The success or failure of a geography course rests mainly with the teacher.
He may be provided with all the possible facilities in terms of laboratory, apparatus and equipment, given an ideal syllabus and a sufficient time for teaching of geography but unless he is enthusiastic about his work, knows the subject and really knows how to teach geography, he is not likely to achieve success.
On the other hand a keen and well informed teacher who loves his subject and believes in its value will succeed in spite of difficulties and handicaps.
In this regard the Kothari Commission report (1966) says, “Of all the different factors which influence the quality of education and its contribution to national development, the quality, competence and character of teachers are undoubtedly the most significant”.
Dr. S. Radha Krishan emphasises the role of teacher in the following words, “The teachers place in society is of vital importance. He acts as the pivot for transmission of intellectual traditions and technical skill from generation to generation, and helps to keep the lamp of civilization burning. He not only guides the individual, but also, so to say, the destiny of nation.
Teachers have therefore to realize their special responsibility to the society. On the other hand it is incumbent on the society to pay due regard to the teaching profession and to ensure that the teacher is kept above want and given the status which will command respect from his student.
A geography teacher is expected to possess certain academic qualifications as also certain professional qualifications.
As regards the academic qualifications it is usually a pass in matriculation/senior secondary examination for becoming a geography teacher in a primary school.
A pass in B.A. /B.Sc. examination for being a geography teacher in a middle or high school and a pass in M.A. / M.Sc. examination in the respective subject for becoming a teacher to teach an elective subject in a senior secondary school (grade 11 and 12).
In addition to the minimum academic qualifications anyone who wishes to be appointed a teacher in geography has to undergo a teachers training course.
For this purpose a person for appointment as a teacher in a primary school has to undergo 1 or 2 years Junior Basic Training (J.B.T) course and for appointment in high and higher secondary school the graduate or post-graduate teacher has to undergo a B.T. or B.Ed, course.
This professional training is all the more important these days when new techniques of teaching, evaluation etc. are being introduced. Trained teachers also require the stimulus of a refresher course to keep them informed about the latest methods of teaching and to refresh his knowledge of geography.
Such a refresher course also provides him with an opportunity to see some of the latest books and apparatus concerning geography teaching and to obtain instructions in arts and scientific hobbies.
During such refresher course he also gets practical training in the organization of geography clubs, etc. For keeping himself in touch with latest in geography the teacher may visit some nearby schools where geography is taught by new methods.
He can also take up the membership of a good library or good geography association. He can think of other such institutions and industrial houses nearby from where he can get the latest knowledge of geography.
All this is quite essential because a good teacher must always keep himself informed of the latest developments in the field. This aspect of a teacher has been brought out in the following words by Dr. Rabinder Nath Tagore, “A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp cannot light another lamp unless it continues to bum its own flame”.