Let me first begin with an incident that occurred just yesterday. I happen to be one of those people who get to places early, so as usual, I was in front of my lab about 15 minutes earlier. While I was sitting outside on a chair, a teacher walks into the lab. All fine until now. Except when the lab starts I was reprimanded for not getting off my chair to wish her. Seriously? Shouldn’t respect be both ways? Couldn’t the teacher have had the courtesy to maybe wish me? What is it with “Elders” demanding respect these days? Read on for my views.
Having low internals during your college life in India could mean one of two things, one , you actually did not study for whatever reasons , the extremely frustrating but relevant reason number two, you’ve ended up in the bad books of a professor who thinks that he/she is on a pedestal right next to god and deserves to be treated in a manner similar. And in case you were wondering of the frequency of such professors, most students will vouch for them being the hay in the haystack with a few good professors being the needles.
The whole issue here is basically the fact that most of the professors refuse to accept that the students are already adults and have the capability to think for themselves. With this thought comes the problem of not being able to have a meaningful and insightful conversation with most professors available hence stagnating the possibility for growth in an individual from that side at least.
The entire reason for which the profs having the ability to be absolutely and completely dismissive of certain individuals comes from the amount of power vested in them by the college authorities. Certain powers such as -:
- Attendance: With a minimum attendance a requirement in most Universities and the attendance being entirely in the hands of the professor, the onus is on the student to be incredibly patient with whatever the teacher has to say or let go of the attendance even the student is present in class. Attendance is probably the biggest scam with the profs blackmailing the students into doing what they want them to do with the leverage of their attendance and hence the degree.
- Internals: This just allows all the marks you get to be in the hands of one professor, and again the onus is on you to please him/her the best of your ability.
- Lack of a student body in most universities that can actually rake up an issue against a teacher students are uncomfortable with, to a higher body at the college. Even if the body is present, there is hardly any action taken because how can someone who is so high up right next to God ever be wrong?
The whole misusing of power does not stop in the confines of the classroom, a lot of institutions also frown upon relationships among students which quite frankly put is none of their business and as adults students need to be given their personal space.
After having to undergo years of a course under many such egoistic and powerful people, it is no surprise that a lot of students end up coming out submissive and lack the ability to take charge. With a lot of their decisions in their college life being taken by the thought of how a particular professor is going to take it the student eventually gives up and gets used to following orders.
It is extremely important that this system changes. Not just for the student’s sake but for the sake of the nation whose 50% population is still below 25 and mostly still at university. Power needs to be transferred and there should exist a relationship built on trust and pure respect between the professor and the student(and I mean mutual respect) as opposed to the one currently built by fear generated in the student’s mind by a number of power professors occupy.
–Abhijit Krishna Menon