Last friday , after school , my daughter stormed into the house( it was very hot ,she was sweating and did not secure good grades in English) . Instead of being greeted by me or by my father , she was questioned about her performance in English. That infuriated her further and my daughter skipped the customary evening snack and locked herself in her room only to appear for tuitions later in the evening.
How did I forget my childhood? Why did I not recall , Pink Floyd’s classic ,” Brick in the Wall”. And how did I not recollect our very own school production with Barry John called KIDSTUF , staged years ago which highlighted the travails of children at school and at home.
President Kalam opined that to be a unique human being , an individual needs to possess four qualities , namely a great aim, continuously acquiring knowledge by reading great books and keeping great company , hard work and great perseverance.
Are parents , schools , administrators and teachers nourishing this dream of creating unique children fired with passion , imagination and talent or producing marionettes from factories ? This needs to be deliberated by all stakeholders including children.
In this age of SMAC( Software , Mobiles, Apps and Cloud) and not SMACK , teachers and parents need to navigate the field of technology adroitly so that they keep pace with the latest information to challenge the mind of the child and not confront them.
Today education is imparted in three ways. Face to Face, Correspondence Courses and On- Line. A student/child/learner expects the teacher/educationist is respectful( to the demands of the learner),responsive,knowledgeable,approachable,communicative,organised , engaging , professional and humorous in disposition .
Teachers, need to look at this inventory list and do some soul searching . Without, any doubt , a child expects moments of wonder in the classroom . Students crave for that AHA! moment to break the monotony of non-stop classes . The educator today needs to navigate pop culture and understand the lingo of being”cool”, and understand the mind of the child. Mutual trust between students and teachers is absolutely paramount . There should be no politicking, favouritism etc . Studies in Organisation behaviour , clearly indicate that many a times teachers pay attention to certain children or certain columns in the classroom, neglecting others at their own peril. This results in resentment and poor grades of the lot ignored . A bit of humour, being witty , that lighter moment immediately attracts a child towards the teacher . As Gail Goodwin says,” Teaching is one-fourth preparation and three fourths theatre.”.
Teachers need to master two secrets to be successful in their careers . The Law Of Attraction and The Law Of Acceptance . Law one makes a teacher radiate energy, liveliness ,inspire students, invoke positive vibes and thoughts in the classroom . The second law encourages a teacher to accept the learner in all respects . The student is taken seriously, feels recognised and challenged, develops special skills and their creativity gets harnessed . Besides the teacher needs to understand the difficulties, complexes, sexuality and hesitations of the child . A student is to be embraced not humiliated.
Today the teacher today is harassed , has odd timings, plenty of corrections to undertake , rear children at home , manage two fronts(home and school), invariably carries school to house and home to school, does not have time to exercise , yearns for that Sunday or holiday to relax and unwind . In such a scenario teachers have certain expectations from children, administration, fellow teachers and their spouses and families .
From Students- Teachers expect children are prepared , committed to learn, motivated , respectful , understand their strengths and weaknesses , respect each other and do not become bullies .
From Parents- It is expected that the parents do not become super teachers . The common goal is the interest of the child . Parents need to be participative and not coercive . They need to inculcate habits which need not be moral policing but to encourage their children to blossom.
From Administration- Not to play petty politics amongst teachers . Inculcate discipline among the fraternity , provide good packages , encourage them and support them during crisis . Invariably the home front impinges upon the circumference of the school , but the school is so tied up with the TRPs of SRPs- Scholastic Report Performance Schemes) that they lack the ability to hear out the teacher, forget even listening to them.
From Co- Teachers- Need to be collaborative, professional, supportive , respect differences among them and also accept unity among some groups gracefully.
From Family- To be warm and proud of the profession and provide that extra space in their lives .
All this may appear to be altruistic , but is perhaps essential for the teacher to sport a SMILE to the child and GREET and be GREETED everyday by the children. And most essentially to increase the SPAN OF ATTENTION of the child in the classroom.
This piece covers the spectrum of public schools which have reasonable resources . There are millions of children who are illiterate and several schools in India which do not have necessary infrastructure , including TOILETS ,which leads to large drop outs especially among the girl child.
In the final analysis as Kofi Anan put it “ Knowledge is power , information is liberating , education is the prism of progress in every society , in every family.”
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