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March 2002

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EDUCATION

TOLERANCE: AN ESSENTIAL QUALITY OF A TEACHER

By Dr. Harnek S. Kaile

 

A good teacher has many qualities, among which tolerance is an essential one. Tolerance implies tolerating or discussing, without any bias, those views and situations with which one may not agree.

Teacher is the nation-builder. But he has a feeling that he doesn't get due respect from the society. A patwari, whom people address as 'patwari sahib' is better than him. There is a joke that a farmer saved a drowning man, but when he came to know that the man was a teacher, he threw him back into the river, saying, "I thought you were a patwari". In such a situation, the teacher cannot say anything to the society, but he shows his anger at the students. He should be mentally healthy, otherwise he will always be tension-ridden. Only an emotionally stable teacher can perform the task of educating the children properly. He should never forget that he deals with human mind - the most delicate thing of the world - and he has to play a role in the formation of a prosperous society.

The teacher expects that his students should obey him and he is upset if they are not disciplined. But harsh discipline and stuffy environment of educational institutions do not help in providing proper direction to the education of the children. 

 

In Tagore's view, the flower-like child is always anxious to learn from mother Nature but, because of the harsh school environment, he learns in a manner as if hailstones were falling upon him. Most of the school students are in the adolescence stage of their lives. There is boundless energy in them and they want to destroy the prevalent values and traditions of society. Naturally, they may do something which our society does not approve.

A teacher should never be a votary of harsh discipline. He should try to peep into the minds of students. Swamy Vivekanand rightly says that a teacher should come to the level of the child and try to understand him.


Minor mistakes of the student should be tolerated. But, generally, the teacher does not tolerate indiscipline and starts beating him with a 'danda'  because of the belief 'spare the rod and spoil the child'. Certain children leave their studies in-between  because of the strictness of their teachers. One such student wrote to his teacher, "I want to tell you that I left the school because of your harsh nature. I pity the children whom you teach".

There are certain delinquent children in the class. They steal, smoke, tease others, tell lies and indulge in sexual crimes. The teacher's attitude towards such children should be sympathetic and he should try to reform them by finding out the root cause of their bad habits.

If a student does not do his home work, the teacher should not start rebuking or abusing him. He should try to understand his problem. It is just possible that he may not have done his home work because of his awfully  busy schedule.

If the teacher is good and praiseworthy and has no drawback, the student is expected to be like him. But a student of fourteen years cannot be as wise and tolerant as a forty years old teacher. A wise teacher does not expect a student to imitate him. His attitude towards him is always constructive. If a student criticises him and does not like him, he introspects his own self and does not get angry at the student.

The teacher should appreciate a student when he asks him a thought-provoking question because such students can contribute to the progress of the nation.


His attitude should not be like that of a teacher who pounced upon the student, who asked him the meaning of a word, and said, "I have done B.A. without this word. Can't you do matric without it"? A good teacher is overjoyed when he comes to know that his students are enjoying high positions in society. At the end of a session, some students of an institution came to a teacher and asked for his autographs. The teacher looked at them; his eyes were filled with affection for them and he said, "Dear children, Today I want your autographs. I have become what I could. I don't know what and how great you'd become"!

In the schools, most of the students tolerate harsh attitude of the teacher and do not rebel. But in the colleges, the environment is quite different and the students resort to 'zindabad', 'murdabad' on the slightest provocation.

The tragedy with the teaching profession is that it has many persons who have no love either for this profession or for the children. They have adopted this profession out of compulsion and they think that it is below their dignity. But they forget that it is the noblest profession and maximum  mental satisfaction can be attained in it. They should do justice with this profession and develop tolerance among themselves to become good teachers.
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DR.HARNEK SINGH KAILE, Ph.D.(Education), M.Phil(Education), M.Ed., M.A.(English), M.A.(Punjabi) has 28 years' experience as a lecturer in a college of education, and is presently Principal, G.H.G.Kh. College of Education, Gurusar Sudhar, Distt Ludhiana (Pb.) India. He has published many research papers, including Bharti Sikhya Churahe Te (in Punjabi) which has been translated into English and is being serialised here.

 

Dr Kaile can be reached by e-mail at mailto::kamalkaile@hotmail.com