Category Archives: classroom

the success of a young teacher

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.

Mam!!!YOU GOTTA SING!

As we were windin up the semester, the class was euphoric. There were sharing of what they learned and how. The class also talked about the peers, and how others rooted for them and how this transformed them literally. In the general atmosphere of bonhomie and with the satisfaction of having completed the work assigned, I stood relaxed in front of the class of 100 students, 50 online and the rest offline.

Suddenly, a noise broke out from the back benchers, ‘ Mam, we want you to sing!’

I looked up strangely as that was not part of the agenda and smiled it off as a meaningless blabber.

But the call caught on and soon, the entire class was rooting .. we want sreelekha mam to sing!

sing! goodness! not if I have to die in front of you!!!

I thought to myself when someone reasoned, ‘ You always ask us to do so many things and we do. When we don’t know you encourage us, now it is your turn’.

I sweated a bit at this. There seemed to be no escape. I still tried my best and said, ‘Listen, I have no sense of rhythm, I have no sense of music itself’.

‘No problem’, shouted the class to me.

‘We want to hear you sing!’

Ohk, said I after much failed negotiation, I will recite a few sanskrit shlokas for you!

No! No! ‘Ok! anything!

The class cried out their thoughts to me.

Then caught in a corner , way out of my comfort zone, I went ahead and recited the sanskrit shlokas for the first time in my life in front a crowd that big.

When I stopped the class applauded my performance with enthusiasm.

That left me thinking of the mentors and trainers , who have so much to learn and unlearn and so many barriers to cross before we start to lecture others on coming out of the comfort zone!

Speeches are not difficult for me, but songs are a different ball game altogether.The learning from the event is that one has to constantly test oneself to continue to grow and evolve into better mentors, trainers and teachers!