Article by Mrs. Susan John, P.G. Asst in Zoology (Retd.) – Good Shepherd Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai.
Being in the teaching field not as a job, but as a vocation has been a challenging, fulfilling and a rewarding experience.At the end of my teaching career of over three decades, when I sit back and enjoy the bliss of retired life, I can’t help but feel satisfied and thank God for giving me a wonderful opportunity to serve and mould young minds.
When you ask a group of young students who are at the crossroads of life, as to which career they would like to choose, you might hear options like doctor, engineer, astronaut, lawyer and the like but seldom ‘teacher’. And when you ask them the reason why, they would say “Mam, it’s so tough! It needs a lot of patience.” And that’s exactly what teachers are called to be. God in his infinite wisdom has created each one of us in a unique manner and it is for the teacher to realize the potential of each child, nurture him or her during their formative years and help them grow their wings and take off, to explore the world and conquer their wishes and dreams.
Handling high school students at an impressionable age is a very responsible job. Although we live in an age of instant gratification, we cannot expect this in the life of a child. It’s like a farmer planting his seed. He cannot say “now come on, hurry up and grow in one day”. He has to wait for the seedling to germinate and grow – braving the rain and the storm. He has to support it when it is bent, broken or damaged. When it grows older, strikes strong roots, brings forth flowers in all splendour and fruits in its season …. the joy of the farmer is untold.
As the child grows through the Kindergarten, Primary, Middle and High school, the needs vary. Initially the child has to be told what to do and when. Slowly, the student should be weaned away. During the teenage years the child starts understanding responsibilities, coupled with freedom. There will be times when the teenager may be confused, angry or rebellious and it’s the teacher’s responsibility to identify such students, spend some time with them and counsel them. As the child spends a good number of waking hours in school, the teacher not only has to fulfil her job as an academician but also has to double up as a second parent. I personally have been able to identify the so-called ‘problem kids’ by observing their behaviour — they could be aloof or demanding, rebellious and have a don’t-care attitude — any sign that indicates a change in behaviour. Spending some quality time with such children makes them feel special, loved and cared for. Out will tumble their innermost ‘hidden secrets’ and the teacher has to just give a listening ear and be there for them. They can then be counselled to take decisions on their own. When in later years they carve out a niche for themselves, they will certainly remember ‘that teacher’ who made a difference in their lives and be ever grateful to them. Their experiences will have a rippling effect and they will be able to help others in similar situations. In fact my joy knew no bounds when some old students who had settled outside the country travelled long distances to come and meet me during my travels abroad. Needless to say that their love and respect remain undiminished. If anything, it had only doubled! In fact it is so overwhelming to hear them say that what they are today, they owe to their school and teachers. In an era where values and ethics are compromised, they unashamedly say that the morals and values that they had imbibed while in school have stood the test of time and wished that they could pass on these qualities to the next generation – their progeny.
Talking about values, it is every educator’s responsibility to inculcate values in the children entrusted to them. In today’s world imparting textbook knowledge has become redundant. Google and Safari can do that job for them. But what the social media cannot do is what the teacher has to step in and do. With the computer, laptop and tablets finding their way into the educational system, one might think that the teacher will soon become obsolete. I want to prove them wrong. After interacting with these gadgets for a while, the average child might soon become bored and disinterested. They might indulge in nefarious activities and turn out as social misfits or anti-social elements. Here is where the teacher’s challenge lies. The educator has to devise various methodologies like preparing audio-visuals, conducting quizzes, having brain-storming sessions, organizing group activities, and thinking out of the box to sustain the interest of the child. These as well as other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities should enable the child to grow up with an all-round personality ready to take on the world. And exhilarating is the joy of the teacher as she watches the fruits of her labour!!
Mrs. Susan John has a rich teaching experience of 35 years through which she inspired and motivated thousands of students and they enjoyed her teaching immensely.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and may not reflect those of this organisation.