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Teachers, We are Special.

Yet another teacher’s day

But this time, the thanksgiving and love will be given and received virtually.

The elaborate plans which would otherwise start by mid August by the senior classes!!!!

All the hushed excitement, preparing for entertaining teachers, sometimes taking the class teacher of the organizing class into confidence. Both teachers and students will miss it this year.

Wishes have started pouring in and out. Last night, students of my previous school reached out to me requesting to record a video which they want to play as a surprise to their teachers, who are my friends. This underlines the fact that, even if the celebrations have shifted online, children will come up with unique ideas to make this day memorable for teachers. And that is like a salve for the wounds inflicted on teachers by the apathy of whomever that you want to assign a name and face to.

I have preserved the cards which I received from my students during my two decades of teaching.  The raw emotions penned down in them are the best certificate of achievement and appreciation that you can ever receive as a teacher.  You will be surprised by their observations about you.  These written and verbal feedback have made me upgrade myself as a teacher.

When I stand side by side with myself throughout the years from 1997 till date, I am proud of what I have become and how my students have transformed me. So on this Teacher’s Day, I thank my students for being my teachers by polishing the rough edges and unlocking the hidden wealth within me .

What do they want from us? What makes them remember their teachers when they achieve something and send a fond message giving you a share of their fruits of labour?

I don’t have all the answers, but some, which my students have taught me. The younger ones are uncomplicated. They want your love and attention. But from the pre-teens and teens , you need to earn love and respect and it sure takes a lot of learning

The very first lesson I learnt is to be understanding.

There is a wide chasm which separates our times from theirs and hence it will be great to remember that we are living in their world.  There is no point in guilt tripping them for loving PE period more than your subject, or wanting to visit the restroom or doodle when the lecture gets boring. Before you decide to give them a piece of your mind, given them a chance to explain why they did what they did and listen with open hearts. Sometimes the reasons will be indigestible to you, but logical and would make perfect sense to them.  It took me 10 years to be an understanding teacher.

The second lesson is THE CONNECT

I do not have an exact definition for connect. But I can surely say that It is the bond between a teacher and her students which raises a teacher from being a transferor of knowledge to an influencer. 

By establishing a connect, you can have even the toughest of the kids eating out of your hands.

If someone had told me, years down the lane I would be changing my music preference from Country and R&B and would be listening to Mindie Artists, Rap and K-Pop, watching or researching all Netflix shows which my students are talking about, showing up for basketball, football and handball matches, I would have told them that they are crazy.  You don’t have to love or even like what the Generation Z is crazy about, but sometimes to find a common ground, you need to know the world which they inhabit.

Teaching is an ever evolving profession and by being rigid against the change, you will only be making School, a living Hell for yourselves and your students

I had a child who used to get good marks only in Chemistry, because we connected over his love for Art.

You can reach out to every one of them, but unfortunately, our system doesn’t bestow us with the time . But try and pay attention. Like a detective, listen to what they have to say. Notice things that they do and compliment .Give stickers and smileys. Remember, knowing your lesson plans is vital, but knowing your students makes them feel that they are important to you .

Third lesson is, Show that You CARE.

They need to know that you love and genuinely care about teaching. It should reflect in everything you do . You can have a bad day or two, but rest of the days, be the super hero that you are. Your ardor and energy is contagious and it will seep into them. Not only the energy part, but also what you teach them. They would come back to let you know what you taught them with passion is still there, unforgotten and that sure is a dedication.

Another great lesson is don’t ignore the BACK BENCHERS.

As teachers, we tend to give all our attention to those who actively participate in the class and the back benchers slip through the cracks. We label them as the ones who lack interest and concentrate our best efforts on the students who would give us results so that we can happily claim a share of the fruits of their labour.

Reach out to them. They may not learn what you teach, but they would know that you care and want them to make an effort .It will work wonders .It did for me and they are the ones who still keep in touch letting me know every mile stones they achieve and when they give me a share of the credit, that is when my heart bursts with pride.

Final Lesson, PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH

You are always being observed by your students. So be a positive role model. If you report late to school and show up late for your lectures you forfeit the right to advice them to be punctual. Being neatly dressed, speaking politely, reading during lunch break instead of sneaking a peak on your Instagram, are all accounted for.

Remember, it is your personal approach that creates the climate for a classroom and your daily mood the weather. You can humiliate or humour , hurt or heal.

If you ask a teen, there would not be even 1% who would wish to follow your footsteps and be a teacher . Reasons are many and you are not to blame.

Yet, by being there and enjoying what you do , you sure is going to be an integral part of their beautiful memories of school. And who knows , there would be one or two who wishes to be a TEACHER just like YOU.

I am Professor McGonagall to my students and I take that as a compliment.

Happy Teachers Day

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10 replies »

  1. Each and every line has a deep meaning and reality. You r the superb teacher, mentor, guide. And more over a beautiful person with beautiful heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Leena ma’am, thank you very much for sending wishes to us in such amazing manner, I was indeed surprised to see you behind that chemistry text book. A pleasant surprise.
    We wish you too a very happy teacher’s day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am a retired teacher, and I have such fond memories of those days. ❤ Yes, we have a special life, and I have been so blessed!
    Thank you for following my blog. There’s a “teacher story” you might enjoy from way back. I will try to copy and paste the link, but I am technologically challenged, especially with the new format, so I’ll also tell you that it’s called “Gotcha!”

    Wow, looks like I copied the whole thing… OK, here it is:

    “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24
    Michael was an unhappy child. Every time I entered the third grade classroom for French class, as the other children were bouncing with excitement, Michael was sitting silently at his desk with a scowl on his face. He rarely made eye contact, and when he did, I couldn’t help wondering what I had done to make him so angry. It seemed impossible to engage him in the lesson, and since French was considered an “extra” class anyway, I had given up on Michael and tried to focus my attention on the students who wanted to learn. Still, there were days when just seeing him sitting there sulking would frustrate me, no matter how engaged the others were.

    One day I was a few minutes early, and as I waited in the hall I read the papers the children had written that had been posted outside the classroom. The holidays were approaching, and each child had written a wish list. Most of them were the usual things – a puppy, a video game, a bike …

    But then I saw Michael’s paper, and it brought tears to my eyes. He had just one wish: “I wish I knew where my dad is.” Before I could take in the full significance of it, I was called in to teach.

    That night I was awakened from a deep sleep with that piece of paper in my mind’s eye. I tried to pray for Michael, but all I could do was sob. I didn’t know how to pray for him, and as I asked the Lord to help me, the thought occurred to me: “If only he would do something good – just one thing – anything – I’d make a big deal of it and encourage him, instead of just scolding and nagging him.” So, I prayed that I could catch Michael being good, even though I couldn’t even picture what that might look like.

    The next day as I came into the third grade classroom, Michael was sitting sulkily at his desk, as usual, while every other child was running around the room. As soon as they saw “Madame,” they scurried back to their seats and waited to see what fun thing we were going to do that day.

    “Today we’re going bowling,” I announced, and all but one child squealed with excitement. I held up a bag of plastic bowling pins. “I’m going to need a helper today…” Immediately hands shot up with little cries of “Oo! Me! Me!”

    Suddenly the lightbulb came on.

    “… and since Michael was the only one who was where he was supposed to be when I came in today, he’s going to be my helper.”

    Michael’s head snapped up, a look of utter astonishment on his face. I smiled and held out the bag. He jumped out of his seat and started setting up the bowling pins as I explained to the class that I would say the name of an animal in English. If they could tell me the word in French, they could roll the ball once, and if they could tell me in French what that animal says (For example, a French cow doesn’t say “Moo!’ It says “Meu!”), they would get two rolls.

    For the next thirty minutes the students reviewed their farm animals, rolled the ball, and knocked over pins, and my trusty helper set the pins back up with lightning speed.

    When we had just a few minutes left, Michael shyly asked if he could give it a try. I said, “Of course!” He got both the animal name and the sound right, and he knocked over all ten pins, as the class cheered. That may have been the first time I ever saw him smile.

    I don’t know whether Michael ever got his Christmas wish, but I do know that, at least for this teacher, he was “Teacher’s Pet” for the rest of the year. (I’m pretty sure he learned quite a bit of French, too.)
    Prayer: Father, open our eyes to what is admirable and praiseworthy in others, and to acknowledge it openly. Help us to encourage more than criticize. And while we know there are times we must confront what’s wrong, may it be where we have already laid a foundation of respect and appreciation, so that the voice of correction will be heard as the voice of love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    Like

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