Tag Archives: Teaching

Accountability


Once in a while a question shakes me up and soon gets me on a ‘thinking’ spree. Today it was from a young colleague of mine.

“Aren’t you worried how people would react if you do things differently?”

Let me make the context clear. The topic was ‘how to make the online classes more interesting and creative’. After watching one of my recorded classes she hesitatingly raised this question. And now it has got my brain buffering.

A teacher is supposed to explain the topic, the meanings, discuss the questions and prepare the students for the exams. Fine. The teacher will be paid and no one would point a finger at her. But is that enough? For me, no.

I have two options.

  • Option one: Take my students up to the museum gate and announce, “Hey kids, this is the museum which houses a lot of famous antique pieces and artefacts. Clear?
  • Option two: Get the tickets, lead them in to the museum, and let them have a close look at those curios, and let them bask themselves in that ambience of antiquity.

I would go for the second option.

Fit in or stand out? Follow the crowd or follow our hearts? The latter ones seem more thrilling and acceptable to me, not just for the sake of being the odd one out or to show off, but for the gratification of doing the best for the children destined to be with me for an entire academic year. It demands sheer hard work.

“That is the one unforgivable sin in any society. Be different and be damned!”
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Each lesson opens up doors to the unseen magical world around us. The possibilities are infinite depending on the creativity and willingness of the teacher who handles it. Is it necessary to walk that extra mile? After all, it is just a lesson meant for some ordinary middle class students. Is it worth sacrificing our precious time and energy for these kids who may never recognize or acknowledge our efforts?

What about the colleagues who are content with the conventional methods? Let them be. There’s nothing wrong in it. I don’t expect others to join me or imitate me, though sometimes I may try suggesting to some. But I give up at the slightest hint of disdain, as unsolicited advice is unwelcome too.

“There is a certain way of being human that is my way. I am called upon to live my life in this way, and not in imitation of anyone else’s life. But this notion gives a new importance to being true to myself. If I am not, I miss the point of my life; I miss what being human is for me.”
― Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism

I shall always remain accountable to my students. The rest will ensue, naturally.

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I Shall Do That for My Students


I should teach better – that is it. For the past few days I have been thinking about the new methods and techniques I should adopt for the betterment of my students. Although about to round off a decade in teaching profession, I have no plans to settle down contented with the experiences of the decade.

Many of the methods that I mastered in the beginning of my teaching career have become irrelevant or outdated. The students who I teach today were born into the technologically advanced days. They are more proficient than we teachers in many aspects. But there are a few qualities that students expect from teachers irrespective of the age in which they live – the qualities that stand the test of time.

I respect all my teachers for what they have done for me. But just a few of them are adored – for the seemingly simple things they did for me.  

[I am immensely grateful to the following teachers of mine:

Mrs Annie, for the chance she ONCE gave me to run errands for her while I was in grade two!

Mrs Shobana, for the positive comments she ONCE made on my exam paper!

Prof. E. John Mathew, for the effort he took ONCE to comment on the good features of my essays!

Mr. Ramankutty, for appreciating my answers in front of a batch of aspiring journalism students!]

A personal touch matters a lot in any relationship. So why not bring that into the student-teacher relationship too?

All good teachers are not favourite teachers. And all favourite teachers need not be good teachers (considering the quality of teaching). My dream is to be both to my students.

Tomorrow onwards I will have to teach two large classes – class ten and nine with thirty-five and forty-five students respectively. Personal attention to each one of those eighty students – is that feasible? I take up the challenge – cheerfully!