” Teachers can change lives with the right mix of chalk and challenges ” Author Unknown
Sometime last year I went for a social-do and was chatting with someone who happens to be a teacher in a prestigious school. She had been a subject teacher for many years and had just been made a class teacher. I asked her how was it going and she promptly answered, “You know I have a good class…no naughty kids, no special-needs kids, only studious kids !!!”
I was stunned, livid and taken aback!!!
I wanted to sock it to her👿
She knew that I had a child with Autism, so she could have been a little more sensitive, I thought. What made it worse was that she did not even realise her faux pas…so, I did not even get an apology !
I could have created a scene and called her out, but sometimes one has to preserve social niceties! So, I acted all mature, smiled politely and moved on. Life has taught me to choose my battles, so I let the matter be.
Her comment made me introspect, and it struck me that, this is probably the harsh reality. Teaching as a profession is not respected enough; majority of the teachers view it as a mundane job. Very few are passionate about the craft of teaching !!! So, these teachers view children who are struggling with things in school as irritants because they have to put in much more efforts than usual.
In my opinion, a good teacher is someone who can make a subject come alive, not only for the the toppers, but also for the kids who probably are struggling with it. Motivating a child who is scoring 80% in Math to score 90% is easy. A good teacher’s craft comes into play when he/she can motivate a child who is scoring 50% to score a 60% by making him/her fall in love with the subject.
Growing up, I had an English teacher, Mrs Dinshaw, who taught us Julius Caesar. It was not easy for me, all of just 13 years, to understand Shakespearean language yet. Mrs Dinshaw made it come alive with role plays and movies till the entire class knew Julius Caesar like the back of their hand. I could probably recite passages from it in my sleep. Even today, I recollect bits of Mark Antony’s famous speech! That was some kickass teaching, and sadly it has become a rarity today.
When we lived in Delhi, Dhruv was blessed to have wonderful teachers. They all were genuine and cared for him, and did their best to teach him in a way he understood. When we were leaving Delhi, some hugged me and cried when I went to say bye; some gave him gifts.
The incident that I narrated in the beginning happened shortly after we moved to Bengaluru last year, and Dhruv had just joined a new school. The lady made me wonder, is this how his new teachers would view him? How many would be sensitive and try to understand him ? I looked at Dhruv and realised the world is cruel, and I can only hope to make him resilient enough to survive in this society.
If you are a teacher, please be sensitive to and appreciative of all children, not just the ones who win competitions and bring home the trophies.
Lastly, have the sensitivity not to tell a mom with a special-needs child who is anyways worried that you are happy you don’t have special-needs kids in your class !
Disclaimer:- This is a personal blog and the views expressed are my personal thoughts and are not meant to offend anyone’s beliefs and sensibilities.