These are days when much of school education is happening online via zoom technology. Teachers are seen from a distance. But they continue to serve the community by discharging their duties.
The teachers who love being in this profession will vouch that they rate the responsibility that comes with their job above the money they make.
These are days where we think of our teachers because we don’t see them much; largely due to the pandemic situation in the country. Just a few days ago there was a news item in the newspapers that St.Benedict’s College Kotahena had conduced a felicitation ceremony for retired teachers; largely to see to their welfare. The event was held at the school’s auditorium. What really makes those who heard about it receive the news as a blessing to the society is because it nurtures the thought ‘we are what we are because of our teachers’.
It is a known fact that teachers once they retire go into a ‘forget file’. But the Old Boys Union of St.Benedict’s College Kotahena thought it is time to change all that and came up with this concept to take care of their teachers who are in retirement.
According to the organisers of the event 55 teachers who had served the school with dedication and had spend more than half their lives at the school met the criterion to be selected.
Most teachers grow old in the industry, don’t fit into any other profession and bow out when retirement approaches. A good number of them sweat in the classrooms they teach in and don’t engage in private tuition; hence they survive with the take home salary.
St.Benedict’s College is a Catholic school and embed in the students Christian values. This programme to felicitate the teachers not only make their ‘gurus’ happy it also sends a strong message to all schools that teachers once they retire must be nurtured and cared for like ‘children’. Just a reminder that there is a life cycle where kids depend on adults and parents and when these adults grow old and feeble become kids again and need loved ones to depend on.
What was organised for these teachers was not a one-off payment. It was more than that. What was given had more value than money and was full of love, care and attention!
For the record these teachers were presented with an insurance cover, a monthly monitory donation, opportunities to attend annual check-ups and a counseling clinic among other benefits. The project was titled ‘NAMADIMU” which translated to English means ‘worship’.
Many educationists would say that employees must have the discipline to save at least 10% of their monthly salaries; however tough the times are. But we do see retired school principals working as security guards in private firms. Sometimes their past expertise in teaching surfaces during serving these security firms; especially when they come up with solutions to solve some problem involving people. Only teachers can solve certain problems without damage or insult to character.
Teachers do a thankless job. The gifts we present them with on “World Teachers’ Day’ is nothing compared to the sacrifices they make. Haven’t we heard of teachers who teach for free after they finish their duty hours in schools? We can make our teachers happy by performing well at the exams and showing them the marks we obtain. But the best gift a teacher receives is when he or she bumps into a past pupil and realises that the student has moved forward from where the classroom education was stopped!