My young neice is a first time teacher. Her enthusiasm is palapable so is her nervousness. She is driven to do her best. ‘They should learn right, chechi. They should benefit from my classes. ‘
Eager to make a mark and make a difference she puts in efforts to learn the tricks of the trade. From introduction of a lesson to details about classroom activities to making the class engaging, she is an enthusiastic question bank. Our discussions are as interesting for me as it is for her.
As we discuss, I see in her a glimpse of how I was, fired up to make each class memorable, reading, making notes and learning new words.
Years of teaching has made me confident and comfortable in a classroom, so it will be with her or even better, given her commitment and sincerity to the job.
The fact that she deals with students in a government school makes it even more demanding, she has to constantly consider those who have had no exposure whatsoever to good language. Yet, the teacher is excited and committed and the students are lapping it up, reciprocating the teacher’s enthusiasm in equal terms.
Many years back, I taught at Ganapat Boys High School in Calicut for just 3 months and that experience was an eye opener for the beginner in me. In a classroom of repeaters, I could with some affection and positive remarks generate enthusiasm for learning. I remember breaking in my heart when the kids in the classroom, spoke of their ambitions, ‘I want to be a mechanic’,’I will run a watch repair shop’, ‘I will become a bus conductor’. It looked as if the fact that they had failed a year or two has reduced the scope of their dreams and aspirations. It must have been such a painful experience to go home and be reminded only of their academic failure and be told the same at school. While I was warned of the indifference of the students in the class, I found them very supportive and willing to understand and learn. I guess a little compassion and understanding is all it takes to make a child ‘whole’ again.
It is therefore, touching to see young teachers being so kind and willing to learn and grow, it speaks good for all of us. But mostly I am just happy to witness this process of evolution of the nervous new comer finding her feet and her voice in the class room and her colleagues and students showering praises on her as she does it.
A helping hand and a smile helps anyone, even teachers, yes, more so, teachers because a teacher is in a unique position of being able to give joy to many little guys and girls and that many homes, if you think about it.
Go on then, reach out to a teacher you know and tell him/her of the good work they do, they also deserve a few good words.