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When the sun smiles back
all lovely yellow and bright,
I smile eternal.
Sometimes when I brood and reminisce, which I do a lot, about my first ever culminating teaching experience..a blurry yet nostalgic image of a class of 73 young, 12 somethings emerges before me. That’s VI A for me! My first ever class which was pretty notorious for nurturing some of the naughtiest kids in the school. Of course! Intimidated I was, with my zero experience as a teacher earlier which also in turn led me to become a very strict teacher for them. I remember how stressed out I would be over what seemed like innumerable complaints being bombarded at me. But that was the biggest learning point for me. Through thick and thin and through nth number of lectures and chidings, I gradually fell in love with my class. So much that I can still remember each and every student of my class by his/her full name. It was like a slow motion yet fast paced movie for me. Yes my students were naughty but they were also extremely bright and very active. They always had an air of eagerness and enthusiasm around them which would encourage me to always teach them something new. A single piece of information would have them bursting up with their own opinions and questions at me. Albeit it was tough with the encompassing pressure of portion completion and activities but I still managed to try my best. I love to think about the mornings when we would initiate our class with a few minutes of meditation. It was a paradisiacal sight with our class overlooking the Sahyadris. Something like this.
Albeit half of the time would be taken up by the notes I had to make them write, I still had those minute activities for them which would ensure that they learn something new everyday – something that’s exterior to the text. For example, the left portion of the blackboard was normally reserved for ‘The Book of the week’ and ‘Word of the day’ activities. The initial phase commenced with me suggesting a book along with the name of the author and describing the summary in a nutshell. But almost after a span of two weeks, I felt extremely proud to see quite a lot of students suggest books to me – many of which I had not heard of. I loved to see them narrate the story to the class later on. I would end up feeling elated thinking that I could at least bring about a slight change – making them feel that books ain’t really monsters.
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When I saw John Galt –
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Then there was this particular incident which still moistens up my eyes when I come to think of it. While teaching a chapter on Robin Hood once, I started telling students about the effect and importance of democracy and government and started suggesting a few books to them (as a part of core element). By mistake I mentioned Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ which is one of my favourites. Seeing their curiosity I told them a bit about Anarchism and John Galt’s character in the most simplistic way possible. Knowing that it was too complicated for them, I immediately shrugged the topic off completely forgetting about it. The next day I was met with surprise when one of the brightest students, Manthan brought a full page written information on John Galt. He had surfed the internet to know more about the author and the book. It was so inspiring for me as a teacher. The page stayed on the notice board for more than a month. It epitomized the curious, inquisitive mind of a child which was ready to take in whatever was available. A mind that would develop the way it would be conditioned. A mind that was waiting to be ignited all the more – with the light of knowledge and truth. A mind that would simply seek and learn. Manthan was John Galt for me. 🙂
Manthan is only an example amongst all the remarkable students I fortunately encountered in the past year . I remembered him specifically because that was a completely unexpected yet pleasant situation for me. There can be a book written on the the way each and every student has made teaching an exhilarating experience for me. I know that my life as a teacher is going to be adventurous, where I would teach but learn too. Because I believe that ‘A child is the father of a man’. Where I am going to face multitudinous experiences – good and bad. But I am sure students like Manthan would always keep me going and loving the profession I have chosen.