- Children don’t care about your qualifications
Close your eyes for a moment after reading this sentence and bring to mind your school days. Think of the teacher you loved most and answer this question: why did you love him/her? Is it because they were the most qualified teachers in your school? Perhaps you don’t even know their qualification, but you know that there was something in them that attracted you. It was their character, the way they interacted, the way they made you feel important. It was that smile, that care, that love that mattered to you. And so it is to every child in every corner of the world.
- It doesn’t matter if you don’t mind
Work place politics is real. There is no running away from it, even in a school. But if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. People might hunt you for a number of reasons: simply for being honest, for walking an extra mile for the students under your care, for taking children to the park on a holiday, and what not? Just don’t mind.
- You cannot please all children
At times, especially in senior classes, you will find an occasional student who deliberately hurts you: by not doing their assignment, by disturbing your class, by spoiling that much awaited group discussion. You do everything in your capacity, but he/she wouldn’t budge. They seem to be determined. Well… you cannot please everyone. Be firm with them, but not arrogant. They can afford to be arrogant, they are children, but we cannot, for we are teachers.
- Your real learning begins when you start teaching
By the time you complete your BE.d, you have enough command over the subject you teach, yet your real learning starts the day you enter the first class. Most teachers learn a bit about children’s behavior in the class in the first few months and identify solutions for peculiar problems, and then they go repeating those months over and over every day of their working life. There is no set solution for most of the problems we come across in the class rooms. We need to keep our senses open 24/7 to learn. We are not dealing with mango or coconuts to handle them; you are dealing with real living, thinking vibrant children who are constantly responding to their environments. Now no two children have the same environment even if they come from the same family. At least their cyberspace is different.
- Your words can make or break a child’s life
That is more of a personal experience: I was in grade IX when my school invited students to join the volley ball club. I was interested in sports, but had no formal training till then. A friend of mine ( A wonderful journalist now) and I decided to join and went to the school the day practice started. We reached 10 minutes before practice was to start, walking five kilometers from home. The PT teacher came five minutes after the practice started. Watched us, and called us.
Teacher: Why here?
My friend: Sir, we are interested in volley ball.
Teacher looks at us top to bottom.
I: Sir, anything wrong?
Teacher: you both look like the cap of soda bottle. Pack up. This game is for the tall boys.
That was it. End of our dream. Having studied in a Malayalam medium government school, I have had many more such experiences, but this one is enough to drive home the idea for now. If you are a teacher, it is far better for you to keep your mouth shut than discouraging a child in that manner. They are not going to remain at that age for ever. And they are not going to forget what you say.
Beware our words go out of our mouths endowed with the power to break or make children.
- Students are better judges of teachers than the management
Those students, especially those lagging behind in academics know exactly what in your teaching methodology is not according to their taste. It is highly beneficial to call them individually to ask about the learning difficulties they face. If they have a problem, they would also have a solution. Be willing to listen to them.
- Quit the day you find it difficult to cherish the company of children.
Children can be naughty, mischievous and irritating. Yea, they can be. Love them any way. Quit the day you feel it is difficult to love them. There is no other profession that demands your positive attitude and approach as much as the teaching profession. It is not meant for everyone: some might enjoy it for some time; quit the day you feel it is too hard, even after giving it many attempts.
Teaching is a game, only for the right players.