Guru Dakshina

July 12, 2020 at 6:57 pm 18 comments

Ambuja Iyer, an octogenarian, logs to her computer every morning to conduct classes to hundreds of her students, online. She has mastered the technique to teach complex mathematical ideas on the digital medium so that her children do not miss out the lessons when the schools are closed during the lockdown and beyond. When many, half her age, are grappling to understand the fundamentals of various online platforms and to effectively transform them for the ‘Work From Home’ culture, here is a passionate teacher juggling the digital tools with such ease that her online classes are billed as vibrant, interactive and trend-setting. Her virtual classes today are a rage among the students and their numbers are only growing!

Moumita, a Pune-based Chemistry teacher, was at her innovative best when it came to creating a lively classroom environment for her online sessions. She used a cloth hanger tied with strings to an armchair and to the ceiling to keep the camera of her mobile phone focused on the board as she explained the complex chemical reactions and derived the equations on it. The students, sitting in the comforts of their homes, could easily understand the concepts explained as effectively as they would have in a physical classroom. And what’s more, many even recorded her sessions to recapitulate the lessons at their convenience.   

And in Kochi, Elizabeth Fernandez and her teacher colleagues of the St. John Bosco school tread miles every working day during lockdown to teach children of migrant workers living under a bridge in the city. The teachers download the content for the online classes to a laptop and play it to the children who mill around them as they explain the lesson, with masks on. The under-the-bridge classes can only be conducted after eleven, when the day has really turned hot, to facilitate children accompany their parents every morning to go for fishing, which is their livelihood. 

Ambuja Iyer, Moumita, Elizabeth and thousands of other teachers across the country struggle day in and day out to prepare lessons, conduct online classes and design offline activities so that our children remain focussed and engaged with their studies through out the pandemic period. They leave no stone unturned to understand the workings of online teaching methods, that were quite alien to them till the other day, and stretch themselves to gain expertise on various digital platforms so that student interest is sustained, classes remain effective and learning objectives, accomplished. These teachers spend hours on end recording video lessons and audio files, designing worksheets and assessment tools, and uploading feedbacks with comments…and all these are in addition to the regular job of conducting online classes. Webinars, teacher training programs and online parent meetings… and the job of a teacher during lockdown is nothing short than being herculean.

But sadly, as the physical schools are not functioning, many parents are not willing to pay up the regular school fees even when their incomes are not impacted and their children fully engaged with the online classes. As the revenue of the schools drop drastically, the schools, in turn, have resorted to cutting down the salaries of teachers and, in many cases, even stopped paying them completely resulting in desperation among the teaching fraternity. And to give vent to their anger and to bring their plight to the notice of the public, teachers, in many places, have taken to the streets, with slogans and placards.  And it was indeed a pathetic sight that, those who are entrusted with the task of shaping the destiny of our children are made to shout and plead for their basic rights, the salaries, in city squares!

The Indian ethos have always accorded a venerated position to the Guru, the Preceptor and it firmly proclaims that it is only with the blessings of the teacher, that one attains glory and fulfilment in life. And paying up for the knowledge received, the Guru Dakshina, is the binding duty so that the knowledge bears fruition.

An Ekalavya paid the Guru Dakshina by cutting his thumb for the imagined instruction received from his Guru… And we, belonging to that lineage, should show no reluctance to pay our teachers their due… without they asking for it.   



Post script: A Kochi teacher is using Augmented Reality (AR) to teach primary class children that gives a 3D effect.


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18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  July 12, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    Perfectly highlighted critical problem of the society. I appreciate your efforts and will surely share it.👏

  • 3. Rohini  |  July 12, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    True! We owe it to the teaching fraternity! Teachers have left no stone unturned to ensure that the teaching-learning process goes on smoothly.
    The feeling of gratitude is very well exPressed!

    • 4. chapter18  |  July 12, 2020 at 11:33 pm

      Thank you very much… Teachers are the backbone of any society and we need to take good care of them.

  • 5. Amar Akbar Antony  |  July 13, 2020 at 6:01 am

    Very well articulated! It’s true yet unfortunate situation that our Gurus are taken advantage of without proper remuneration. IMO, the rate at which it is going in, it is akin to Sati, a self immolation of a pure thoroughbred profession.

    • 6. chapter18  |  July 13, 2020 at 6:42 am

      It is a sad state of affairs.

  • 7. Anonymous  |  July 13, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    True sir👌👌

  • 8. Nilesh Kumar  |  July 14, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    It’s very informative and it’s sad today’s situation! Great

  • 9. sunit dhawan  |  July 14, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Really appreciated sir. 👍

  • 11. Shobha Iyer  |  July 17, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Appreciate the teachers’ contribution in this crisis situation !!

    • 12. chapter18  |  July 17, 2020 at 12:11 pm

      They are doing great work..

    • 13. chapter18  |  July 17, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      Share it with teachers… They all need appreciation and encouragement..

  • 14. Rishika Kakar  |  July 18, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Unfortunately, we live in a society, where a profession as noble as teaching is not given the appreciation and credit it deserves. Thank you so much for posting this. It highlights perfectly, the plight of teachers across our nation.

    • 15. chapter18  |  July 18, 2020 at 12:16 pm

      And as they struggle to use the online technology, the support they need is now all the more crucial.

  • 16. Rajendran mariagnanam  |  July 21, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Great innovative methods to impart education to children which many teachers counted as theie nobleness.
    Some take it as duty ,some as commitment, some as they are paid fees,

    Whatever it may be ,whatever they do ,if the taught lessons do have an impact on the students is ultimately what matters.

    It’s not how one imparts the teachings but it’s how one should think that it’s user-friendly for students to learn.
    Well ! Online does not have interactive sessions and it’s combined or deffered at sit timings or together it may be useful .

  • 17. Guru Dakshina – Thoughts of Sho  |  July 31, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    […] Guru Dakshina […]

  • 18. Jaya  |  September 2, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    Very true, and very well said.


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