As a country steeped in tradition and culture our idea of teachers is not only in the western concept of a Teacher being an educator but we have also assigned additional roles like authority figure, absentee parent, etc.
But how much of life lessons, moral lessons and parental care can our mainly young teachers many of whom are just a few years out of a Teachers training academy give students who in some cases are barely younger than them.
At the same time given our cultural and traditional habits we have elevated teaching into a romanticized, near mystical and semi-divine profession when the reality is that teachers are among the most ignored professionals in the civil service.
I think we have to stop placing unrealistic and at times superhuman expectations on teachers and also stop romanticizing the profession.
This would be first step to not only addressing the concerns of teachers and improve our teaching practices but it would also be an important system in rebooting our average education system.
Teachers should be looked at mainly professionals, who require specialized training, adequate remuneration, proper support and good policies among others.
Teachers should be recruited, trained, placed and guided not to mould students into their world but to fit into the world of children and also help them to master basic skills.
Bhutan’s education system has come a long way but coming a long way is not enough. Instead of basking in the achievements of glories of the past the pressing issue at the moment is to fix Bhutan’s very average education system where even graduates are unable to write a one page application letter.
There is plenty wrong in our teacher training priorities, teacher support, curriculum, teaching methodologies and the class room environment. Far from aiming for high and impossible goals of making Bhutan an education hub we need to master our own basics first.
Good education is not only about books and knowledge but also about inculcating right values and morals and growing up as a balanced individual. Even this is an area where our education system can do much more.
Ultimately teaching more than being a noble profession is an influential one in terms of the number of lives and minds it influences. We need to do more for teachers, students and the education system as a whole.
By Pema Tshewang