Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, October 20th, 2017

The Role of Teachers

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The Role of Teachers

Verbally, Afghans hold teachers in high respect and call them “spiritual fathers” who seek to promote a nation spiritually. The key role of teachers in a society is undeniable. They beckon the society to the right path through broadening the horizon of students. Teachers are the backbone of a society and their sweat is shed to save a society from death or downfall.
This is teachers that uphold virtue and moral values of a society. Knowledge will strengthen the individuals’ conscience and inject humanity and ethical code in a nation. Teaching and learning will purify one’s soul and define the dignity of mankind to the public. Suppose that there were no teachers in the world, how human societies would realize human values and dignity? If there were no teachers and teaching, the world would be in the deep quagmire of cruelty, ignorance, and barbarism. Indeed, to borrow Thomas Hobbes’s words, we would live in a society that “Man is man’s wolf” and there was the war of all against all. A society without teachers will be void of humanity and moral and cultural values.
Similarly, the world will not promote without teachers – who are the stock of knowledge. In other words, teachers convey knowledge from one generation to another through verbal and written instruments. The contemporary scientific advancement and modern technology are the product of teachers’ struggles. Teachers spend all their energy and time to promote a nation and generously offer their knowledge and information to the public.
It is not only teachers’ words to teach a society but also their daily behaviors. Teachers are believed to be the paragon of virtue and humanity. Their acts of kindness and human characteristics will teach students how to behave with others. Abraham Lincoln writes to his son’s teacher as, “Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the band wagon. Teach him to listen to all men, but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through.” He further adds, “Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness. Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders but never to put a price-tag on his heart and soul.” Such teachings, indeed, are the responsibilities of teachers.
The teachers’ spiritual status has also been emphasized in religious texts. The idea of spiritual father originated from religion and Prophet’s statements. Moreover, learning is considered an obligation in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Learning knowledge is an Obligation on all Muslims.” It reflects the fact that there is no difference between male and female in getting education and schools should be open to all regardless of their gender, race, color, etc.
It should be noted that a good teacher can play a prominent role in making the future of their students, while a corrupt teacher can only harm their students. For instance, a number of children are radicalized in some seminaries in Islamic societies by their teachers who cherish radical mentality. They implant their own poisonous mindsets in the minds of their students and divert them from the right path. That is to say, those radical and corrupt teachers jeopardize the life of their students and others rather than saving life. Generally speaking, those teachers who spread false information, hatred, and radicalism, tarnish the names of dedicated teachers and drive the society towards destruction. After all, radical individuals such as the Taliban discriminate females on the grounds of their gender and burn their schools. According to them, women should be engaged within the four walls of home rather than attending schools. Such kinds of mindsets are against religious tenets and Prophet’s sayings.
However, good teachers create historical milestone in a society. Some of the great teachers were the cause of political and industrial revolutions around the world. Their vision helped various societies to gain freedom and independence and release from the yoke of colonialism.
To view teachers in Afghanistan, they are wrestling with many challenges, mainly financial problems. They are not paid sufficiently despite their tireless efforts. This will necessarily decrease their motivation for working hard. Thus, if teachers do not work honestly, students will be affected negatively. Teachers expect the government to pay them sufficiently so that they could be able to solve their financial constraints. There is no doubt, if the government does not attach importance to teachers, there will not be enough incentive for teaching energetically.
On the other hand, some teachers are not qualified for teaching, especially in remote villages. With their rudimentary knowledge, they simply waste the time of students – who are supposed to build the society. Besides increasing the salary of teachers, the government will have to monitor them and employ teachers on the basis of a certain criteria or else there will be less hope for promoting the country.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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