In the last two months, my former students kept recommending The Three Idiots to me. But because I had taken on a couple of big projects, sitting in a cinema for three hours was a luxury I could not afford.
Yesterday I had my last teaching day of the first semester, so today I made up my mind to see the movie. And – it was absolutely worth the three hours. In fact, I should be glad that the film was still on after having been screened for three months.
It is not difficult to imagine why the film clicked with so many of my former students, many of whom are young teachers. It is about them as young adults who are torn between pursuing their dreams, and succumbing to reality. It is about them as young teachers, who want to educate students, and at the same time have to carry out the many uneducational duties imposed on them by a society that does not really care about the purpose of education.
For me, I thank the producer, the director, the screen play writer, the actors, and all those who contributed to the film, for reminding us how suppressing our education system can be of students’ individuality and talents. It reminds us that if we are not critically reflective enough of our education system and our work as teachers, we could be, without our own knowing, mass-murdering our students, so that they become soul-less products of a global factory.
Today, teachers’ professional development is the buzzword in education. But very often, it is only concerned with how we teachers can technically perform our day to day activities more effectively. But if we are not doing the right thing, then the more effective we are (e.g., teaching to the test), the more souls we kill, and the more passion we suffocate. So, if a school is racking her brains figuring out what topic to cover for the upcoming staff development event, why not simply have the teachers watch excerpts from Three Idiots together, and exchange their thoughts afterwards! This is much more meaningful than, for example, listening to an outside ‘expert’ talk about how to set more effective homework.
Or have we already become too timid to face the questions that really matter?