Open House opened my eyes…….. The occasion was the Open House at the school where a parent (read, the mother) was expected to be present to discuss her child’s progress. Sitting there in the classroom, waiting for my turn, I couldn’t help but allow myself to get passively drawn into the lively discussions of the two parties – teacher and the parent. And I got a peek into a vast world, a world undiscovered till the other day.
Here I was, confident with the knowledge that I knew my children better than the back of my hand, and there she was, the teacher, who had mastered the art of getting to know every child of her class in the short period of two months since the new session had begun – and this, year after year, batch after batch! For the mother, it was a discussion about her child alone.
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For the teacher, it was a discussion on all of her children – her students – her world for eight hours a day, everyday. She was the architect designing buildings, each building belonging to a different person. She was like a superwoman with magical powers that allowed her to store details of each child meticulously, complete with strengths and weaknesses, areas they showed promise in, and areas where they could do with a little improvement. I marveled at the way she did a quick matching of each child with those carefully stored details, reeling out with perfect ease the statistics to each mother.
A boy’s obsession with drawing not allowing him to concentrate on the lessons was reported along with his enthusiasm for mental activities. Her eye for details helped her see a girl had enough intelligence but not sufficient confidence to volunteer for answers to tricky questions. She was quick to trace a boy’s aggression to a strict regime at his home that kept him away from music where his heart lay. Then again, in today’s world only loud voices are heard and so a few girls had to shed off their shyness.
The shy boy who hangs around with only a few has to be brought out of his shell to help him merge with the rest. All this done with love and skill. As the teacher familiarizes her pupils with nature and environment and languages, she does the multi-tasking of observing each child, controlling, rating, accepting and then working with each to help one emerge out better and stronger – indeed a major feat. Each child is unique and needs unique handling. With a batch of forty (sometimes more), no doubt the entire process becomes more challenging.
Throw in here highly ambitious mothers with highly capable children bursting with numerous questions, fussy mothers who want their children to participate in every function the school hosts, paranoid mothers who think their daughters are always the targets of mischievous boys playing endless pranks and the drama gets even more interesting. But the teacher knows each is a diamond that has to be polished.
Is it a wonder that the teacher is more exhausted than the software programmer churning out yarns of code from morning till evening? Acknowledging the effort the teacher puts in, gently reminding the child about it during dinner, according respect to the architects of the nation – well, it all begins with the parents. It’s like a river. Once it commences its flow, it just has to go on, and it flows through the child and reaches the teacher. A teacher’s life is not so rosy as it’s made out to be. Living up to the expectations of hungry students and their ambitious parents, today’s teacher highly deserves the respect accorded to professionals from elite streams. Let us hope we, the parents, can give it. The children can follow.
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