Why are teachers averse to change?

For any school to develop or for that matter any organisation to grow, change management is the most daunting task. Teachers are the real change agents, and only when they take the onus of leading the change will there be change in a school. No system or school management can succeed without first addressing the challenge of handling the reservations our teachers have.

Over the years the education curriculum has not under gone much change and has not really kept pace with the modern day innovation needs. The teachers have become too comfortable in what they have been doing for years and some may say they do not want to 'sweat it out'. To be the change, you have to first change, and this is what innovation is all about. Many of our teachers are doing the job more as a profession of chance and not a profession of choice. There are very few people for whom teaching would be the profession of first choice. This is where the real challenge lies, today our 'guru' does not stand on the pedestal where our history and culture portrayed them. Likewise the student is not really in 'awe' of the teacher, and this is because his/her needs are not met by the education system. The biggest challenge for us is to make teachers feel real good for being teachers, and make teaching the most sought after profession in the nation. 

The biggest challenge for us is to make teachers feel real good for being teachers, and make teaching the most sought after profession in the nation. 

Teachers have a reason to be 'averse to change', as they find themselves on the receiving end from all the stakeholders in the education process - the parents, the students, the management and even the society as a whole is not really as appreciative of our teachers and their work. The lack  of appreciation, leads to the loss of self-esteem. The urge to live in the age of consumerism, leaves little way scope to be innovators, free thinkers and learners. To top it all the out-dated syllabus and the tools of delivery all make their job most uninteresting. Further, in most cases the students out-do the teachers in life-style and earning capacity, and this makes the teacher even more pessimistic in outlook. Some find that 'once a teacher, always a teacher', makes them quite staid and even brings about a feeling of isolation. The teacher becomes 'victims of thyself', as they believe their destiny is to be stuck in the profession alone.

Many use teaching as a pass time and try to study, pursue programmes and prepare to get better jobs. For them teaching is only seen as a small earning venture for a limited period of time. This is a fallacy as many then end up trying for years to move out, but do not make it. They do not end up giving their best in the class, and end up doing the samelesson plan, the same way all their lives. Only when they see that every student has the potential of being an Einstein and they alone can find the genius in every child, they will value their profession and go on to innovate.

With limited time, limited resources and the huge demand for schooling, we get away with poor quality delivery in any school. This is perhaps another reason for sub-standard teaching and why we get away with our teachers living in denial of the fact that they need to study and improve all their lives. Teaching is a profession with the no entry barrier and teachers have the most onerous task of building young minds, this is not the best environment for academic delivery. Low wages, lack of knowledge, no teaching standards and most of all the never ending population pressure for schooling, make teachers as such quite pessimistic in their outlook, and pardon me for writing 'averse to change'.

For any nation to grow, teachers must be the change makers and should not be averse to change. The teachers will have to go beyond the self, and like soldiers work selflessly as always and help young minds grow to develop into great teachers! There is the need of the hour for the administrators, the governments and the policy makers to work for making teaching the most sought after profession. This alone will help us overcome the teachers' aversion to change, and help us reach our full potential.

The views expressed in this article are those of Sandeep Dutt the author and you may contact him on sd@ebd.in directly please.