The Significance of Teachers’ Day 

Sadhguru: September 5 in India happens to be Teachers’ Day in India because it is the birthday of Dr. Radhakrishnan, the second President of India, who happened to be a schoolteacher to start with. It is a wonderful compliment to the teachers of the nation that one of our Presidents was actually a schoolteacher.

In Indian culture, we have always recognized a teacher as a very important part of one's life, to the extent, we said: “Acharya devo bhava”, which means a teacher is like god. Because generally, growing children spent more time with their teachers than with their parents. The idea of parents sending children to school is because somewhere, they know that someone else could be a better influence upon their children than themselves.

The Importance of a Teacher

People think there is no longer any significance to a teacher in today’s generation because everything that a teacher can say, the Internet can say. But a teacher has a significant role in the making of an individual human being, in the making of a society, a nation and the world at large. In fact, I think the significance of teachers has gone up manifold because the burden of delivering information has been taken away from them.

A teacher’s job becomes mainly to inspire and enhance a student as a human being, which has always been the main task. A teacher is no longer just a tape recorder who reads something and rattles out some information to you. He or she is someone who is going to make a student’s life by inspiring them to be in a certain way.

Largely for many children, which teacher is teaching a particular subject determines whether they love or hate that subject. If a student identifies with the teacher, if the teacher is inspiring enough, the subject suddenly becomes interesting. A teacher definitely plays a big role in the process of enhancing capabilities and developing a child’s interest in a particular subject.


Get weekly updates on the latest blogs via newsletters right in your mailbox.

The Qualities of a Good Teacher

If we have to build any nation into something worthwhile, the highest caliber of people should go into school teaching. What kind of influence the child comes under in those first 15 years determines many things about their life. The best quality of minds, the highest level of integrity and the most lively levels of inspiration should go into the making of a teacher.

But today, we have set up an economic and social situation where many people become school teachers only because they cannot go anywhere else. This is not true for all teachers of course, but this is happening with many teachers. This has to change. If this does not change, we will not build a society of any substance. We will build very low quality human beings, a low quality society and low quality nations.

Intelligence, Integrity and Inspiration

A teacher does not mean he has to have ten PhDs hanging from his head. A teacher does not mean children should just wait for the dole-out of what the teacher knows. A teacher means in that person’s presence, people should learn things that even the teacher does not know.

Children are humanity in the making. What a teacher makes of them when they are in their hands is one of the greatest responsibilities and privileges a human being can have. Any human activity is significant only if we are able to touch another life. That you can actually shape another life is a tremendous privilege. When such a privilege is being vested in someone’s hands, it is very important that the highest caliber of minds, and the highest integrity and inspiration goes into that.

Teacher: Does a teacher need to have the quality of being popular?

Sadhguru: Yes, popularity is important. By popularity, I do not mean populism and compromise. But if you are not popular, everyone will work against you and you will not be effective. You are very effective only when everyone cooperates willingly. If no one wants to cooperate with you, you are not going to be effective.

How Can A Teacher Become Popular?

You must become that kind of a person that you do not have to say a thing but everyone wants to be like you. Do you know how easy it would be to run a school then? You must learn to dance like them, you must learn to sing like them, you learn to speak like them, then they say "Wow, this is how I want to be."

The trouble with most adults is they want to do the same things with a 14-year-old that they did when he or she was a three-year-old. When your child was a three-year-old, it crawled all over the place. You also crawled, played and tried to speak like them – cuckoopoobo, peekaboo – everything was nice. Then he stood up and now he has become a fourteen-year-old boy.

What that means is he is trying to be his own man. He is in a hurry! When you crawled with him when he was three years old, he also enjoyed it. But now he wants to swing. You should also swing with him. If you still want to crawl, it will not work.

If you want to be of some value to your children, whether they are your own biological children or they are studying with you, the most important thing is that when they see you, they must say, "Wow, I want to be like this!"

You must learn to dance like them, sing like them and speak like them. Then they will say "Wow, this is how I want to be." Once they want to be like you, there is no issue in making things happen.

Editor's Note:  During a talk at the Kendriya Vidyalaya Principals Conference, Sadhguru looks at India’s education system, how schools need to be structured for a child’s genius to unfold, and how teachers can contribute in this.