The School Teacher in India
School education is widely studied in the socio-political, policy, programmatic, curricular, pedagogic and ideological contexts. Relatively little studied is impact of these on the human agency of the teacher  who is at the heart of the educational process. In recent studies, the teachers come into focus as the principle agent who, more often than not, fail in their task of socialisation of children along equitable lines. There does exist a somewhat broad understanding that
“The status of the teacher reflects the socio-cultural ethos of a society; it is said that no people can rise above the level of its teachers. The Government and the community should endeavour to create conditions which will help motivate and inspire teachers on constructive and creative lines... Teacher Education is a continuous process, and its pre-service and in-service components are inseparable”
This paper is a preliminary attempt to bring to the fore the voice and agency of the 'school teacher' in India from the 18th century indigenous system of education to the present. Who constituted the teachers? What were their own experiences of schooling and socialisation, their own role as teacher in the overall context of their own expectations? What were the socio-political-cultural influences that carved the idea of the teacher? How do these conceptualisations operate and impact teacher preparation, schooling itself, the social fabric, structures and processes?
Some incandescence efforts to challenge prevailing conceptualisation of teachers and their roles, have periodically shone, but not often sustained except as nostalgic exemplars.
The paper relies on the records of the British School Inspectors on the indigenous system of education in India, the Missionaries, the 'Normal' Schools and related analyses of scholars to understand the teacher and the shifts in who a teacher was till early 1920s. This is followed by examining the shift in the conceptualisation of the teacher in the Nai Talim experiment until the 1950s. The account of the changing face and expectations of teachers in the post-independent era ends with the teacher in the context of the Right to Education.   
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