The word ‘Guru’ is composed of two Sanskrit words, “Gu” meaning darkness and “Ru” meaning light i.e. ‘Guru’ is the one who dispels darkness. Well, teaching has been regarded as one of the most noble professions since ancient times. The eminence of a guru’s position can be gathered from the Vedic Mantra that describes him as the Creator (Gurur Brahma), Preserver (Gurur Vishnu) & Destroyer (Gurur Devo Maheshvarah).
In Hindu culture, particularly, formal education traces its origin in ‘Guru- Shishya Parampara’ wherein a student (irrespective of the station in life) had to spend the entire duration of education in Gurukul (Guru’s Abode) as knowledge was passed down in orally through scriptures. The relation between a teacher and a student was considered spiritual. Guru not only imparted academic lessons but also played an important role of being a mentor & companion throughout the student’s journey.
However, this teacher-student dynamic changed with the advent of books & transformed radically with the advancement of technology. This is because students did not have to be dependent on the teachers to learn. With the Internet being at the helm of things, information became only a few clicks away.
Nonetheless, teachers continue to enjoy an unchallenged position the society. This is because ease of access to data does not assure education. Information is not necessarily knowledge. One requires the guidance of a teacher to develop the skillset, wisdom & acumen required to understand, interpret & filter the excess & contradictory data readily available on the web. Moreover, it is still the teacher (not the machines) who fulfils the pious duty of equipping a student with social, moral, and ethical knowledge.
Teachers have always worked tirelessly to help their students achieve virtue & excellence. Even in the wake of pandemic, when every other person of the planet was numbed by fear & anxiety & was trying to cope with the unprecedented change, teachers discharged their duties selflessly.
Though they lacked training and experience with the digital platforms & tools, they took the challenge of online education head-on & excelled in it. Be it taking classes till evening, assuring attendance of students, managing student behavior & engagement behind the screen, helping parents navigate the digital transformation, reinventing teaching techniques, and what not, they went an extra mile and ensured a holistic learning experience for their students!
No wonder teachers are regarded as the pillars of society!