As we prepare to celebrate World Teachers Day on Oct 5, let us take a moment and reflect on the challenges faced by teachers in helping children learn, think and make right choices in life.
Their dedication to teaching is matchless. They are agents of change, sources of inspiration and discoverers of hidden talents and gifts with which children are born.
Their sweat, blood and tears have helped many enjoy different careers while living successful and satisfying lives. They are doing the best they can for the love of the children and the profession.
As the teachers produce a visionary and exemplary nation and generation, they save the world from turning into an Orwellian dystopia with human rights being violated and undefended.
While many feel that teachers are trusted individuals with unimpeachable integrity, some doubt their credibility and ability to ensure that children are groomed to face the real world after finishing school.
When cases of schoolchildren being involved in criminal acts such as robbery, rape, gangsterism, drug abuse and murder are reported, people start to lose faith in teachers.
But, is it wise and warranted to blame teachers for such consequences? Does the exam-oriented policy make students too stressed up as they are pushed to excel and be the best among the best?
These recent years, the education system has been revised, resulting in new syllabus, subjects, approaches and standards being implemented in schools. These efforts are planned, especially to cater to the needs of the millennials and tech-savvy generation, who lead a different lifestyle and learn in different ways.
This reality poses a great challenge for teachers, who need to adopt and adapt revolutionary and contemporary teaching methods in shaping learners into creative, independent and mature thinkers.
Dealing with motivated and de-motivated learners is daunting and challenging in different ways. Ambitious and enthusiastic learners are full of energy to learn, and they set high expectations on their teachers to help them explore new knowledge and challenge their ability to think out of the box.
On the other hand, demotivated and problematic learners fail to understand that education will help them shine and guide them to success.
Instead of tasting the sweetness of delayed gratification, they seek enjoyment in temporary satisfaction, squandering time and money, while engaging in unhealthy activities like smoking, loitering, watching pornography and speeding on the road.
For them, schools are for nerds, homework is torture and school rules are obstructions that kill their freedom and happiness.
Little do they realise that education helps them become percipient thinkers, who will make smart decisions as they manage their career, marriage and finance in the future.
Knowledge is important as it serves as food for heart, mind and soul, no matter how diminutive or enormous the portion gained by learners as they attend school every day.
True teachers stay effervescent when dealing with difficult and diverse learners. They will not shirk their duties or be easily shaken by storms for they believe that the rainbow will grace their days eventually.
Muhamad Solahudin Ramli