Saturday, December 8

Musings

During one of thoes enlightening moments on campus ( and trust me, they are very very rare), I came to this realization that learning new stuff is actually fun. Such a realization came when I was having a conversation with the one grandfather of all knowledege whom I had personal access to. As usual he was putting gyaan to the surrounding mortals on those things that only he knows how he knows. Then I realized one more thing, its not the topic that makes it fun, more so its the person from whom the gyann is recieved! AND trust me, this grandfather can probably make even Man-Tech intersesting to a 4th yr mech student...... Thats saying a lot!

The purpose of me taking the pain to type this out here is rather simple. It is to re-empahsize the fact that teaching is arguably the most important of all proffessions, perhaps even more important than doctors. Teachers have such a great effect on society, yet we fail to take note of it , much less realize the sheer magnitude of it. We are living in an age where all the Toms, Dicks and Harrys who cant do anything else, end up teaching. As a high school student, I consider myself very lucky to have been taught by a select few, who had the abiliy to inspire their students. But with deepest regret, I must say, in the premier institute of technology in India, a lot is left to be desired in terms of faculty.

What is the solution here? As far as I can see, the Right to Teach should be made an exclusive one, just like the Right to practise Law or Medicine. One thing that most people don't realize is that people with a sound technical base or scientific know-how are not always the best teachers. Therefore the current practise of a Ph.D or M.S being the passport to teaching should be changed. There should be mulitple levels of qualifications which a teacher should clear and these levels should be an indication of both knowledge as well as the ability to teach. In this manner those who clear the highest levels should be made to teach in the premier institutes and they should be paid generously as well.

All this may sound complicated and cumbersome, but the social benefit of having good teachers will easily surpass the costs involved. More on this topic later.

8 comments:

Gayatri said...

really GOOD teachers, sure are a rarity.

gone are the days when a teacher commanded respect and made us think twice before we crossed their path, in ANY way.

Mahesh Mahadevan said...

Grandfather of All Knowledge! LOL ROFLMAO!!!

Mohan K.V said...

My most humble thanks for that most grand sobriquet :-) I should send you that Dexter episode sometime, please remind me or the Nai!

This _right_ to teach you wrote about is an interesting idea. We can't count how many _thousands_ of students were put off from pursuing their (higher?) education by bad teachers, and how many of the people at the top of their fields are there because of an inspiring moment in a class sometime.

I have an old newspaper cutting with me, I saved it because that was the first time I read Rudyard Kipling's If. It has this lovely anecdote about S.Radhakrishnan. It's sli torn so I'll need to scan it and type it out, will do so ASAP and put up a post when I'm done!

wolverine said...

@gayatri..

yea.... actually respect would indeed be a good measure of how well a teacher does his job... if someone is good at the what he does, he will command respect for sure.

@mahesh

hehe.... i couldn find a better word to describe our man!

@k.v

haha.. i have seen the dexter episode :D/.....

Yes, students getting put off by bad teachers is a reality that is staring at us, in fact shouting at us in the face. Our own college would be the best example of that. I would say the loss is really immeasurable when taken from a national interest point of view. The entire country would have profited so much had all_the students having_an_interest in a particular field is motivated enough to pursue it. The sad part here is that though we worry about it now, I am sure almost none of us would give it a second thought once we are out of college and hence would do nothing to remedy it, even if we manage to reach a position where we can. I really dont know what to do, except blame the system.

mathew said...

As it is, the IITs are facing a shortage of new faculty members. If something like what you are proposing is implemented, we might have to shut down most colleges, leave alone the IITs.

wolverine said...

@mathew.

ya.. i agree. We are facing shortage of good faculty. But why is it? I think there are two reasons behind it. One is the financial reason, since faculty positions rarely get good salaries or benefits. Now to get really good people we needn't pay them exorbitant amounts. But we do need to pay them enough so that they can maintain a respectably high standard of living in a metro like chennai.

Now the second and what I believe to be the more important reason, is the status in soceity and respect that such a job commands. Now you might reply that being a prof in IIT is indeed a very respectful job, but think from the point of view of someone passing out of IIT. How will he gauge the worth of a job? In all most all cases, the worth of a job is judged largely by your own opinion of the person who currently has the job. If for example you see someone whom you believe to be a total nut head in a particular post, then it very unlikely that you would want to be his successor any day. But, think if the person is someone you admire. Such a person would generally be admired by everyone and you wouldn mind forgoing certain amount of financial benefits to be HIM.

Czar said...

Supply and demand dude.
Eventually market fucks everyone, :) the jury too.

There is no What Say You in this case.

Only one line in the blog can help the situation. Pay MORE.

wolverine said...

@czar

Dont tell me you are commie!! I do agree that money is an important factor, but imagine a situation where all the profs in IITM were maajor studs. Wouldn't someone aspire to be a prof just to be in the same league as them? All said and done, recognition is something that we all crave for, isn't it?