Thursday, August 04, 2005

My Most Beautiful 'Reality Check'

When i was small, i didn't have any ambition in life. I never imagined myself to be a working women when I grew up. Being the youngest of four siblings, I lived in an insular world, without a care since my parents took care of all my requirements and made all decisions for me. I didn't know the meaning of responsibility.

So when I started teaching in Aditi, it was more a matter of chance than choice. I had no clue what i was in for. I was still a child, a student in the mind.......... not prepared to take responsibility for the futures of students i was going to teach. To me it was just a job for which i was going to get paid on a monthly basis…..what I didn’t know was that I was soon going to learn some of the most important lessons of life………responsibility being one of them.

My first two months in Aditi were a nightmare and the toughest period of my life ever. There were times when I was not prepared for a class; and there were times when I would walk into a class thinking I was prepared and find myself without any answers to the questions asked by students. I was completely lost and almost came to the conclusion that I could never be a teacher. I wanted to quit. But the thought of what it would do to my self-esteem was a feeling beyond my ability to articulate. I had no choice but to continue working in the school and in the process learn to be a good teacher. I have learnt my share of lessons working in Aditi as a teacher, some of them the most precious, valuable, cherished.

* I realized that in the first two months, I hadn’t done much in class, in terms of coverage of syllabus. Much time had been wasted. I had to ensure that I completed the syllabus and had sufficient time for revision before the school closed for December vacation. I started taking extra classes and stayed back in school very often.
* I also realized that I didn’t teach the students any referencing skills. The students couldn’t have relied on their textbooks simply because of the poor quality of information. So I decided to make complete notes for them, and by the end of the year had printed a book, that had information collated from several subject-related books.
* Well, handling a bunch of Std. XII students was perhaps a daunting task for someone who was straight out of collage and looked more like one of the students. My classroom management skills were very poor and the classes were extremely noisy. Students would come to me after class with doubts pertaining to the lessons already executed in class. More learning was happening in the library and the corridors than in the classroom. However by the time I realized the importance of classroom management, it was a little too late and things were difficult to change. I felt that the students were not to blame if I as a teacher had failed to maintain a certain level of discipline in class. So I decided that before the public examination I would revise the entire syllabus on a one-on-one basis with every student. I found myself teaching students in Bangalore Club, in their house, in my house and so on.

One of the most beautiful days of my life was when the students called me to share the news of their outstanding results in the public examination. I still have some of the ‘thank you’ messages they sent to me on my cell phone.
I know that I had failed as a teacher in many departments, but I had taken the responsibility of holding their hands and seeing them through the examination with all my sincerity.

Today I still find myself learning and trying to be a more responsible teacher and I know that I have a long way to go…….

14 Comments:

Blogger gudrun said...

Hey!
That was a great post - I really admire your honesty. I can relate to your post in more ways than one... classroom management and order is a challenge for me too. And I really admire your committment and sincerity to your students. They're lucky to have you. Great going!

10:37 AM

 
Blogger anu said...

Dear Raji,
I simply loved reading your blog..................you are an inspiration for me .Hats off to your perseverance and earnest admission of how daunting a task you faced with grit and determination.YOU ARE A VICTOR IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE!!!!!!....dont you dare for a minute think otherwise!!!!.....

Cheers,
Anu

8:56 AM

 
Blogger Tara Kini said...

I would agree with Gudrun and Anu that you have shown real spunk in dealing with the situation and surfaced after a nightmarish initiation. The lessons you have learnt will possibly carry you through the rest of your career!

So are you talking of the first two months of your teaching as the 'incident' that you are describing? Is the lack of classroom management your concern stemming from the fact that you were so new to teaching and so unprepared for the responsibility? Or would you like to focus on one incident in the classroom during the period you describe and analyse it for content and context?

11:10 PM

 
Blogger sandra kunder said...

Candid confessions Viji!The blog seems familiar as I was one of the 'privileged' who was forced to offer shoulders and had to listen to you.
Jokes apart, keep going, and I'm looking forward to your next posting where you trace the time-line of your teaching career.
Sandra

2:46 AM

 
Blogger a.v.koshy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:34 PM

 
Blogger a.v.koshy said...

hey rajeshwari , that's a beautiful blog, i loved it, you write well and i can pick up something about classroom managementf from you.my classrooms too are quite noisy, glad you made it through.

10:35 PM

 
Blogger Shuchi Grover said...

That was a wonderful, candid blog! And I can see how the "newbies" to the teaching profession are taking heart from your honesty in sharing the nightmarish first few months.

If I had to relate this to our current discussion of context - I guess I would say that a lot of what you described was from the point of view of "your context as a new teacher" - your classroom management ability and comfort levels (or lack thereof) in your first year pretty much determined how the content was delivered to your students, right?

10:48 PM

 
Blogger Anita said...

That was absolutely smashing, rags - both the style and the content!! It was great to see that my friend has changed. From the fun loving kiddo to the responsible young lady taking up the great responsibility of molding young minds. Am proud of you, rags!!

8:33 AM

 
Blogger Anita said...

That was absolutely smashing, rags - both the style and the content!! It was great to see that my friend has changed. From the fun loving kiddo to the responsible young lady taking up the great responsibility of molding young minds. Am proud of you, rags!!

8:33 AM

 
Blogger Anita said...

That was absolutely smashing, rags - both the style and the content!! It was great to see that my friend has changed. From the fun loving kiddo to the young lady taking up the great responsibility of molding young minds. Am proud of you, rags!!

8:35 AM

 
Blogger ppseneelatatu said...

That was lovely post Vijaya. So well written!

12:06 AM

 
Blogger Balakrishnan said...

Oh my!!!
Hear is another freaky one!!
Bold yet pleasant as a Sunflower. So Truthful so that so powerful and dynamic. Self- motivated.

11:00 PM

 
Blogger ppsemohua said...

I have seen you grow from day 1. what I love about you is that you are spunky and not afraid to speak your mind and yet be so honest about your own self. You will go places kiddo!!!

10:28 PM

 
Blogger senzaNome said...

Hey Rags, that was a good post. Like the honesty with which you explain your initial days. I can relate back to the initial days in my career where I use to face problems because of not being prepared.
Admire your sincerity towards your students and work.
As you always say we all have a long way to go but its the experience and what we learn out of it that counts.
Wishing you all the best !!

11:30 AM

 

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