the same profession as ‘yesterday’?
This question will need a lot of thinking or, in fact, very little. Today, before the admission or a three-year-old kid in pre-school, parents have to pay a huge fee and then continue paying every month in advance. Does the child learn? That will depend on circumstances, fees and other elements. So, there is no assurance even after the payment and a professional has to repay the money in the form of services. Are the ‘teachers’ of the day repaying it honestly? Look around and judge for yourself.
Teaching has become just like other professions today. There is a lot of money involved – Kota, Patna and other cities have become factories of printing money in the name of education. And this has certainly brought a bad name to the teachers who are honest and hardworking!
So, what’s the conclusion?
Yes, teaching has always been a profession because there is an exchange involved. Teachers take monetary or otherwise rewards in exchange for education. However, it was a noble profession ‘yesterday’ and has become a bad profession today. Erstwhile, people used to respect teachers from the bottom of their hearts. Today, even the students don’t respect teachers. Why? Because they have understood that in this profession now, there is no ‘value for money’ and if a profession loses that charm, there is no respect for the professional!
India needs to make teaching a noble profession again. If it doesn’t happen, in spite of being a country of the youths, we won’t be able to develop on a pace we can! A teacher has to work selflessly but at the same time, a teacher has to be paid sufficiently. This is something that the government of the day can ensure.