NEVER A TEACHER!
No one was asking, but I always went around telling everyone, that “I’ll become anything in life, but never a teacher”.
It isn’t that I did not have positive role models or that I did not understand teaching, but it’s just that when I was growing up, learner profiles and learning styles of children weren’t exactly the most talked about aspect of classroom education.
However, after much coaxing by my mother, who herself is a Special Educator, I took up a teaching course. She had seen me work with some children at a school in a village and she probably knew before me that that was my calling. While I discovered that I was enjoying my course, I still had not experienced the beauty of what was going to be my profession going forward. It was one tender moment during my teaching practice that changed the way I felt about children.
That day and today, 20 years later, I haven’t had any “Monday morning blues”.
Working as a consultant and entrepreneur in the field of education, it is absolutely essential that I start my day even before I get to the physical space where I will be facilitating sessions.
I enjoy taking great care in planning my sessions and in executing them, but I equally enjoy chucking the plan when I feel the time is not right and just working with the vibe of the group for the day.
As an educator who works largely with early childhood, it is dangerous to be restricted to one plan or one idea. Sometimes, curriculum is the least important thing, and skills, values and developing interpersonal relationships are more important.
My children (as I call them) and I, spend a lot of time talking about choices, responsibility, ownership and introspection. It’s important to us that we have these conversations (yes, even as early as when they are just 3 or 4 year olds) so we all know that we are working together in a safe space, not just the physical space, but also emotionally and mentally. Once this is set, it’s more like a co-working environment where we are all learning from each other.
My typical classroom is chaos from the outside and organised from within. There are moments where everyone is talking at the same time and then there are moments when listening and patience come into play. I encourage children to find the balance between doing what they want and doing what fair for everyone on their own.
They know they can take a break when they want, provided they come back on their own to finish what they need to. They also know they can contribute to our collective learning experience, making the interaction richer.
But all is not always hunky dory. Working as a teacher is challenging, because one has to be so many different things to different children all at the same time. Unlike adult interactions, one cannot expect them to understand and deal with the adult’s personal and professional difficulties faced during the day, and educators, while working with the children in their care at any given point of time, also have to interact with colleagues and parents, many a time all at once.
So while it’s easy to get baffled and feel pulled in different directions, when I see my children, every other thought and association with the outside world gets left behind and that time and space becomes sacred and impenetrable making it the most beautiful time of the day.
The author, Anumeha Fatehpuria is an educator and the Founder of The Arts in Education (TAiE)
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wonder Women World.