Perspective Careers

Bonding with one's student

Festivals are a great time to bond. Photo: G. Krishnaswamy  

Some weeks back, after school, my daughter stormed into the house. (She was sweating and had not secured good grades in English.) Instead of greeting her warmly, we questioned her about her performance in English. That infuriated her further; she skipped the customary evening snack, locking herself up in her room, only to appear for tuitions later.

President Kalam opined that to be a unique human being, an individual needs to pursue four objectives, namely, have a great aim, continuously acquire knowledge by reading great books and keeping great company, work hard and show perseverance.

Are parents, schools, administrators and teachers nourishing this dream of creating unique personalities fired with passion, imagination and talent, or are they producing marionettes from factories? This needs to be deliberated by all stakeholders including the children.

Navigating life

In this age of SMAC (Software, Mobiles, Apps and the Cloud), teachers and parents need to navigate technology adroitly so that they keep pace with the latest information to challenge the mind of the child and not confront them.

Teachers need to look at this inventory list and do some soul searching. A child expects moments of wonder in the classroom. Students crave for that “Aha!” moment to break the monotony of non-stop classes. The educator today needs to navigate pop culture and understand the lingo of being “cool,” and understand the mind of the child. Mutual trust between students and teachers is absolutely paramount. There should be no politicking, favouritism, etc.

Studies on organisational behaviour clearly indicate that, many times, teachers pay attention to certain children in the classroom, neglecting others at their own peril. This results in resentment and poor grades of those ignored. A bit of humour, being witty, that lighter moment, immediately attracts a child towards the teacher. As Gail Goodwin says, “Teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.”

Teachers need to master two secrets to be successful in their careers: the law of attraction and the law of acceptance. The first law makes a teacher radiate energy, liveliness, inspire students, invoke positive vibes and thoughts in the classroom.

The second one encourages a teacher to accept the learner in all respects. The student is taken seriously, feels recognised and challenged, develops special skills and his/her creativity gets harnessed. Besides, the teacher needs to understand the difficulties, complexes, sexuality and hesitations of the child. A student is to be embraced not humiliated.

The dilemma

Today, the teacher is harassed, has odd timings, plenty of corrections to undertake, manages two fronts (home and school), invariably carries school to the home and the home to school, does not have time to exercise, yearns for that Sunday or holiday to relax and unwind. In such a scenario, teachers have certain expectations from children, administration, fellow teachers and their spouses and families.

From students: Teachers expect that children are prepared, committed to learn, motivated, respectful , understand their strengths and weaknesses, respect each other and do not become bullies.

From parents: Teachers expect that the parents do not become super teachers. The common goal is the interest of the child. Parents need to be participative and not coercive and ensure no moral policing but encourage their children to blossom. In the final analysis, as Kofi Annan put it, “Knowledge is power, information is liberating, education is the prism of progress in every society, in every family.”

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 9:49:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/careers/bonding-with-ones-student/article7877129.ece

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