The teacher is the substitute for the parent. The idea inherent in the Latin phrase ‘loco parentis’ is analogous. It is imperative that the teacher cultivates parental virtues in him. The child in his pre-school stage was used to an environment which was full of love, affection and sympathy. The passage from home life to school life especially for the new entrant should not be a passage from a kind world to a cruel world. The parents consign the responsibility for the education of the little child to the teachers who have the moral responsibility to educate the children entrusted to their care. “To thine own self be true” – should be the motto of each teacher if he is not professionally insincere. A professionally sincere teacher does his best to the pupils and if he does so, the pupil, whatever his age may be, will cling to the teacher just as the child clings to his parents with fondness. The pupils are the best appreciators for the teachers. It is they who size up their teachers correctly. Pupils, especially very young pupils, very often refer to their teachers in some such ways – “Mr so and so is a good teacher”. “Mr A is not so good a teacher as Mr B.” These are genuine expressions of the child mind regarding the appreciation or otherwise of teachers.
The reciprocation of feelings between the teacher and his pupils will depend both upon the teacher’s behavior with the pupils and the pupils’ conduct towards the teacher. One teacher is universally loved and pupils wait with his class while another teacher is universally disliked and pupils await the ringing of the bell which will relieve them from the infliction of his teaching. The entry into the class of such a teacher has been described beautifully by Goldsmith in his ‘
“Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper circling around,
Convey’d the dismal things when frown’d.”
The dearness or otherwise of pupils towards their teachers depends upon the personal qualities of the teacher. The teacher if he is professionally honest and has the human side of his character developed will naturally become a universally popular teacher. The teacher should mix freely with pupils outside the class-room also. There are teachers whom the pupils give a wide berth.
“Lofty and sour to them that lov’d him not;
But to those that sought him, sweet as summer.”
From these lines of Shakespeare we get an idea of the two classes of teachers we find around us.
The relation between the teacher and the pupil is the relation between the teacher and the followers. This leadership should be acquired by the teacher by his professional and personal qualities which have been discussed earlier. The troubles which now-a-days occur very frequently between the pupils and the teachers can be avoided if the teachers can re-establish their leadership on the student community. The relations between the teachers and the pupils will determine the character and tone of school order and discipline. To turn out good citizens who will live well and happily is the work of education. The parents and teachers have to undertake this work jointly. The role of the teacher in the work of nation-building is more important than that of the parents. Alexander once remarked –
“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.