Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy teachers day...

Happy teachers day...

when several students are saying  this to me...

I felt glad... at the same time, I also felt little guilty..

Are we really able to deliver the desired level of inspiration to the student community.

I still remember my childhood teachers...not that I have a good memory, but it is because of the way they inspired me.

But, now a days, most students are ignoring the teachers as soon as they pass the subjects.. most of the time, we find fault that the students are changing and teacher-student relationships are going down. But is it completely true ?

I feel that a student need not remember us… but he should remember what we teach, till eternity.

I feel that we, the teachers are also students, in an incessant learning process, but little ahead of our students, so that we will be able to guide them to understand in a simple way. I feel that I am a facilitator, rather than a teacher for my students. I also learn while teaching them.

If a student misses a class, I feel the same way a mother feels when her baby goes out for playing without eating food or drinking milk. I enquire several times for their absence. One of the students mentioned to me that, they are habitually becoming absent because several teachers don’t bother if a class is cancelled…nobody ever asked them why they are mass bunking the classes..the students are happy… and the teachers are also happy. One of the teachers mentioned to me that, if the class is not held as the students mass bunked, they should consider the class is held and go ahead with rest of the schedule. Is it correct ? if we keep a glass of milk ready for our kid… and if he does not drink it, will we leave him, presuming that he drank milk and it is not our responsibility to see that he really consumes it. Is our responsibility ending just by preparing a glass of milk? Shouldn’t we ensure that it is actually consumed by our kid. If students behave in an irresponsible way, it is the teacher’s responsibility to motivate them towards good behavior. The teacher should set an example to the students. Definitely some borderline students will change and lead others to change too.

Another thing is the methodology… we should use the technological advances to facilitate our teaching methods. With the emergence of powerpoint presentations, a new trend has emerged. Power point is not for reading out the slides in the class room. It is for facilitating our teaching process with points for memorizing and graphics/animations for more visual explanation of the concept. But it is being thoroughly misused by several teachers. Teachers are mechanically typing the powerpoints… or even worse, some teachers ask their postgraduates to ‘prepare’ the slides and directly read them in the class room, without even checking once. The students automatically develop lighter opinion of such teachers and think that they can download such slides by themselves. It promotes absenteeism. Some senior professors criticize the new generation teachers for using power point for the same reason. Another hidden reason might be, they can not learn doing powerpoint with a big learning curve. They satisfy themselves by telling repeatedly that the powerpoint is for the people who can not teach well. Both (mechanical reading of slides as well as completely rejecting the power point) are extreme views. We should use the technology to optimize our presentations. We should supplement our class with the slides. We should not substitute the teaching process with mechanical reading of the overcrowded slides…!

Coming to the concept…we should encourage problem based learning. Some of the students mentioned to me that though they like microbiology (or for that fact, any other subject) well… but by the time, they learn about the actual clinical importance of a particular organism, they are overwhelmed and exhausted with elaborate description of all the biochemical reactions of the organism. Such data may be necessary for a PG student… but is it necessary in depth, for an undergraduate student. We should concentrate upon the clinical importance and other practical issues which will really help them in patient care. In this regard, even the examination system needs to be changed. At least some questions to be focused on clinical implications. I wondered when one of a senior examiner asked students in viva about the width of a tapeworm segment…diameter of pinworm… length of female schistosoma and things like that…is it practicable to remember thousands of such numerical values. And what purpose do they serve. Some examiners like asking about outdated tests. We should redesign the curriculum to suit the needs of the present day health care system which is very complex. Are we ready for the change ? !

How much we are learning after ‘passing’ MD or MS ? I observed that some of the faculty telling the PGs that passing exams should be the only goal… and they can learn the subject after passing. Is it real? Can it happen? When they are not learning properly while doing PG, they may not learn any further after passing PG. Instead, they start behaving as if they know everything and mask their ignorance with arrogance so that nobody can approach them easily. The ego prevents us from learning any further. Then we start focusing on materialistic things like –discussing with colleagues about shopping lists, real estate, share market, current politics, future increments/promotions, casual leaves etc. We internally start feeling happy if a class is cancelled… but externally, say that the students are becoming irregular….!



Majority of People

Spend an inordinate amount of time and thought

On their own affairs,

Associates watching one another anxiously

To make sure the other isn’t paid larger salary,

Doesn’t own a bigger car,

Doesn’t take a longer vacation,

The trouble is obviously

They aren’t committed to their job.

That is what ails civilization.

They don’t care a damn for the ship,

So long as they get

What they think is coming to them

In rank, wages, shore leaves, pensions etc.


(Read about : Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son’s teacher : click here)