I am not a mechanical engineer, but I am creating another set of machines. I am a teacher!
I am not a mechanical engineer, and yet I am creating another set of machines. I am a teacher!
I start my day with the favourite tag line I learnt through some trainings and online videos-“I want you to do XYZ“. Oh well! Who am I to want from someone to do something however sensical that may sound to me? How would I react if I hear anybody- anybody at all – teachers, parents, friends- telling me continuously right from start of day to the end of it, “I want you to do this, do that, look up here, look down there, stand up, sit down, go pee, start writing, close your eyes, open them up and blah-blah ?” Does that sound weird to anyone else as well out there? I wonder!
The other morning I heard my neighbour helping her toddler (a child whose age is less than 3 years) recite a poem, given by the newbie’s Kindergarten teachers, about loving your parents, friends, family and etc. Well, isn’t that a choice a child should make on his own when he grows up? Who am I to tell him/her that love me because I am your somebody? And on top of everything, preparing a three year old to pass a test, to please his teachers or your friends and relatives (apparently), is so far the most nonsensical thing that I have ever witnessed, I thought!
However, on thinking harder, I realized that age is just a number, and I probably am doing the same or worse in my classroom already. Some of my students, even though they have crossed the first daring decade of their lives, are still a kid at their hearts. They are not ready to digest the complicated history lessons, depicting hierarchies of the Mughals who did no good to our country, but ruined and ruled for centuries and exploited everything to its core! I want them to write answer for “where are deciduous temperate evergreen forests found on earth”. Really??? The fact is that the complex political boundaries of the world map, the imaginary lines on the globe, and the difference between the tropical or temperate make no difference in their life, not today, nor will it do ever! But I want them to do that, and I want them to do that well: the correct spellings, punctuations, grammar, diagrams etc, along with anything if at all they know about the subject matter.
I want my students to win the [senseless] race – of marks, prestige, grades, and so on. I encourage them to raise hands – judging their ability to think (read answer), based on their willingness to share, by raising hands… Really? “Oh well, so I know the answer, or probably I am thinking something inside my head, but I don’t want to share with you, in a large classroom of 70-80 students” seems completely justified an attitude from a girl of 11, who has been told by her parents not to raise the volume of her voice as it might hurt her chances of getting married to a right guy! (Nevertheless, that issue is so prodigious that we may require another long post or probably a book to deserve its worth) And I judge the students’ achievement by their opening up and blabbering in a system like that?
I make assessments, and I administer them, and I upload them. And I do all this to prove my own ability to being a wonderful, world-class teacher. Who on earth would want to project himself/herself a fool, a loser? I know the moment I say this, the integrity of all teachers is on stake. Well, however rude that may sound, but the system is designed in a way that it contains a pointer reference error. In a sarkaari (government) school, a teacher showing results of her students’ performance that indirectly shows the result of her own performance as a teacher, is a serious example of conflict of interest, inherently floating around in the system, creating database of literacy rate, basing on which the policies are designed that are hardly able to address the pseudo ed-inequity gap that exists in the world (which by the way is too wide to be put on papers).
Sadly it’s not just the story of low-income or below-poverty-lines class. The so-called educated, in white collars, business-class crowd, too busy in its hectic work lives, struggling to meet the work-life balance itself, is too impervious to anything about its kids’ problems, let alone the country’s problems. The child is suffocating, in the pressure of grades, teacher’s complaints, parents’ expectations, peer’s performance and bullying, and so much more – just so you know…
The desperate, helpless, enslaved mothers [of my students] hold my hand every time they meet me, in anticipation of her daughter doing well for herself in life and me playing some role in that journey, expecting me to promise a good future of her daughter and proclaim “She is doing great in her studies”. I rush into my classrooom, as I am already 5 minutes late and that would kill my lesson-plan, expecting students to stand up and wish me ‘morning’ in one sound, open up their notebooks and follow my daily chants – How to become a slave of somebody’s thoughts.. How to kill your creativity and hate your childhood.. And so on.. Oh, and I just recall that I promised their mothers (only a while ago) to give their daughters a future – as they dearly call it!
Desperately caught-up in the system, a teacher