Do we believe that a teacher’s responsibility is limited to teaching the subject allotted to her? I think teachers can be changemakers if they understand their social responsibility. In our country, there are several issues from poverty to pollution that our students have to deal with. In addition, because of global warming, there is also the problem of the Earth becoming inhabitable in the near future. With so many concerns staring us in our face, can us teachers stay quiet and not try and do our bit to reverse these social issues and improve the standard of living? As teachers, shouldn’t we question the wrong and teach our children the right values and attitude to live a responsible life?
Teachers have a role beyond teaching their subject in the classroom. Teachers can make the world a better place if they understand their true responsibility.
Being a socially responsible teacher
To be a socially responsible teacher, one must be self-disciplined and avoid unhealthy habits and lifestyles.
Teach values and their importance
Young children these days lack values, such as respecting elders, understanding the value of education, ethics, environment, hard work, cleanliness, non-violence, helping others, keeping oneself healthy and fit, respecting others’ views, understanding others’ problems, keeping our surroundings clean, treating everyone equally, loving nature, etc.. A socially responsible teacher must teach these values to students.
Teach how to live an environment friendly life
Children in schools may unknowingly cause environmental pollution and degradation. A teacher’s job is to teach children about how one can live an environment-friendly life– using electric vehicles, planting trees around their house, keeping their environment clean, producing less waste and disposing it off wisely, avoiding air conditioners and refrigeration to reduce CFC emissions are some examples of environment-friendly lifestyle.
Create awareness about the ill effects of alcohol and tobacco use
Teachers should teach children, with the support of statistical data, how alcohol and tobacco consumption cause death, acute illness, various types of cancers and other ailments.
Outreach programs and awareness building
As part of community development programs, teachers and students can create awareness among the people about waste management, proper garbage disposal, avoiding plastic usage, planting trees, conserving water, etc.
Plant trees and encourage others to do the same
Teachers can plant trees wherever possible. They can document their planting journey and show it to students to motivate them to plant trees as well. For their birthdays, students can be given tree saplings as gifts so that a tree planting culture is created.
Teachers can use bicycles or electric vehicles for commuting to school and other travelling purposes. Teachers can be the ambassadors of the zero pollution campaign.
Choose books wisely for the library
Teachers can suggest that the school has books related to value education, environment protection, sustainable development, self-motivation, financial literacy, etc., in the library.
Organize events to promote ethics and environmentally responsible attitude among children
Teachers can organize competitions, exhibitions, and events regarding combating environmental pollution, protecting environment, reducing crimes in the society, women and child safety, conserving environmental resources for sustainable usage, etc.
“More consumption means more exploitation of natural resources, consumerism is against sustainability” is the mantra of sustainable development and environment protection
People believe that if they buy more, they have a better standard of living. But consumerism has become detrimental to our environment. The more we consume, the more goods will be produced. More production will mean more strain on environmental resources.
Let us teachers become changemakers and build a community of responsible, caring, and compassionate individuals.
The author is a teacher at Chandrakanthi Public School, Coimbatore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org