We describe teachers as the light of the world and the path makers for the upcoming generations. They teach and lead by example for their students. They must be respected and should be appreciated and admired for the work they do. Sofia Khan is a teacher and a social worker who shares her opinions without holding back.
Recently, very unfortunate news was heard where five of West Bengal’s teachers consumed poison to take their stand against the government. This incident has caused chaos amongst the public and the teachers’ community. Sofia Khan, a teacher herself and TMC General Secretary of Minority Cell West Bengal is very distraught about the circumstances that lead the teachers to make decisions and expresses her empathy for the affected families. She is sad that the teachers thought that they had to take such measurements to be heard. However, she also condemns their behavior. While Sofia stands by the teachers’ side, she does not encourage the action taken by these teachers. She says she understands where they are coming from but, this is not how things should be done. There is a way and code of conduct for everything. She believes that teachers have a greater responsibility towards society and the country as a whole.
She says that the quote by Brad Henry, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning”, very aptly describes teachers. She claims that a teacher should never forget the impact they have or will have on the students. They do not have room for mistakes. While many argue that teachers are humans, we can never ignore the impact they have on people. Children follow their teachers blindly. Teachers are their first role models in their lives. They follow the teacher they admire without a second thought. Hence, they must monitor their actions.
Sofia mentions how the actions taken by these five teachers will change the way we perceive teachers in society. They are sending wrong messages to the children. Children will start feeling that it is okay to leave everything behind and consume poison if things do not go their way. On the contrary, the message should be that to make their voices heard they should try different methods like protests, rallies, petitions, etc. she sympathizes with those teachers’ families and wishes for them to get well soon. She understands the plight of these teachers as the fact that teachers are going through difficult times, especially in the pandemic, is hardly hidden. Nevertheless, she also states that West Bengal has taken various measurements to help teachers. One such scheme is the Utsashree scheme, a mutual transfer that helps teachers take mutual transfer. In addition, schemes like Kanyashree and Rupashree have been introduced by the West Bengal government to benefit females.
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Sofia Khan is a person with a clear understanding of things and is not afraid to make her voice known. She has helped many people in her career as a teacher and a social worker. She says that while it is important to understand both sides of the story, the method chosen to express certain things should also be considered.