An endless love for Learning
‘The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts,’
– C.S. Lewis
What C.S. Lewis says is of utmost importance. As teachers, sometimes the assumption is that duty is to trim the class in such a way that only good students are promoted to the next class for the sake of good results. Of course, we just cannot promote the students even if there is no sign of improvement. But, the point is to irrigate the deserts. Anyone can do the unwanted trim, but it takes mettle to bring water into parched grounds.
When we take up teaching and become educators, it is more than putting bread and butter onto the table. Becoming educators means we have voluntarily taken up the responsibility to shape young minds and personalities. In a classroom, we have students from varied cultural and economic backgrounds. We cannot and must not overlook these factors while teaching even if it is simply covering the curriculum. A student might not come from an affluent family to have studied in English medium schools throughout. Another student might come from a home where education is not very important. But, at present, both students are sitting in the class, a perfect opportunity to motivate them. We never know, tomorrow one of them could be leading our country into the dawn of success.
Easier, said than done!
However, a classroom is one place where everyone is equal, whether we like it or not. We teach the same content to every student sitting in the classroom. Even with their differences, this is one common thread, which can be used to build a love for education and school in general. We need to begin with being compassionate of course, but the most important thing today for any educator is to be equipped at all times. From my experience, being equipped is the only thing which works today in the classrooms. Gone are the days when students were emotionally attached to teachers. With so much information all around at all times and so many avenues of learning, teachers might as well move out of the classrooms and students could still complete the curriculum.
What does being equipped mean?
- It means always being stocked with information and knowledge regarding the subject.
- To be able to get the attention of the students and here shouting does not help.
- l To be able to give in the classroom, which the students will never get in coaching centres .i.e. affection with motivation and knowledge.
- l To be able to give equal attention to every student.
- l To be able to be firm yet polite.
- l To stimulate the creativity in students even if it is mathematics we are talking about.
- To be able to discuss any topic, creating a comfortable atmosphere.
- To be able to listen intently to the children.
- l To be able to share the same curiosity as the students.
- To be able to take teaching more than just a profession.
- To be able to create an equal classroom i.e. no gender bias reinforcement.
- Being equipped means to be able to encourage questions in the classroom.
- It means to be able to be approachable.
- It means to be technologically one step ahead of the children.
Being an equipped teacher not only means to teach in words, but open the minds of the students to new horizons, opportunities and possibilities. It also means to encourage them to engage in discussions and use new technologies for their benefit. A You Tube video can teach a concept, but it cannot follow up with the student whether he/she did it in the correct way. If a teacher is mentally equipped, he/she will know how to use this You Tube video to an advantage. Students can acquire information from anywhere, but it is the human touch, which hasn’t made the teacher obsolete.
As an educator it is our professional and ethical duty to make sure that the purpose of examinations is not just to promote or detain the students. Examinations should be that event where no one comes with the fear of failing. Here, education is not just a piece of certificate, but acquiring skills to face the world and have a vocation to support oneself. But the fear of failure does no good to these lofty purposes.
At the same time, it is foolish to erase the importance of examinations, but the point is to be equipped enough to instill a love of learning, which no examination can erase. So, the aim is not to trim the jungles, but to bring water into parched grounds, so that no one remains thirsty.
‘A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning,’ Brad Henry.
Priyanka Ohri says, ‘Having finished my schooling from Auckland House School Shimla, I pursued my Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism. At present, I am teaching Mass Media Studies in St. Thomas’ School, Shimla. Teaching as a profession was discovered accidentally, but it is my second love after writing. There are two lessons that teaching has given me for a lifetime. First, to do what I love until I become perfect and second, you never know what you are capable of.’