— Hem Raj Kafle
Welcome to the October issue.
To start with, let us ponder for a while on the issue of teacher-student relationship:
Some nine years ago, an American volunteer to Kathmandu University’s the then Department of English commented with delight that she found the Nepalese students very different from those of America in terms of paying respect to their teachers. She had found it somehow strange to hear students address their teachers not by their first names but with such honorific terms as ‘sir’ and ‘madam.’ But a few weeks later she also reported the Department of the humiliation by a couple of noisy and stupid students. It did not take her long to admit that a teacher’s life is marked by this duality of pleasure and pain regardless of where she taught. She bore with her the memories of both the pleasant meetings with respectful students, and of unpleasant encounters with the rowdies whom neither she nor we could ever correct.
All of us have experienced this duality, haven’t we?
Teachers who have spent a considerable part of their life in teaching have frequently come across many odd moments with their students. Issue like this appears trivial when the whole nation’s concentration is on challenges like building an overall educational system or ensuring peace and security. But we are concerned for a while about the feelings of our small circle to whom sharing of good and bad moments means helping one another grow. We take our identities and relationships seriously, in full influence of our culture in which good teaching and learning are considered to depend on a ‘holy’ relation between teachers and students.
Certain type of gap naturally exists between teachers and students. If it is of hierarchy in the traditional sense, there is nothing to worry about. But any gap caused by antagonism and mutual avoidance is problematic. We have often heard stories of teachers fallen victims of student attacks. Problems like misbehaviour in the classroom and outside, or misinterpretation of positive concerns, and planned attacks as revenge to reasonable punishments have been common these days. Teachers are usually the immediate recipients of hostility and stubbornness, and only rarely do institutions interfere for amicable settlement. Can teachers make their teaching effective if their time is wasted in tackling antagonism and deviation?
One optimistic view: the role of a teacher can never be argued out as long as the need of learning persists. And this need will persist. The teachers’ challenge however is to keep up with time which demands more work, more exposure, more commitment and more sharing. Occasional hindrances are too little to outweigh the growing demand for teacher contribution both in formal teaching and informal social uplift. Besides, teachers do not have the sole responsibility for correcting the society’s evils though they certainly can be hand in hand in the process of reforms.
With these words, we extend to you the present issue. The issue focuses more or less on the themes of teacher-student relationship, teacher behaviour and teacher innovations. Please go through the articles and write comments. As ever we invite your productive participation. We hope to grow further both in resources and readership.
1. “Schooled and Deskilled” by Anil Bhattarai
2. ” Teacher-student communication:Assertion and Assessment” by Nirmala M. Adhikary
3. “Nepalese Private (Boarding) Schools, English, and Child Friendliness” by Kashiraj Pandey
4. “Nepanglish: A Standardizing Variety of English” by H. C. Kamali
5. “A Reading Lesson Plan” by Eak Prasad Duwadi