The Dark Side of Education: When Teachers Become Tormentors

An empty government school in Srinagar | Danish Ismail / Reuters

By Peer Mohammad Amir Qureshi

TEACHERS are the architects of a nation’s destiny, entrusted with the formidable task of shaping and guiding the next generation. Since time immemorial, the act of teaching has been revered as a sacred calling, a beacon of light that illuminates the path towards knowledge and wisdom. In Islam, the exalted status of teachers is enshrined in their rights and privileges, as expressed by the wise words of Hazrat Ali (RA): “Whoever teaches me a single word, becomes my master for life.” Let us celebrate the noble profession of teaching, for it is through the selfless dedication of teachers that our future shines bright.When teachers are the architects of a nation’s destiny, it is unfathomable to think that they could bring misery to their students. Yet, sadly, this can occur. As the foundation of our future, teachers hold an immense responsibility to instill a love for learning and provide the tools for success. Any action that deviates from this sacred duty is a betrayal of the trust placed in them by both students and society.

As I delved into a poem, seeking to unveil its intricate rhyme scheme, my thoughts were drawn back to my high school English teacher. It grieved me to remember his lackadaisical approach to teaching, as he blindly regurgitated information from a guidebook without any effort to prepare for his lessons. The role of a teacher goes far beyond mere transmission of knowledge; it is a sacred duty to impart wisdom and guidance to students, so that they can attain their full potential. I strongly believe that the lessons we learn in our formative years stay with us for a lifetime, which makes it all the more critical for educators to be meticulous in their preparation.

Sadly, there were numerous instances when this teacher failed to live up to this noble calling. In one such incident, he delivered a lecture on the bird “swallow,” where he erroneously equated it to a pigeon without taking the time to look up the facts or spare a minutes to consult a dictionary. Such a casual approach to teaching is nothing short of an insult to the intelligence and potential of the students. I do not mean to implicate all teachers in this deplorable behavior, but it is a sad reality that some see their students as a burden rather than a precious opportunity to shape the future.

The reason behind such behavior exhibited by teachers could stem from a myriad of causes. As you delve deeper into the art of teaching, remember that with great power comes great responsibility – a teacher’s bond with their students must be nurtured with unwavering care and utmost devotion. Etched indelibly in my mind is the fierce competition among teachers in the same department to enroll students in their private coaching centers during my higher secondary education. Regrettably, students were often left to suffer the consequences of this cut-throat rivalry, bearing the brunt of a system driven by self-interest rather than the noble pursuit of education. Seared into my memory is the recollection of practical exams, where students were compelled to face an unjust interrogation if their tutor was not the examiner. The sheer audacity of such a practice, where students were subjected to an arbitrary barrage of questions, left a sour taste in the mouths of those who sought a fair and just evaluation. I, myself, have experienced such incidents, and there may be countless others who have encountered similar situations. The predicament that students face in such instances is the fear and trepidation of lodging a complaint against a teacher. During the tumultuous teenage years, the very idea of challenging a teacher’s authority is often met with hesitancy and uncertainty. This allows unscrupulous teachers to reign with impunity, leaving their students helpless and vulnerable. I harbor no animosity towards educators, for there are those among them who exhibit commendable dedication.

As an erudite being, I am well-acquainted with the noble breed of instructors who extend assistance to indigent pupils, be it in the form of pecuniary aid, literary provisions or even affording them their precious time. While my admiration for my educators runs deep, it is paramount that we institute amendments to facilitate redressal of grievances by pupils. To this end, a judicious committee must be established to scrutinize and expeditiously investigate any charges brought against instructors, and to mete out appropriate retributive measures upon substantiation of guilt. It behooves the learned and revered cadre of instructors to discharge their duties with utmost probity, and to meticulously craft and rehearse their pedagogical presentations ere delivering them.

Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer

  • The author is a columnist and Poet pursuing MSc in zoology. He tweets @peermohdamir and can be reached at [email protected]

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