Is there a need of Teachers Associations in parish level?

As all of us aware, the New Diocese of Udupi took its birth on 15th October, 2012. The infant diocese marching ahead with lot many unique programmes…..One such revolutionary step was of forming of 18 Aayoga’s to involve majority of the parishioners and implement both diocesan and parish level objectives of liturgical / social programmes and  make community more participative, cohesive and in a way accountable. It’s a welcome move to nurture leadership qualities, encourage common man’s likes and an opportunity to those who have spare time, to utilize it fruitfully. 

   In larger parishes, these units are active and doing well and few small parishes hardly have enough people to constitute these cells. In our opinion couple of these Aayog’s may be converted into one, as more or less their objectives are common.

   There will be at least more than one programme or seminar / activity every month…. over and above, other pious organizations, like ICYM & YCS, Catholic Sabha, Stree-sangahtan etc. are there to offer something useful and interesting….. As a whole, most of our parishes are vibrant and active, throughout the year…..

Few days back, most of the parishes organized ‘Teachers Day’ to honor the people serving in this noble profession. To the best of my understanding and based on a crude survey, there are about 25 to 100 plus serving / retired teachers in every church….Just it crept my mind why can’t we promote a ‘Teachers Associations’, with a dual objective, the younger generation learn from senior and elders and as a peer group they can learn from each other….as learning is a continuous process…..!

   There is a mix of such teachers, from play schools, kinder garden, primary, higher primary, high school, junior and degree colleges, medical colleges, Engineering, Dental, Nursing, teachers training, Agricultural, ITI and polytechnic, physical education, yoga, Fisheries in one hand and they engaged in different mediums like Kannada, English….There are few catechism teachers too……probably teaching in Konkani…..

Again they are employed by Government, Semi Govt. Private Management…… further, few full timers, also many part timers opting to this field, for mere passion, there are resource persons, again there are permanent and temporary, for few it’s a stop-gap arrangement, till they fetch a remunerative assignment, good number of eminent and expert speakers, targeting  both intellectuals as well as social workers….ultimately any teacher who mould and adjust as per the situation becomes worthy of everyone’s blessings….. 

Is there a possibility to bring all of them under one umbrella in the parish level?
   Personally, strongly feel, it’s our social and moral responsibility to popularize ‘Christian values’ in our society, not necessarily as religion but surely not as conversions under the sensitive circumstances prevailing in the society. Teachers are the true ambassadors of injecting moral and ethical values in the learning minds of children and youth, by their own life, teaching skills and the influence over the pupils. Our clergy, preoccupied with the task of holding the faithful under their care and their precariously limited number, hardly have space or reach to go out of the box…..

The pattern for such platforms:
   To the best of our understanding, many of our teachers are well respected both by students and respective managements, outside of normally managed Schools and Colleges by CESU. Their number is huge. Such a platform will give them moral support, training and tips to impart their knowledge with a high moral standing. Experienced and retired teachers can share their knowledge during the regular meetings, effective modes; skills may be transmitted to the younger ones in the profession. It is said today’s education system center round to equip the children to score good marks in the annual exams…About a generation back it was different, the way of life, practical experiences of the teachers were shared, no concept called tuition classes, crash courses to prepare and face tests etc….what was taught in the school was remembered and carried over……Coming to the point, teachers platform must serve as a formal way of sharing, caring for each other, to be best in the profession.

Objectives and social responsibilities:
   It’s nothing to do with church religious activities; there are many other specific units to carry out such works. Here the focus is on, how to be better teachers by sharing knowledge and how effectively train young minds to be responsible citizens in this society. There must not be any plans or programmes to generate funds or promote projects, if at all a small contribution, to defray the expenses like refreshments and stationery etc. It can be based on active / passive principle – if need be more active otherwise passive….

Functioning of these Associations:
   As we mentioned in the beginning teachers are coming from various backgrounds, and all of them well qualified, each one of them good enough to be an office bearer. If the total number teachers in the parish is around 60 and in cases like Mount Rosary its more, 20% of the members can be office bearers for the year, after 6 months the executive council for the following year to be elected, again 20%, once the 2nd years Office bearers took charge, the previous years committee too must be participative in the functioning of the unit, once the Association is in the mid of second year the office bearers for the third year to be elected or nominated……In other words, inception year in an Association of 60 people a managing committee of 12 i.e. 20%, second year a new office bearers of 20%, and mid second year third years committee of 20%, in total, 36 different people actively involve themselves for their own benefit. Any point of time office bearers who served in the previous year, serving current year and elected for the forthcoming year must remain active, together with all other members. This will be a continuous process for following years……

Diocesan / Varado federation of these organizations:
   Take it for granted, such organizations will be the most useful instruments to bring a silent revolution. They are best in the streams of their choice….Doors must be open to invite expert educationists from all walks of life, irrespective of their religion to educate, train and equip ourselves to be morally and ethically best, effective and like flowing water. For a moment leaving aside Christianity as a religion, the universe has accepted Jesus Christ as the greatest moral teacher, in the human history, don’t we have the responsibility to propagate these ethical values..? Hope the Church hierarchy will think over it sooner than later…..


   We were taught by our teachers, adjustment with right people is always better than argument with wrong and a meaningful silence is better than meaningless words… teachers fraternity in any parish, including our Barkur, is highly respected lot and most of them serve some way or the other in their respective parishes….they hold office of responsibilities and sacrifices their time and utilize their talents to execute the task entrusted. Most of our qualified people in the parish, today serve outside their respective parish / abroad and locally among the working men and women, teachers constitute a big chunk….these people specially have the rare quality of accepting compliments and criticisms in the right spirit, as they know the richest wealth is wisdom and the strongest weapon is patience……and in union this community even do wonders but its visible once the students taught by them become successful in their respective life. As we always remember our revered teachers, with gratitude’s, let us pray and hope, the best, intelligent and dedicated one’s only go for this noble profession. Let money or earnings take back seat… or the respective Managements compensate them with due and deserved remuneration……

   Yes we can not elaborate on above further for the time being……if our teachers feel it a worthy move, please discuss about the proposal first in peer groups…..Where our priests cannot reach, our teachers can….and irrespective of who manages such Institutions, they are giving their best, this is my personal experience and observation as a resource person in seminars in few Colleges, during last couple of years…. and there is always room for improvements and learning from each other, further help all of them to be ideal, in discharging their social responsibilities, as in these days, the moral and ethical level is deteriorating…………!

On behalf of Barkur-on-line team,
   P. Archibald Furtado, 15th March, 2019.

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