On this Day of Guru Poornima we always hear about the stories and praises being showered on a Teacher and how Teachers are so important And so on.
My experience of this day is a tad different and a very humbling truth that i learnt in a very harsh way! Makes me laugh today cause that’s how i prefer learning. Mostly on days such as today, we talk about the GURU giving GYAAN and the student-trainer relationships and how a teacher is important to every pupil. But this day a decade ago made me realise that a teacher is the most keen student or has to be if not.
I was on that day,going to be Teaching about conversational ability to some super youngsters.
I was all full of myself (my first few years of being a trainer).
This was my first interaction with this set.
I was to talk about language etiquttes to this bunch of super sure of themselves youngsters and that too in English.(I was teaching in a regional envoirnment to put things in perspective.)
The moment I entered and addressed the students about importance of language ability in a processional arena,one of them very abruptly asked me – “why should we listen to you?”
Point blank. Straight. Bang on.
It was a Taste of my medicine (I was infamous to have been just that kinda of student).it stumped me.
My most natural reaction was a tad bit of anger at his audacity to ask a teacher something so rudely.I swallowed it.
My next reaction was,a point blank answer which came to my mind and that was was – “You listen to me because I am your teacher.”
I gulped that as well. Didn’t make sense to me. I was there to teach them but did that make me their teacher or meant that they should listen to me?
I went back to my days of questioning everything and everyone from my parents to my teachers (with all respects and regards given and due to them)
Out of that, flashback, emerged a younger me.Me the student!
I saw myself sitting in front of me.
In an instant i smiled because I realized I had been asked a fundamentally brilliant question by a newer version of me a 2.o so to say !
I turned from student to teacher to student to teacher in flips. Learning and grasping and understanding all at one go. This is the instant i realised,Teacher is,has to be a student for life in order to be accepted as a teacher.
I asked him if he liked English? Had he heard the language? He said, “No”.I asked him would he like to listen to it? Perhaps a song? I asked him if he would give that song a chance and then decide whether he wanted to listen to me or not?
He was a teenager who was possibly interested in knowing my reasons or was just being a youngster!He did not expect a sweet response to his rude question. What’s more I offered an entertaining activity to begin with. Listening to music.
He said OK meekly. I played the song. Taught them to sing it with me.
My first class of conversational skills was teaching lyrics of an English song when that youngster didn’t know a word! I just asked the class to enjoy the feel of the language on their tongues. It would certainly be alien and fun! They did it. They loved singing something after me without understanding anything.
But I learnt my first extremely important lesson.
A Teacher needs to be a student all life,and a very good student to grasp,understand and respond to a bunch of super active minds.
They will Question!! You will be stumped!
They will Seek!! Thus you will learn!
Just because I was paid to teach them doesn’t mean they have to listen. Every class is my challenge. Every session is my responsibility. And every classroom means that I have to engage with my students. Get them to engage with the subject. Do everything in power and hands to make sure that they understand and agree in the understanding.
Call for those challenging questions.
You may not have all answers and that s what makes you a student for life.
I have tried to do that to the best of my ability. I have tried to be a good student.
They have made me to be a good teacher
Thank you all of you.On this day we salute the student in us.BEcause only then WILL,CAN a teacher exists.
As for the student. he still sends me the songs for my English playlist even today.
Team Smart Tips