Teaching – Emotional Fulfillment and Self-Actualisation


Greetings to the entire teaching fraternity on the occasion of Teachers’ Day from The Progressive Teacher.

Rita Wilson
Rita Wilson

Once again we are in the month of September celebrating Teachers’ Day. But this year it is a very special occasion as for the first time in the history of our country, the President Shri Pranab Mukherjee will don the cap of a teacher to teach Class XI and XII students of a government school located in the Presidential Estate. The President wonders ‘…what has happened to quality (education), from base to apex? We recall the guru-shishya parampara with legitimate pride; why then have we abandoned the care, devotion and commitment that is at the heart of this relationship?’ According to him, teachers, like potters, mould the destiny of our students.

Why do most teachers enter this profession? It is, according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for fulfillment and self-actualisation. Teachers are not rich in material terms but in terms of emotional fulfillment, no one in any other profession can surpass them. We, as teachers, need to know that our work is important and that we have a positive influence on others, and this impact is one of the great strengths of our profession. It is important to us that our work is meaningful. Having purpose in life is one of the things that keep us going. We feel the work we do has a purpose beyond ourselves and that we are contributing to the greater good, and thus, we stay motivated and passionate about our work. One of the most challenging aspects of being a teacher is that we must be able to see the woods and the trees at the same time.

As teachers, we must notice the seemingly small but very significant events that take place in the school or outside to re-affirm our faith in our profession. For example, a reticent little child sidles up to the teacher and quietly holds her hand as the class disperses at tiffin break; the class bully comes up to the teacher to share with her a picture of his new puppy; or well-dressed lady comes up to the teacher in a railway train and greets her with a – good morning ma’am. You taught me in school a couple of years ago. A parent may thank a teacher for taking special care of his child; a colleague may appreciate a comment you made at a staff meeting; the head of the school may send you note that your class is doing well. These small acts of affirmation go a long way in fulfilling our needs for belongingness, esteem, love and self-actualisation. So, let us be passionate and obsessive about teaching just like a painter is about painting or a singer is about singing.

In this issue of The Progressive Teacher, Abha Adams in The Importance of Performing Arts writes that involvement with liberal and performing arts allows students’ multiple intelligences to be acknowledged, developed and appreciated; P Ajitha , in Teacher Readiness discusses that very often, the most crucial element, an undeniable prerequisite, namely teacher readiness gets overlooked in our discourses on approaches to maximise learning outcomes of our students; talking about parenting, Shayama Chona says Great expectations can only lead to despair; K P Khamarudheen in Think beyond the Frontiers of the Mind warns us that without proper exercise, the brain begins to stagnate; Raj Kumar Sharma in Building Healthy Relationships advises us that there is no single correct method of raising children; Salila Shashikant introduces us to some Positive Strategies of Classroom Management; Payal Adhikari and Subhashini Ramakrishnan reaffirm our love for reading; Kiran Gandhi in Any Progress to Report wonders whether our education system ‘is a stream in its youth, full of vigour or is it one that has run its course’. Plus you will find many other interesting stories, case studies and events in this issue of The Progressive Teacher. Once again, we invite you to share your thoughts and experiences regarding teaching, the students and the school, with the teaching fraternity through the columns of The Progressive Teacher.

Wishing you all the best in your journey of selfactualisation as a teacher

Rita Wilson

Rita Wilson has over 40 years of rich experience as educationist including over 30 years of experience in school leadership positions. She is the former Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the ICSE, New Delhi. She is a consultant to a number of corporate houses and educational institutions. She is serving as a Member of the Board of Governors/Managing Committees of some of the most prestigious schools and colleges of the country. She has vast exposure to the education systems of Japan, Germany, England, Thailand, Singapore, Sharjah and Dubai. She has initiated, conducted and organised workshops for school teachers and principals all over India With a B.A. (Hons) English Literature, M.A., M.Phil. (English Literature), B.Ed. to her credit, she has edited two series of English readers and work-books for school children.