Tag 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.

What is Success to you?

What is success to you, asked a student? Me? I asked surprised, perhaps feeling a little important.

Success is taking out the 2 wheeler after having sold the car to buy a laptop in a time of emergency, (now who does that?, well I did) and riding it after 10 years to college, with a heart crazily thumping out of fear and being startled every time a new gen motor bike whizzes past me!

It is reaching home safe and getting a sweet sleep, by far my bestest friend ever!

It is being able to pay the bills and being able to be there for those I love and sometimes for those beyond my small circle.

It is walking out of a classroom with a smile of satisfaction and being greeting with happy, cheerful faces in the classrooms and the corridors.

It is sky, who seeps into my conscience to clear doubts, fears and always promising new hopes.

It is a brother who sits far, very far and looks over in love.

It is having achan and amma and ammu in life with Andrew of course.

It is a few friends who ask how are you?, do you need something, can we go out together and so on.

It is a purr and a fragrance and a knowledge that life experiences have been good and being grateful is the only thing to do.

It is being able to write and speak your mind when you want.

It is being able to be there for your parents and being able to do what they ask you to do, despite your misgivings, for success is happiness and nothing beyond that.

Success is new learning of what is not known and a sense of wonder at living and that life is love in bits and pieces and a hope for a bond of a lifetime.

Better together

‘You don’t look yourself’, the young lady, stopped to take a longer glance at her senior.

‘This is not how I saw you always. What happened, what is going on?’

‘Why are you like this?’

‘Do you know you inspire me, I have never talked to you but from a distance, I have always watched you.’

The senior stood quiet, a bit stunned and taken aback.

The young lady was talented, a writer and a professor of great merit.

‘Me?’

‘Yes, mam, you are a strong woman and I look up to you. Life is not easy mam, but I want to be strong like you.’

‘Don’t come like this, get back to your original self, please’, the girl implored.

The senior stood quiet, a flurry of emotions racing through her mind.

As she walked ahead she asked herself, ‘Is this true?’

Sometimes it is good to see yourself from others eyes, the eyes of those who don’t censure you because even when you know you are a fighter, a cheer from and a cheer from there does not hurt.

Sometimes it is great to see someone stop by a little longer to hear you out, it is like, ‘I know there is hurt, just get it out’, so they come with little pieces of advice and suggestions, ‘ self care’, ‘have fun , you see that is what you should do’, ‘ net work, hmm, that is the mantra of the day’, ‘ go on, travel, why not?’, ‘ call me, let’s talk’, ‘ come, come, just come out with me!’, ‘chalo, this movie is great, let’s watch it’, oh! wow, how do you manage to look so good!’, stuff that comes out of sheer goodness, a large heart and concern for another human being.

So, when she sees a fighter herself, she does not fail to go up and say, ‘hey, you are doing a good job! I admire you’. Sometimes it is a student who has captured amazing pictures, a song writer, a speaker, an entrepreneur, an aspiring writer, a future film director and so on, sometimes it is a colleague who stays back after the class to clear a few more doubts even when he is missing his lunch break, at other times it is a friend who manages to fight back or extend a caring hand to someone in need, ‘hey, what is there, mam, that is life right, to help each other’, the simplicity of human spirit enthuses you to look bright everyday, even when the skies are clouded.

So, who did you walk up to, to say a good word today?

‘Ps: Team spirit not just in Gabba!

Classroom magic

As always classrooms create magic.

A space of safety and trust, of beautiful exchanges, of ideas, of daring to ask, of willingness to tell and listen.

Sometimes it is willingness to cheer.

Something surreal happened in the classroom today as young 20 year olds shared their brilliant ideas of science and its application in our lives. 

One of the speakers in the group is not used to speaking much. The last time he spoke, he did not manage to stand for a minute. He also revealed a tendency to cluck his tongue which the audience took up in good fun.

Perhaps he didn’t like it. Perhaps it helped him to decide to try harder.

Because today, when he spoke and he clucked his tongue a few times, and though some among the audience took it up, he continued speaking for a full 2 minute and a half. He did not stop. He was determined to speak his mind and the class broke into thunderous applause at his courage and perseverance. 

A small wall just collapsed. 

An impediment in his self discovery just vanished. 

At the time of dispersal, many got up to shake hands with him.

Classrooms are creative spaces for positive interaction, my belief in the same just got reinforced.