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LETTERS | Shillong, Sept 18, 2018: 

Editor,

This would be long, but I feel there is a need to address this proper. A statement by statement response to Partha Pratim Sengupta’s derogatory comment on ‘Teachers’ published by a reputed English Daily on September 4, 2018 ~~

Firstly, “September 5 is approaching and students will be celebrating Teachers’ Day through various programmes. Gifts will be purchased for teachers and teachers would have no objection in accepting these gifts. In the Government level functions all good words will be showered on teachers making them feel great on this special day”.

This is what I have to say — Gifts are no longer showered Mr. Sengupta. A majority of the schools are choosing to not allow individual gifts from the students. Schools now engage at a contribution through which one gift is being gifted to a particular teacher. Students are not forced to give gifts. It’s their own independent decision to make.

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Yes, I would agree with you to some extend that there are schools that promote individual gifts from students, however to categorise and generalise so much so to degrade the profession is recklessly venomous. In the last five years, many things have changed Mr. Sengupta, you’re in dire need of an upgrade to update. We do not work for the gifts!

Secondly, “ First of all, teachers are teachers by default and not by choice, meaning thereby that many become teachers on failing to get any other job. . . barring a few exceptions, teachers’ academic record is generally quite mediocre as students of high calibre would never prefer to be a teacher”.

— I am impressed with your confidence in authenticating that “teachers are teachers by default and not by choice”. Going by your standards, your choice to omit ‘many’ or ‘most’ seemed intentional. For your kind information, not all teachers are teachers by default because they couldn’t get a job anywhere. I’m in my twenties and I can name a few dozens of dedicated teachers that chose the profession because they love the job, and not forced into the profession because they could not find another job. They did!

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Some yes, are teachers by default. They fail to get any other job and end up being teachers, Why? Because most of the Government servants are serving public office out of recommendation. These unqualified and undignified employees are robbing away the jobs from the ones who truly deserve. Why do so many fail in Personal Interview despite clearing the written?

You can argue that maybe their personality does not fit the job. Very well, then how is it that the ones who does get the jobs are unpunctual, irresponsible, lack morality, zero ethics and with the worse manners?

The rejected ones who do end up being teachers, whom Mr. Sengupta categorised as “Teachers by default” are always punctual, they finish their assigned tasks on time, and do not ask for a tip “Bai sha” for finishing the task for which they get a salary for unlike a handful of shameless Government servants who would take months to sign the “Death Certificate” of a person who has already started to rot in the grave.

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School is an organised institution Mr. Sengupta. We follow a curriculum and a syllabus. Teacher by choice or not, we all will have to follow the same pattern. There is called job integrity which you will seldom find

Thirdly, “academic record is generally quite mediocre as students of high calibre would never prefer to be a teacher”.

— True students of high –calibre would never want to become teachers because of the pay offered. But isn’t it ironical, the minimum required percentage for a teacher is at least second class in XII Standard?

Talking about qualification, to become a Lower Primary and Upper Primary teacher one must pass Class XII or Bachelor’s degree with Second Class and an additional teacher’s training programme known as D.El.Ed while a secondary teacher must have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree with B.Ed. For the Higher Secondary, the minimum required qualification is a Master’s Degree. At the college level, it’s Master’s with NET or one should have a Ph.D.

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Now, to name a few, to be a Civil Servant: IAS, IPS, MCS one need only a Bachelor’s degree. The same is for Post of Superintendent of Police, SI (Bachelor’s Degree), LDA, (Class XII or Bachelor’s depending on the Districts), Constables and the other parallel professions, fall under the class XII category. Yet, you term teachers as mediocre, and of low calibre. How easy?

Your audacity is commendable, but ill-fired. Why don’t you talk about mediocrity in our leaders and National leaders who are leading the country? We have Education Ministers who are denying education to thousands of students and pay to thousands of teachers, Health Ministers who are useless. People have to go to Bangladesh for treatment! Finance Ministers who are looting the country through unreasonable taxes, Home Ministers who are busy providing protection to the criminals and victimising the victims, Chief Ministers who are the Chief Architects in destroying the state and country, one who is concerned more about work permits for Bangladeshi Nationals than jobs for our own.

Teachers are not down grading the country, our leaders are. Qualification vice, practically and theoretically, we are of the highest calibre.

Lastly, “Most of the teachers are not honest to their profession as they resort to private tuitions and generate parallel incomes which if not illegal is definitely unethical”.

— You and I know very well how meagre teachers are being paid. Let alone how paltry our pay is, most of the teachers are not even paid. The SSA teachers are living without a pay for five long months now. These are teachers have families. Unlike, Government servants working in Public offices, teachers cannot afford to be irresponsible, late, laid-back and unprincipled. If we do not resort to taking tuitions, then how are we going to fend for our family? School fees, bread and cost of living is dear and our salaries are cheap. How are we supposed to live?

Tuitions are not immoral and illegal. We get paid for what we work. We invest our time, energy and heart into it, and then reap the fruits of our hardwork. Will you work for free Mr. Sengupta?

It’s a give and take situation. Your assumption that teachers teach poorly in the class to generate profit from tuitions is delusional and stupid. Students look for the best teachers as their tuition teachers. The teachers that are generating the maximum profit from tuitions are the ones who are well-known for their classroom expertise.

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If you really want to talk about immoral and illegal income, it should be the handful of police officers who shame the Police Department by generating side incomes from fines. I dare you talk about a handful of the anonymous office bearers who gets you a licence at either Rs. 2000 or 2500 in a week’s time. I dare you speak about immoral practices in public offices where recommendations are entertained at a sweet price. Dare to speak of something substantial, instead of picking an easy target and get away with it just because it will make you feel good about yourself. We may be earning poorly, but we will not be bullied.

To be fair, you are where you are because of your teachers. If you really think you can do our job better, be my guest, fill my shoes for a month, I’ll even reward you for your efforts Mr. etc, unlike the Government, I will pay.

LIFE WITHOUT TEACHERS WOULD BE A MISTAKE.

Yours sincerely,

Mayborn Lyngdoh R

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(You can also send in your letters to web@thenortheasttoday.com, shweta@thenortheasttoday.com and iban@thenortheasttoday.com)

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