Achariya Guna – Teacher’s Traits

Dr P H Waghodekar

In Pali Literature “Milind Pancho” is a very famous scripture. This book (Grantha) consists of 7 chapters; one chapter is “Medkapancho” in which the Greek King Milind enquires Nagsen about the traits of a guru (teacher).  Nagsen responds to the king Milind’s query prescribing the following 25 traits of a teacher:

  1. To pay full attention towards student (student-centered?).
  2. To advice always student what is meant by right duty and what is not.
  3. To advice in what matters student needs to be cautious (Sawadh) and in what not.
  4. To know and understand student’s nature and behavioral pattern.
  5. To monitor student’s habits in respect of rest, sleep, etc.
  6. To nurse the students if s/he falls ill.
  7. To keep knowledge what his student has achieved and what not (achievement assessment).
  8. To teach student to distribute the food (Bhiksha, Madhukari) collected amongst other students. This system did exist in Pune Anatha Vithyarthi Griha, Pune, in the early 19th Century; a student had to collect Bhiksha from a limited pre-decided number of householders in the city (social obligations).
  9. To build student’s patience, not to fear or lose confidence.
  10. To encourage student to understand that he can easily handle the difficult situation and win over it.
  11. To guide student to be in association/contact with some particular knowledgeable person (experts).
  12. To motivate student to visit some places of importance.
  13. Do not indulge with student in such matters as grapevine, useless jokes, etc.
  14. To pardon student for his mistakes.
  15. To teach student with full energy and enthusiasm.
  16. Do not observe unnecessary holidays, doing no teaching.
  17. Do not hide (knowledge per se) anything from student
  18. To unfold and clearly state/explain all things.
  19. To adopt the concept: I have given a new birth to my student through giving him knowledge and bestow upon him motherly love as your own son/daughter.
  20. To strive fully to see to it that student does not go away from his goal/mission.
  21. To help grow student giving him all types of education
  22. To maintain friendly relations with student.
  23. To help student during his difficult time, do not go away, abandon him.
  24. Do not fall short in teaching appropriately several subjects needed by student without any reservations whatsoever
  25. If a student slips from the right path (dharma), help him to balance and bring him back on the path of Dharma.

Thus, a teacher’s job being creative  has multifaceted job requirements calling him/her by several titles like facilitator, integrator, coach, mentor, Guru, teacher, demonstrator, faculty, lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, professor, etc. Can one list out the traits of each one of these? What are the common job components?  Do job analysis, write job description and work out job specifications and convert it into job difficulty points relating it with the national wage policy.

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