The formative years of our lives are known to be a most crucial period, and therefore the various agencies involved in our lives during these years tend to leave a long-lasting impact on our lives. One of these agencies is the role of teachers, who have oft been called ‘second parents’ for a child as undoubtedly they have an undeniable role to play given the number of waking hours spent by a child at school.
The teachers serve as role models for the students, often even after passing out from school. In fact, the value of a teacher’s role in an individual’s life can be gauged by the memories of our best (and worst) teachers, whom we often remember almost throughout our lives! Our teachers, especially in the contemporary world, have assumed a multi-faceted role, not just serving as a means for imparting education, but also to facilitate learning experiences beyond the textbooks, with a focus on skill building and overall personal growth. This is especially true as the teacher is actually by the child’s side throughout crucial stages of development, and therefore plays as vital a role in the child’s personality development as their own parents, imparting not only academic lessons, but life lessons as well.
The ‘Guru-Shishya’ Relationship
Especially within the Indian context, it is important to make a note of the traditional ‘guru-shishya’ relationship that has been percolating through various sections of the society over a period of time. The roots of the relationship between a teacher and student are centred on the values of respect and gratitude for the teacher being perceived as a wisdom figure. In fact, there exists a bi-directional relationship between the teachers and their students, with a great significance on the rapport established between them. In a relationship with warmth and positivity between the child and the teacher, the student is likely to be more willing to put in extra efforts towards pleasing the teacher, and the reverse holds true as well. Further, the role of the traditional teacher figure has undoubtedly been redefined over a period of time, with students gaining comfort levels in approaching their teachers for concerns they do not wish to share with their own parents.
Further, the field of teaching is not a trade with students as consumers of knowledge, but instead teachers are the facilitators of learning experiences, with a more individualistic approach. Therefore, the importance of relationship building cannot be emphasized enough. In addition, the teachers shoulder the heavy responsibility of nurturing and preparing the young minds to embrace the flavours of life experiences.
After childhood, we often find ourselves deserted without any ‘go-to’ figure after our parents or teachers, as we are expected to be responsible adults capable of dealing life’s challenges with ease. However, each experience is new for us, and each new hurdle brings with it its own set of challenges and setbacks. In fact, we all could benefit from the experiences and guidance of a mentor, not to create a dependency but simply to be available as a source of guidance and support, especially in today’s times. Therefore, the role of mentoring needs to be encouraged, not only within the field of education but in all spheres of life.