Sometime ago I was thinking about the rat race we all are in. Its not the first time in my life that I was thinking about it. Whenever I hear or overhear parents talking about their children with their eyebrows knit and the lines of worry on their foreheads, it reminds me of my parents and my childhood days. Mine were no different and yet quite different. No doubt there were the same fears of what will happen in the future, but the outlook was different.
Thankfully my parents were never worried about raising their two daughters. For them settling their daughters down never meant making them doctors or engineers, nor were they worried about marriage, which is still a big question to answer in most Indian households. My parents were liberal enough and they let us to decide what we wanted to do in life.
And, so, I chose to become an educator and my sister a techie.
But soon I was made to realize by the world around me that being an educator was not good enough because we still belong to a nation where teaching can be done by just about anyone. The profession remains the first choice of parents with daughters and the first choice for those who are looking for a daughter in-law. Strange but true! Why? I am sure all my readers know the answer to this. I was disappointed that my parents had never warned me of this mentality earlier.
The other day I was told to my face that I am lucky to be in this profession as I can give quality time to my child. Before I could answer the person, my mind was jumping from one work on my ‘to do’ list to another and I realized that more than 80 per cent of my ‘to do’ list was filled with profession related work. And here the lady was standing in front of me and praising my luck!
I chose to remain silent because we all seem to have a skewed understanding about teaching. We call it a noble profession but look at the noble thought people have about us?
And the children for whom we work day and night, sometimes ignoring the needs of our own biological children, also do not have teaching on the list of professions to aspire to.
Who do we blame? Have we not done enough?
The other day one of my colleagues, an MBA by qualification, told me she is looked down upon because she left her lucrative job to become a school teacher. These are the same people who send their kids to school and to a school teacher, for a better future. Ironic but true!
What will bring a change in the minds of people is a question I am still struggling with. But I am hopeful that there will be a day when things will change for the better.
People don’t see hope in making their children teachers but we instill HOPE everyday tirelessly in our children. We remain hopeful that there will be a day when things will change and this side of life will also look green.
The author is vice principal, Suchitra Academy, Hyderabad. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.