It’s been a few months since I joined as a teacher, and believe me when I tell you that these were the fastest few months of my life! They moved at a pace that I had never experienced before. They just zipped past and now I’m busy preparing the year-end reports, with an ache in my heart.
Life teaches you many things since learning is a never-ending process. As long as you live, as long as you breathe, as long as your heart beats and your mind thinks, you continue to learn. And the most important thing that I learnt – such an irony since I am the teacher here – is that you can’t open your heart enough.
I inherited the most unruly and boisterous class in the grade. The kids in this class had attained fame of a different sort. And I hadn’t stepped into a classroom for some time now so I was really really nervous. And thence our journey began. Me learning and unlearning each day as I taught them something new and interesting to keep the cogs of education rolling. My family too got involved with my little devils from school. The dinner table conversations were hijacked by stories of my adventures in the class. So today when I had to say good bye to them (it was their last day in this grade before they get promoted to the next), I was overwhelmed. Those little crudely drawn ‘thank-you’ cards were the best gifts I ever received and will go into my treasure trove. The spontaneous hugs, and group hugs, and fights to hold my hand, will forever remain in that special place in my heart. They drove me up the wall and kept me on my toes but today memories of each one of them is tucked away in that special place inside me.
That’s the best part of teaching the primary classes. They taught me to accept everyone unconditionally, and showed me that love is limitless and pure. It’s one of the life lessons that comes naturally to all children. It is us, the all-knowing adults, who corrupt it. By setting up standards and benchmarks, we push them to become something they are not, something they are not ready to become. We pass on our prejudiced ambitions to them, expecting them to live it out for us. Not fair. Their little shoulders are not for carrying our super-bloated expectations. Let’s instead work together – teachers and parents – to help them spread out their wings and soar high.
I sometimes feel sad when I interact with the current crop of parents. They treat the school as a service provider – we are paying for the service (read education), so it’s your responsibility to provide the best service and it’s our right to demand it. Sad, really sad to see that. There’s only so much a school can do. Instead it’s an equal partnership between the parents and teachers. Both need to invest time and effort together to get whatever results we have decided to get.
When I joined, one of my students was a major cause for concern. He was absent frequently, his work was not completed; in short, he was clueless in class. When we called his parents to school to talk about it, they went on total defensive and put the blame squarely on us. And as good professionals, we took all the grievances and attended to it the best way we could. Today when going through his grades, it felt good to see his progress and his straight As. Our partnership had borne the desired results.
It would do us a great deal of good to always remember that investments are not always fiscal. Children need us, our time and attention. I know it becomes difficult in the current times with both parents working and other related issues. But I guess the SIP plan would work just fine with the kids too. Instead of coming down hard on them after the results are declared when they are not up to the expectations, a little of our time and attention daily would go a long way to build up a strong relationship. Sometimes it’s prudent to go for long-term investments. Think of your children like that and let them be. Let them come into their own in their own time. Believe me you will be surprised with the results – they could outdo even your expectations!
Children are our future. We need to start working with them from now to get where they want to be. But let’s not get too caught up with societal pressures and expectations. Instead let us enjoy our children for what they are. You’ll miss these days once they grow up and leave the nest. Till then, love them the way they are, and they are special!
I’m now waiting for the new session to start, to meet my new class, and a new team of partners (I mean the parents)!