Pushing the envelope

Sujata C

It is great to see Teacher Plus touch the silver jubilee milestone. It was a black and white tabloid when I started reading it. With my son in school it was good to find something dedicated to school issues. As the school years progressed, we encountered many situations that were frustrating. Teacher Plus was like a ray of hope that reduced my sense of helplessness.

Back then, teaching was nothing more than a convenient profession for housewives, who enjoyed going to school with their children, coming back with them, enjoyed vacations with them and so on. I used to envy the teachers in my son’s school as I struggled with the demands of an advertising profession with its unforgiving deadlines and punishing schedules.

The schooling system was beset with problems like rote learning, heavy school bags, corporal punishment and indifferent teaching. Games and sports were frowned upon. (Now television channels crusade for marks for sports!) I wrote about the issues of the day and felt useful.

Slowly things began changing and reached a critical mass in the first decade of the 21st century. We saw the coming of the National Curriculum Framework in 2005, Right to Free and Compulsory Education in 2009, Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation and former Minister Kapil Sibal’s efforts to reduce the stress of the board exams.

Today, there is a sea change in the system. Teacher Plus has done its bit to bring it in. It has been a watchdog and pressure group of sorts, creating awareness, and voicing the concerns of teachers and parents alike about the rot in the system and the scars they were leaving on the minds of the students. Like a dependable friend, Teacher Plus has provided helpful ideas to stimulate natural learning. Handholding where necessary, the articles have encouraged teachers to push the envelope in teaching.

In the years to come, a lot more needs to be done, specially to check dropout rates in villages. Teacher Plus must continue to shine its light on issues that matter.

Looking forward, I can say, like women and wine, Teacher Plus can only get better with age.

The author is a freelance writer based in Hyderabad. She can be reached at sujata117@gmail.com.