The Unconscious Hope
Every day when I wake up I find myself torn between the world I live in and the one I just left, my dream. This is not because I am lazy but because of what I have to see when I get to my class. Tiny minds being moulded by atrocity and mediocre expectations. The only thing that keeps me going is my hope of bringing in that change. I did not see that hope, let alone belief in any of the students I have.
Education is a very tricky concept. Where do we draw the line? Is it education if a child chooses to start a business instead of continuing school? Is it education if a child can score well in class and perform well in sports? As far as my understanding goes, it is something that changes the way you live even if it is in the most tiniest of ways. Now this goes beyond the classroom, beyond teachers and schools. It captures every aspect of life itself. Hence, a child’s development does not limit itself to his/her school and home. And as a human being, nobody can change all parts of the child’s life in order to provide an excellent education.
But what is it all leading to? In a society such as ours, what is an “educated” child doing? What are his/her opportunities? Does his/her life really change? A student who is “well-educated” is still found on the streets. Unemployment is staring at us point blank, under-employment even more so. Then what was the point of all that the child was made to go through for almost two decades of student life? Some students and parents see this. They realize that whatever the child does, at the end of it all, the goal is to land up with a decent paying job which can sustain life. Very few have high expectations or hopes.
All of this makes me question my methods, my skills, the baton that I’m passing down. There is no reason why my students should be invested in my class and value all the different things I teach them. They can just emulate the ones they see survive in this society and get away with it. They know it in their skin that all of this is just to get that sustainable job and if they get it right now, then they will leave this life. How do I build the culture of higher achievement? On a completely different note, I was trying a new way to bring these students to understand the need for living together in peace. The plan was to take photographs of each student and put it up on the walls with their goals attached. This way, they can see it up front on where they have to get and who they have to work with.
While I was clicking photos, I asked them laugh and not just smile. I found to my surprise, that many of them wanted to do something more, make funny faces. Though I hadn’t captured all the students, it suddenly hit me like a bolt of lightning. I have been seeing it all wrong. In their laughs and funny faces I saw hope. I saw the difference between what they were and what they wanted to be. They would pose only till I clicked. Later, it was back to their old self. It was very clear to me that even though they struggle to read basic English, even though they see the world as a really weird place, they hope to reach a place of bliss. This hope cannot be asked for, it cannot be seen every day or sensed by someone easily. It rests somewhere deep down in their minds where it is waiting to be seen, heard, believed and actualized! The photos below are of just some of these students who can change a lot of things.
I take it upon myself to make sure to bring this hope to the forefront and help them enable them to realize it!