5 Sept 2009

Teachers : Aaj Kal

This post got selected for BlogAdda's Tangy Tuesday Picks. Click here to visit the BlogAdda page containing a mini-review of this post by the BlogAdda team.

This post has been published by me on the occasion of the Teachers' Day as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 2, the second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers, where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
Teachers : Aaj Kal


Prof. V.K. Grover
Guest Blogger

A couple of days back, my son, Vipul asked me, how can we compare the present day teachers with those from the olden days. My instant response was that the old day teachers were better. It might be a reflex action to such a question as we are taught since our childhood that the old is gold. Nevertheless, the question started a chain of thoughts in my mind. Here, I'll be giving words to those thoughts as my son requested me to do the same.

When we talk of teachers, we need to consider all the teachers starting from the Professors in a big university to a school teacher in a village.

Let us first start with the University teachers because I myself belong to this fraternity. Moreover, if they are good, then they produce students of higher calibre, some of whom teach in the colleges and in turn produce good school teachers, who in turn send well equipped students for the higher learning, hence improving the country's human resources.

In the middle of the twentieth century when USSR launched its first satellite, Sputnik I; USA realized that it was lagging behind in the space technology. During this era of Space Race, USA opened its doors for the scientific intellectuals from all around the world, offering them handsome salaries and attractive working conditions. This gave an opportunity to many Indian academicians to visit USA and work with the best in the trade. Some of them came back with greater acceptability in the Indian society becoming members of an elite class of intellectuals. They took teaching and research assignments in Indian universities that gave boost to teaching and learning, particularly in sciences and mathematics.

Moreover, after Independence there was a major expansion in the higher education which led to quick promotional avenues for the teachers. This acted as a great work incentive as some of them even became heads of institutes at relatively young age. As those teachers were in the main stream of world research scenario, they were very successful as teachers and thus became role models for the future generations.

As the time passed, the expansion in higher education got stunted. There were lesser opportunities for promotions. Moreover, due to political reasons or otherwise, successive governments developed apathy towards teaching community. In order to make sure that the teachers are not marginalised in the society, the university and college teachers formed Unions and fought together to obtain better service conditions which they got in the form of establishment of UGC in 1970's.

However, they had to pay a heavy price for this in terms of loss of respect in the society associated with the noble profession of teaching. Monetary considerations took the priority over the academics and more and more teachers started indulging in private tuitions. In this scenario, the only formula to help the students obtain good marks is to give them some ready made tips and no efforts are made to make the basic concepts clear.

With the opening of I.T. enabled services sector, people are finding other professions more lucrative. Only the mediocre are now left to join the teaching profession. This decrease in the quality of University level teachers trickles down to the lower levels too.

This discussion will be incomplete if we don't talk about the school teachers who really lay the foundation for the future human resources.

In earlier days, in general, people were satisfied with the career they started with and were physically and mentally devoted to it. There are examples of teachers taking free of cost extra classes in the schools for the weak students and devoting extra time in sincerely checking home work of the students. However, as every one is becoming commercial these days, even they are not left untouched. Tuitions are becoming a fashion these days and there are innumerable cases of Government teachers forcing their students to take up private tuitions from them after the school.

In the olden times, the teachers also had a free hand in mending the pupils and even a bit of corporal punishment was a way of life. On the contrary, present day teachers have become more accountable. Parents are averse to any kind of corporal punishment and as such teachers have to work under many constraints; good or bad, is a different subject matter.

If we analyse further, we find that in the past, the access to information was not that good as it is today. Now with the invention of computers and Internet, the students are well informed while the students in the olden days had only one source for learning new things and that was the teacher. Hence he was looked at as the most learned person. However, today students can critically examine the teacher in view of the information available through the Internet and when the teacher is at fault, it automatically leads to decline in respect.

The introduction of the new technologies like LCD projectors and computers, however, also have there positives for the teaching community. A computer savvy teacher can plan his lectures well, make them more legible and give pictorial descriptions at ease, something which older generation teachers could not do. With the fast exchange of information through Internet and updating of technologies, if today's teacher is willing to put some effort, he can do wonders.

Beyond the old and present teachers, what about the future? The phrase old is gold will be repeated in future too. You may wonder that the quality of teachers might further decline. However, this is not the case. At any given time and in any profession, we have some good professionals and some black sheep while the most of the remaining are the mediocre. With the passage of time, we forget the black sheep and the mediocre and remember only the good ones, comparing them with the complete lot of the present professionals. This gives a bias against the present ones.

In future if someone happens to write about the teachers, he/she may come up with some other reasons but nevertheless the reasons quoted here are a food for thought. Some of the maladies plaguing the teaching community, mentioned here, if rectified or better removed can help in arresting any further decline in the standards.

A note from the Host Blogger:
Well, friends when this topic which had been suggested by me on the Blog-a-Tonic discussions, finally got selected, I already had some vague ideas about how to treat it. However, being totally held up due to studies, I thought why not pass the buck onto the person who has more than half a century of association with the education sector, first as a student and then as a teacher himself. Being a Mathematician, my father has always played with numbers. So here, I challenged him to play with the alphabets. He was hesitant at first but finally yielded and came out with a brilliant analysis. What you read here is the final version with minor editions from my side.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton are Rajalakshmi, Dhiman, Ranee[1], [2], [3] , Avada, Indian Pundit, Sojo, Aneet, Pramathesh, Aativas, Sid, Pra, Ajinkya, Lakshmi, Govind, Shilpa, Bharathi, Shankar, Mytuppence, Azad, Pawan, Pankaja, Saimanohar, Guria, Shruti, Vishnu, Nasrajan and Richa. Click on their respective names to read their posts on Teachers : Aaj Kal. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Don't miss my latest Teachers' Day special review and recommendation of Freedom Writers on The recent Movie I Liked upon Reflecting widget on the side bar.
Images Courtesy:
1. http://www.research.plymouth.ac.uk and http://www.dea.uniroma3.it (edited)
2. From personal collection (edited)


Raji U said...

That was a good write up from your dad!! My many congrats for the post and all the best for being voted as the best

Shruti said...

hey vipul!! Awesome trick!!

making your dad write!!
you are the first to post at 00.06
i ll be the last one!!23.59 :P
gud one re!

Vipul Grover said...

Hey thnx Raji.. gr8 2 read ur post too:)

@Shruti.. um pretty clever u c;)
i hop the clock doesn't tick beyond 23:59.. Ur time strts now:)

Indian Pundit said...

Hello Sir,

Brilliant post indeed.
Very interesting.
i found that aspect where Soviet's Sputnik I triggered the americans into opening ""its doors for the scientific intellectuals from all around the world,"" very interesting.

Cheers and read mine.


Sugandha Gupta said...

nice write up .... though i have a question to ask here ... m kinda confused abt it ... n since ur father is in the respectable profession ... i wud love to know his views...
i duuno y ... bt to sme extent i feel the increase in the number of suicides is coz of the teacher's behaviour too unno to sme extent ... though i have my own reasons to say tht ... yet m kinda confused abt the thought .... please leme kno his views on ths thought :)
n Happy Teacher's Day to him :)

Anonymous said...

Hey wish your father "Happy teachers day" on my behalf.. that was a very nice writeup.. and I agree with every bit of it.. and looks like your father and I think very much alike :)

Anonymous said...

and that pic on the top (just below the heading of the post) is so nice.. did you paint it yourself? how did you do it?

Lakshmi Rajan said...

To know the teachers now and then from a perspective of someone who had been a student,teacher and seen both now and then is an interesting perspective!

Pramathesh said...

Hey Vipul, that was the smartest thing to do. Ask your Dad!

Anyways a good write up. Although I was terrible, I feel happy, that I had a good competition to lose to.

I really liked the way he put the point, Old is Gold and it would be kept repeating in the future as well.

pawan said...

Firstly Happy teacher's day to your Dad.
I have a small message for him,
After going through this post, I could assess the kind of teacher you are. Your knowledge pours all over the sentences giving them a unique charisma which might have been lost if it was written by somebody else. I was surprised to know that the older generations had better teachers or scholars due to America's initiative. It might not be true on all counts but it is a quite worthy reason.

I have been a student for the past 16 years, and I should tell as my age increased the quality of the teachers also decreased. Technology can do wonders if one has the subject but not otherwise. Teacher's now a days have become more money minded. "I tell you till here - because this is how much I get" attitude has become a bane for the students. Teaching is a service oriented occupation, just like medicine, it should never be measured in terms of money. If the teachers of this generation realize it, then the world will be a better place!

To Vipul:
Sorry for the long comment! I felt like typing it!. Moreover, I might be absent from this blog-a-ton event, because I am low on time and also because I have posted a story after busting my *beep* for more than two weeks just yesterday! I will surely write a post, but won't publish on my blog, just leave it with my current post as a word file!
Will that qualify?
And all the best for your exams mate!


BK Chowla, said...

Extremely well written.Our teachers have always been good.If that wasn't so,young Indians would not have been visible all over the world at the most competitive and successful positions.In fact our students are so good that world would envy them...that is all because we have good teachers.

Sojo Varughese said...

"At any given time and in any profession, we have some good professionals and some black sheep while the most of the remaining are the mediocre." - this sir, is the bottom line :)

Dhiman said...

This was a very unique idea of having your dad write this one as he was person who has seen it all for such a long time and what an apt analysis he has done...
Happy teachers day to him :D

Bharathi said...

Nice post pal. I have seen you using innovative methods to present your ideas. This is real good to ask your dad speak here. All the best for winning the award.

Vipul Grover said...

Hello friends, first of all, my dad says his heartfelt thanks to all those who appreciated his article-Raji, IP, Suga, Avada, Pawan, Pramathesh, Sojo, Chowlaji, Dhiman and Bharathi..

Now coming to the specific answer to Sugandha regarding suicides..
(I've framed the reply on basis of wat he said)

More thn the teachers the onus lies on the parents who force their children into specific direction without giving heed to their intrinsic qualities.
Also they try 2 fulfill their own unfulfilled ambitions through them.
On broader level, onus lies on the specific culture which regard success in specific fields as only being worthy enough.
On the contrary a good teacher wud like 2 advice the parents about the right kind of course work to be taken by the students so tht he cn excel in tht.
Of course the not-so-good ones will stay a bit aloof and hence they share the responsibility bt not 2 d extnt of parents.

Vipul Grover said...

Now I say..

@Avada Kedavra.. hey those r just googled images.. found the two and created one out of it.. though tht in itslf is job of a talentd prsn ;)

@Lakshmi.. Hey missed 2 thnk u in d above reply.. nice 2 know u likd the post:)

@Pramathesh.. Um pretty clever, u mst hav realisd by now.. lol

@Pawan.. Nvr mind buddy, well i also hav 2 read ur latest one, will do it once get ovr the blog-a-ton posts in acouple of days:)

@Bharathi.. Hey thnx thr.. it was fun making him write this one:)

Prashansa said...

That is the best analised post.With so much of experiance behind it I this this is the best post of today's blog-a-ton! The point that 'today students have more sources of information and so they critisise the teachers'is so true!

Shilpa Garg said...

Wow! A wonderful strategy, Vipul!!

Its an honour to know the insights from an expert from the field!!

Thanks and Cheers! :)

Unknown said...

A very happy teachers day to ur dad.... A very niec write up vipul..I think we are no match to such an experienced person.who knows very well and who analyzes very well about teaching... lol..u didnt tell me that a guest blogger can write for blog-a-ton.... ;-) I would have called my hod to do this.. lol..just kidding....

I think the note at the bottom is too small... you can make it a little bit bigger..so that everyone could read without any strain..

ur father is well versed with alphabets too.... I think he took up the challenge really well..

your father is perfect that..there are always good professionals and some black sheeps among them... But i feel the number of black sheeps outnumbered the number of good professionals these days....

nice write up..let me read all others post... and will decide whom to vote..its really tough this time... Every one has come up with something different and something good.....

Tuppence said...

Was nice reading your post.
Liked your other review blogs too.

Siddhesh Kabe said...

To Prof Grover Sir,
That is a brilliant analysis on the topic, changed my perspective to it completely.

Nice strategy. Write more than a foot note on the topic...mebbe ur perspective on the AAj

Shruti said...

hey vipul!
As told i published the post at 23:32!!
Check it out!

Aneet said...

"With the opening of I.T. enabled services sector, people are finding other professions more lucrative. Only the mediocre are now left to join the teaching profession. This decrease in the quality of University level teachers trickles down to the lower levels too."

... So true. So unfortunate but true...

Vipul Grover said...

@pra, shilpa, shankar, sid,4 wat its wrth and aneet.. Thnx 4 appreciating the post.. will definitely cnvy it to dad:)

@shankar.. well, thts the bebefit of being the marshal. i cn twist the rules wn i want 2.. in case u hd gone for guest blogger i wud hav disqualified u.. lol

@sid.. buddy i wud hav luvd 2 write d whole post if i cud.. bt juggling b/w my stdies, cndcting blog-a-ton nd finally participating on my prsnl blog, i hav 2 giv priority 2 the frst 2:)

@shruti.. Cheers! will do tht soon:)

Sugandha Gupta said...

Thanksy Vipul .... m glad u replied to my query :)
though I still have so much to debate about ... bt nt enuf space for tht :)
take care :)

Unknown said...

lol...Marshall or participant... Rule is a rule... Now you are just behaving like the ministers of India... Since ur the marshall you twist the rules..But if we do??you will disqualify us???

lol..just kidding... I know about ur exams...take care...all the best..

Dr. Ranee Kaur Banerjee said...

Clever, Vipul. Really clever strategy.

And what a wonderful socio-historically complete and balanced picture your dad has managed to paint in such sweeping, broad brush-strokes!

This is a man who knows his stuff, can think logically about it and can also then express his considered opinion with clarity. The result is a gem that perfectly combines both left and right brain activity!

Please tell Professor Grover that Dr. Banerjee is now a fan!

Shanks said...

A really good one from Uncle vipul. Really nice read..;)

Aneet said...

Notable point that most of us would come up with similar write ups albeit a little different in style. I guess that is a result of all of us having the same brand of schooling, if I am right!!! :P

Saimanohar said...

Dear Sir,
very nice post. It was a privilege for us to read you blog.

Nasrajan said...

A belated happy teacher's day, Prof Grover.

Very comprehensive study and a very interesting one too. :-)

Vipul Grover said...

Hey frnds, sorry 4 sch late replies

@Suga.. hey nvr mind.. bring thm on. As it is i don't hav 2 put in mch as will pass it on 2 dad.. lol

@Shankar.. Thnx buddy.. I am just bhaving like (hopefully) a future civil servant.. lol

@Raneeji.. Hey, now thts a comment dad shud read for himslf:) Thnx so mch 4 appreciating.

Vipul Grover said...

@Shanks.. Thnx buddy. So finally atleast dad's post inspires u 2 comment ;)

@Aneet.. Yeah, most of us hd indeed :)

@Saimanohar and Nasrajan.. Thnx guys, will pass ur appreciative msgs 2 dad :)

Keep Reflecting

Pankaja said...

hey that was a brilliant write-up. Those were indeed experienced words from who has seen both the transitions of teachers AAJ aur Kal. It was indeed interesting.

PNA said...

It was so well written... Please convey my regards to your Dad..
and as a matter of fact, your Dad is at the best position to write about the topic because he has seen the teachers of Kal and Aaj...

I've had many wonderful and a few not-so-wonderful teachers in my life.. anyways, if not for them we wouldn't be writing blogs...

Unknown said...

yes...exactly in the same way.... you will surely become a good civil servant....

Vipul Grover said...

@Pankaja.. Hey, welcum 2 my blog:)
Thnx 4 appreciating nd yeah thnx frm my dad's side too:)

@PnA.. Hi, nice to have you here. Welcome to my blog:)
U r right, we owe a lot 2 our teachers for sure.
Thnx 4 appreciating this post nd will definitely cnvey ur msg 2 dad.
Keep returning:)

@Shankar.. Amen:)

Keep Reflecting

Narendra said...

Dear vipul,
sorry for arriving here so late.I wanted to read it from a long time.
FIrst and foremost,hearty congrats to Prof.Grover from yet another student(I belive all students SHOULD thank him for this indepth analysis of his)

Dear sir,
I have so many Good names in my mind as I read this post.Every good teacher deserves a standing ovation.But what do we do with the Bad ones ?They dont respond to your doubts and problems.They are callous to your grievances.They have Typical paper correction styles,which demand deduction of marks at places where they arent supposed to be!Some Just give away marks(koi gareeb ko hasaaya jaaye...types :) )!!these are indubitably the most harmful.And i refuse to respect teachers of such types.FOr me an ideal teacher is FIRSTLY a great orator,then an expresser and then a source of knowledge..

Sir,you rightly said that teaching is now chosen by mediocre ones!I think the college/school authority must be strict in taking in new teachers! (that doesnt happen most of the times,sadly )

Sir,I must say your expereince reflects in the post.Facts,arguments,suggestions and experince all blend together.That perhaps makes a perfect post and a perfect teacher and hence a person.Wishing you all the goodness!

Vipul convey this message to Prof.Grover ..pls :)

Vipul Grover said...

Hi, narendra.. thnx for dropping by. Well, surely i'll cnvey this msg to dad. He'll definitely b happy 2 read it. Nd well, um sure he can't help bt agree tht there r the black sheeps nd respecting thm is not possible.
Thts my point of view too. Respect comes naturally, hence such callous teachers just don't deserve it.

Narendra said...

oops i deleted my comment accidentally..blogger is getting tough for me...why cant you guys move to WP..lol...cant type it again..it says- i have difficulty yet again to track my comments...nothing special..:(

Narendra said...

hurray i did something intillegent(dont ask what :P) nd got back my comment here it is :( :( i will ever have a problem with tracking back comments on blogger...:( here if i choose the EMAIL FOLLOW UP i cant choose my OPENID OR NAME_URL identity ..there(in blog-a-ton)i could..template difference i guess :( :( well anyways i am glad to hear the topic ... :) right at it...(mail me the follow up ;)...joking yaar...you dont haveta do that...) will try something with bactype ..

Vipul Grover said...

Man u need sum crash course on Blogger :p