Full Mark For Surrogate Teachers

We have heard about surrogate moms. We have also heard that teachers are surrogates for parents. Have you then heard about surrogate teachers? You might have or might have not heard about them earlier but I can honestly guarantee that you know at least one of them in your friend circle, family or among your relatives. Their dedication is commendable for the very fact that they are ready to take up a noble job at the cost of a petty salary through which they can meet both ends or support their families. Hats off to them! They are the deserving ones who should be accredited for shaping and influencing the lives of many students in the schools where they teach.

In a State like ours where unemployment is a common woe among maximum number of educated individuals, being addressed as a surrogate teacher is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, it is survival first, sustenance is secondary. In the battle of survival, there is no ‘chilhao thiba’ among some desperate individuals who are ready to take up a job as long as it provides a regular monthly income. These teachers also belong to that guild of hard working and dedicated individuals but alas they don’t get any credit for what all things they do because of the very fact that their profession is not really theirs. It can be said that they are owned, redefining what it means to be in someone else’s shoes.

So here’s the ‘siki’ worth question: Who are the employers of these surrogate teachers? Should the employers be appreciated for arranging such provisions for the unemployed lots in our society? The employers play ‘ani-chabi’ games, availing full salary without compromising anything. Some of them even take up a second job thereby earning a double income. I am not sure whether they should be respected for what they do. If I analyse their mentality on ethical grounds, I feel like ridiculing them. On the other hand, I really want to thank them for utilizing the surrogates who earn a livelihood from that meager income, shared or gifted by them.

The whole month or even the year, they would never take a class yet avail of the salary. Their career is secured as much as their bank account. Maybe it’s because of that bundle of note they handed to the selection committee after the name-sake interviews that were held to select the right candidates. They shamelessly flaunt themselves as teachers without any slightest idea of what is the role of a teacher in a society like ours. They are supposed to be the ones who should shape and mould the lives of young students. They are the ones who are supposed to influence the young minds to grow up as promising youth in the future. (I think I am not making any sense trying to add some of my classical philosophies all the way sounding like a pseudo reformer, eh?)

It is more than an open secret that the concept of a right candidate is very questionable as far as the scenarios in Manipur are concerned. Those who can afford an amount between five and 10 lakhs have high chances of getting selected for the post. For those who cannot afford the money, the job is never meant for them. Qualification is the last criterion for any candidate to be selected for most of the posts in the state. Corruption is like an agony aunt who will never stop nagging us till ‘who-knows’ number of years. We can run, we can hide but we cannot avoid it. It will keep prying in every walk of our lives at least in a state like ours.

From my peer group, I do know a few people who love to flaunt themselves as ‘oja’ when in reality they do not deserve an iota of respect as a teacher. They are damn proud to tell everyone that they have a secured career as theirs is a Gobber-men Job errr… sarkargi thabak. They spend time doing all the domestic chores at home. In a textbook approach, they keep surrogates for them to whom they provide a slice of their monthly salary. For example, out of 16K a real teacher would get as salary, 2K would be allotted for the surrogate teacher for taking classes on his/her behalf. Most of these fake teachers love to be posted at the far-off corners of the state, especially in the hill areas.

I, at times, have minced oaths and have wondered: What the heck do they think of themselves? They think teaching is like broker-ship. But on second, third, fourth and fifth thoughts, I suppose it is OK as long as the unemployed lots in the society can at least earn an income even if that’s peanuts, which we locally refer to as ‘heikru manada yomaga fangba’ type. As long as they are OK with it, we do not have any right to meddle in their noble profession, their duties. Let the trend of surrogacy continue. ‘Chaminaba haobani’—TOLOPSU.

This article was published on 12 Feb 2012
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