Monday, September 7, 2009
Happy Teachers' Day - A trilogy - Part II
These are some of the experiences during my teaching days. I completed my masters in Human Development and for six months worked as a nursery school teacher in the same place where I had completed my nursery education.
Six months into it, I got a call from my college asking me if I was interested in working there. Just the thought of teaching undergraduates and graduates made me excited as well as nervous. Teaching is my passion but just out of college, I wondered if I could handle this job, and that too teaching at college level. I gathered courage and said yes.
My new life as a lecturer began. The first day however was a total disaster. First of all, we had to wear sarees and I was never comfortable in sarees. On the first day, I had to teach the second year graduates. We had an icebreakng session. Then I turned round to the board to give a short introduction to the subject that I was going to teach them. The board was high and there was a platform. I climbed on to that and was writing. My nervousness, the saree, all put together gave me a wrong equation of the distance of the length of the platform and there I was moving towards the edge and not realising it. All the students must have been waiting for this moment and then it happened. I stumbled right down. The saving grace was I did not fall! That was the worst moment for me but a very hilarious moment for all my students.
Well, slowly I started getting into the groove. I shared a wonderful rapport with so many of my students. The subjects that I was teaching was also very interesting mainly - Child Development, Womens' Studies, Microbiology, Physiology and so on. Hence there would be lot of interaction at various levels. As these subjects are mainly to do with being aware of various stages of human development, one could relate to them personally. Many of my students would come and discuss their personal problems as well.
My belief was that teaching had to transcend "lecturing" and had to involve the students at a deeper level. Hence creating various teaching techniques like having the students solve crossword puzzles, conducting quizzes, getting eminent personalities to talk on topics, getting the students to debate made teaching more interesting. I enjoyed this stint of my life getting to know so many wonderful students of mine.
Later my kids came along and I wanted to spend time with them. Once my children were old enough and became independent I worked for sometime in the school where my children were learning. Then, I also had a stint of running a preschool. To interact with little children is to open an amazing world. As Rousseau says children's minds are like a blank slate and hence filling up that space with the right things goes a long way in enriching a child's mind. That was again a deeply satisfying experience for me. The love and joy that the little ones shower on you is very rewarding.
So far this has been my teaching experience with varied age groups - both the teenagers as well as the little ones. All I can say is that teaching is a profession that one has to absolutely love. Because, people in their younger years grow (and grow up) because of their teachers and there cannot be a bigger letdown to these young people than a passionless teacher.