Teachers lay the foundation for any nation by watering the garden of the nation and guiding the young. This society torch bearers unquestionably play a vital and crucial role in building a strong country.

Profile of an Effective Teacher

Every profession occupies a unique vocation in society; doctors heal, engineers design, bakers bake and financiers manage our money. However, teaching stands out as a subsumptive entity. No one can motivate as a great teacher does. They seem to appear just when we need them most, at precisely the right time. Most pertinently, they give us the confidence to pave our own way while providing just enough direction to demonstrate that what seems impossible to us actually isn't. According to a Japanese Proverb, "Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher."

Revisiting our past during British-colonized India, Savitribai Phule challenged all the 19th-century stereotypes at that time when women's grievances were seldom heard in order to usher into a new intellectual era. She founded the first women's school at Bhide Wada in Pune with the help of her husband at a time when women's rights were essentially nonexistent. Her creative teaching strategies gradually attracted the common people, and the number of girls rose. Teachers have been a vital part of our society since the dawn of time. In Indian culture, teachers are honored more than divinities. Alexander the Great once said, "I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well."

Facilitator of Learning

Teachers help students develop the transcendent skills of communication, decision-making, and social responsibility, but what are the attributes of an effective teacher? Some believe that highly effective teachers present a compelling argument for the learner- and student-centered teaching. They support a teaching philosophy in which, in contrast to conventional wisdom, students are given a much larger voice in the formulation of the curriculum. Teachers are learner facilitators rather than didactic lecturers or evangelists, and in order to be effective learner facilitators, they are trained to be sensitive and caring, sincere, and empathetic.

Effective teachers emphasize positive social and interpersonal growth while downplaying rigid, performance-based, and test-oriented approaches to the subject matter. Instead of receiving information passively, they prefer to learn through discovery. Human values like sincerity, honesty, selflessness, and altruism can be internalized by students with the help of effective teachers. Effective teachers convey clarity of thought and a distinct vision, which improves the quality of their instruction. NEP 2020 suggests bridging this gap because, in general, education suffers from the dissonance between its curriculum and students' living experience.

An Effective Class Organizer

Whenever it comes down to it, education should empower students with the skills they need to encounter the innumerable challenges they will inevitably encounter in their lives. Teachers, as experts in instruction, must create practical and experimental ways to deliver the curriculum so that students play a bigger role and are more engaged. Through this, teachers will take on the role of facilitators of learning rather than instructors or preachers. Passive learning can be achieved through techniques like debates, discussions, role plays, simulation tasks, and brainstorming.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of a non-formal approach to teaching, I would like to recount the story of Aditya Kumar. Aditya Kumar also alluded to as the "cycle guruji," has presented education to areas where traditional educational institutions could not. Every day, this great man commutes to work by bicycle for 60 to 65 kilometers. Children living in the slums of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, gain free education from him. Since 1995, he has been carrying out this laudable duty. Aditya Kumar asserts that because of his upbringing in a low-income family and lack of access to formal education, he can relate to his students' circumstances. Whenever and wherever a student stops him, he sits down and teaches, whether it's by the side of the road, in a park, or close to the slums.

A Mentor and a Guide

At each level, the teacher serves as a mentor and advisor in addition to a knowledge communicator working to inspire enthusiasm and scholarship for a particular discipline. Teachers never limit their attention to a student's development solely to the cognitive level while ignoring other facets of their personality. They constantly foster idea growth and instill in their student's relativism, routines, and values that greatly aid the process of personality development.

In this era of intense competition when everyone is striving to achieve the best, people frequently overlook students' mental health, particularly college students.  How can one teach a student who is not engaged in class, has tears in his eyes, and has a depressed expression? Is it not the responsibility of teachers to provide career advice to their students or to assist them in handling poor performance? For school students, there are many helplines in operation, but for college students, there are hardly any.

According to NEP 2020, it is advised that each college or university have a separate guidance and counseling cell. Giving students access to open classroom experiences to foster a scientific mindset is another important recommendation of NEP 2020. Students have the freedom to explore, experiment, share, and express their needs, wants, and desires in an open classroom setting. It's a class that's not intimidating.

The effective growth of students' critical thinking, self-reliance, and commitment to learning is what open education is most concerned with. Open classrooms demonstrate a technique that prioritizes student-centered instruction and close but informal teacher-pupil contact. According to research, students who were exposed to open classrooms usually tend to have better self-concepts, as well as more creative and well-adjusted personalities. The creation of a uniform code of conduct for teachers in schools and colleges, publication of the code on the relevant websites, and encouragement of teachers to abide by the code's letter and spirit are other recommendations made by NEP 2020.

Traits of an Effective Teacher

Several elements of the code of conduct for teachers are mentioned in UGC guidelines. Following are some of the UGC's guidelines for the code of conduct for teachers, which can be used by college and school principals to review their code in light of NEP 2020's regulations. Effective teachers should regard all students with equality and impartiality, regardless of their religion, caste, politics, economics, social characteristics, or physical characteristics, and respect their right and dignity to express their opinions; acknowledge that students' aptitudes and capabilities vary, and work to meet each one's specific needs.

Effective teachers should encourage students to raise their academic standards, grow as individuals, and simultaneously contribute to the welfare of the community; instill in students a respect for physical labor, a scientific outlook, and the values of democracy, patriotism, and peace; be kind to the students and avoid acting vindictively toward any of them for any reason; Focus solely on the student's performance when determining merit; make themselves accessible to students even after class hours, offering unpaid assistance and unwavering guidance.

Effective teachers should encourage students to understand the national heritage and goals, and refrain from inciting them against other students, faculty, or staff; treat other professionals in the same way that they would like to be treated; kindly acknowledge other educators and offer assistance to advance one's career; Refrain from making unfounded accusations against coworkers to higher authorities; acknowledge that education is a public service and work to keep the public informed about the educational programs being offered; improve education in the community and strengthen the moral and intellectual life of the community.

Finally, I'd like to mention that in accordance with Our Vedas, we should treat our teachers with the same reverence that we would show to God. Teachers lay the foundation for any nation by watering the "garden of the nation" and guiding the young. This society's "torch bearers" unquestionably play a vital and crucial role in building a strong country. Teachers serve as both the social fabric of society and its moral compass. They sculpt the nation's people in order to build it. It is impossible to envision a society without educators. The teacher is the real maker of history, as H.G. Wells aptly observed.

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