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Anubha Yadav - A Student of Teaching

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A Student of Teaching

Posted on 05 Sep 2012 in ATM- All Time Musings, Being a teacher, Features/Unpublished, Kamala Nehru College, Opinion/Current Affairs, September 5, teacher, Teacher's day, Urban Turban | 0 comments

Teaching was supposed to be a transit career for me. A place where we wait, chat with strangers, sit to read a book, have a relaxed cup of tea- till it is time to board a flight again- for home this time. After seven wonderful years I am still in transit. The cup of tea, it turned out gives me a kick like nothing else does, the flight stopped at a place full of adventure- a place you can’t leave without a longer stay.
I love this place where I reached just by accident. 

I have never been taught by this- ‘TO Sir, with Love’- Mr. Braithwaite, kind of teacher. I struggled and fought with a lot of teachers who were at times partisan and at other times indifferent to get opportunities, to do things I really wanted to do in school. Perhaps that is why I do not believe in people as idols, instead I have always put more trust in ideas. And that is what I enjoy most about my profession even today. I enter a classroom every day to meet people with ideas, who make me think, who question, and thus make me question. No metaphor can describe the energy of an undergraduate classroom. They dream with or without reason, and at most times achieve them with no logistical support.

We all know, a teacher is not someone we meet in a classroom alone. Even if we don’t see or acknowledge our other teachers, we are taught by them every day of our life- now also on fb & twitter. My sister advises strangers she has just met on the road to become teachers, but only when they prove their ability by explaining a complicated address: clearly, coherently and patiently. She says: ‘Apko teacher banana chahiye, aap ache se samjhaten hain.’ Every time she says it, I wonder on what makes a good teacher?

Becoming a good teacher is a process; like becoming a good human being or being able to do anything well is. You achieve it slowly over time with introspection. The challenge emerges from the fact that a student can never mark you in red ink, or you do not have a boss who talks to you in a glass cubicle and delicately tells your mistakes amidst small talk. In short, in teaching, no tangible profits are made or losses accrued if you don’t try to do better at your job. But of-course you batter confidence of many, create generations of marginalized human beings who do not believe in justice, and thus contribute to the making of a more unequal world. 

Good teachers are of one kind, but there are two kinds of bad teachers– A teacher who has exceptional control over the subject but still has a long way to go as a human being. And the other who does not know the subject too well, but has a doctoral in values. It is needless to say that a good teacher should have both these aspects. But if I am forced to choose between the two bad teachers, then, I would choose the latter. A classroom has to be emotionally and psychologically safe first, and then only can it be intellectually challenging. A teacher who does not know basic human values makes batch after batch, i.e. generations of students calm and accepting of injustice, inequality etc.

Most good teachers have to take various roles despite pressures and compulsions put by the system, apart from being a teacher most are also playing- a stubborn child who refuses to accept a lazily done assignment, a nagging partner who pushes you to perform to your ability, a friend who can listen, a giggly teenager who can use your lingo when all other languages have failed, and of course, on occasions a surrogate parent.

Teachers are the parachutes of a crashing plane called -‘Happy family’- this family could denote- the family itself, a community, a district, a state or a nation. When all is failing a safe landing is ensured by this parachute. A good teacher fails with the students many a times, at maths, physics and hindi, but a bad teacher fails at teaching life. And that is when the plane crashes.

If you are reading this article anywhere else
besides http://www.anubhayadav.com/
then this article has been shamefully stolen!

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