September 5, Teachers Day in India

Sir Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan whose birthday is celebrated as Teachers Day in IndiaSeptember 5, the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the second President of India and a great teacher, is celebrated as the Teacher’s Day in India. When Dr. Radhakrishnan became the president of India in 1962, some of his students and friends approached him and requested him to allow them to celebrate 5th September, his “birthday”. In reply, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, “instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teachers’ day”. The request showed Dr.Radhakrishnan’s love for the teaching profession. From then onwards, the day has been observed as Teachers’ Day in India.

Teachers’ Day Celebrations

In some countries, Teachers’ Days are intended to be special days for the appreciation of teachers. Some of them are holidays while others are celebrated during working days. Teacher’s Day in India is a tribute to the hard work that is put by the teacher all year long to educate a child.  Teachers and students report to school as usual but the usual activities and classes are replaced by activities of celebration, thanks and remembrance. At some schools on this day, the responsibility of teaching is taken up by the senior students as an appreciation for their teachers. They go to the junior classes, teach the subjects of their choice and try to maintain discipline as their teachers would have. In a lecture or two, the students and teachers interact in the auditorium and exchange messages of wisdom, knowledge and success. On this particular day, teachers are made to feel how important they really are, to the students who’ll become the citizens of tomorrow and hold the key to the future of the nation.

Who is a Teacher? What is Education?

This is a question that has been bothering me since my senior secondary certification days. Things aren’ better today, nor do I hold the hope that they’ll get better in the near future. This question bothers me because I don’t know the answer is false. I know and understand it well. But the said part is that those who implement education in India don’t understand it. The controllers of the Indian Education System don’t get it.

Who is a teacher? What is Education?
I’ll quote an excerpt from the Indian President, A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s address on the eve of Teachers’ Day in India , 2003.

…I am reminded of my childhood days when I was studying in 8th class at the age of 13. I had a teacher, Shri Siva Subramania Iyer. He was one of the very good teachers in our school. All of us loved to attend his class and hear him. One day he was teaching about a bird’s flight. He drew a diagram of a bird on the blackboard depicting the wings, tail and the body structure with the head. He explained how birds create the lift and fly. He also explained to us how they change direction while flying. For nearly 25 minutes he gave the lecture with various information such as lift, drag, how the birds fly in a formation of 10, 20 or 30. At the end of the class, he wanted to know whether we understood how birds fly. I said, I did not understand. When I said this, the teacher asked the other students whether they understood or not. Many students said that they also did not understand. He did not get upset by our response since he was a committed teacher.

Our teacher said that he would take all of us to the sea shore. That evening the whole class was at the sea shore of Rameswaram. We enjoyed the roaring sea waves knocking at the sandy hills in the pleasant evening. Birds were flying with sweet chirping voice. He showed the sea birds in formations of 10 to 20 numbers. We saw the marvelous formations of birds with a purpose and we were all amazed. He showed us the birds and asked us to see that when the birds fly, what they looked like. We saw the wings flapping. He asked us to look at the tail portion with the combination of flapping wings and twisting tail. We noticed closely and found that the birds in that condition flew in the direction they desired. Then he asked us a question, “Where the engine is and how it is powered”?

The bird is powered by its own life and the motivation of what it wants. All these things were explained to us within fifteen minutes. We all understood the dynamics from this practical example. How nice it was. Our teacher was a great teacher; he could give us a theoretical lesson coupled with a live practical example available in nature. This is real teaching. I am sure many of the teachers in schools and colleges will follow this example…

Teachers plant seeds of knowledge that grow forever

…In an integrated way it can be said, that any enlightened human being can be created by three unique characteristics. One is moral value system. That I got from my father the hard way. Secondly, the teacher becoming a role model. Not only does the student learn, but the teacher shapes his life with great dreams and aims. Finally, the education and learning process has to culminate in the creation of professional capability leading to confidence and will power to make a design, to make a product, to make a system, bravely combating many problems…

When we are kids, or we are young and wild, or old.. When we are watching the birds fly.. When we are sitting in the park listening to what the silent nature says.. Whether we are reading a news item in a newspaper or a blog post on the internet.. WE ARE ALWAYS LEARNING some thing or the other at all points of our life. I just wish all your teachers are so good and make you a better human being at each turn.

Happy Learning. Happy Teachers Day.