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Thursday, January 5, 2012

On Teaching

As a new teacher, the first I noticed about my students  were the areas that needed improvement, and started thinking of strategies to make them learn and stop misbehaving. Later, I started knowing more about them, their family background: that they long for their father who had to be a away from home to give them a good life, how they get scared when their parents fight and throw things at each other. I learned that one had had been terribly scolded by a teacher when she was small so that she hated school since then and is now struggling to graduate. When you start discovering their stories, you stand back with your hands more relaxed, letting go of the bag of tricks you have in mind to make them meet your expectations. You now divert your anger with them for misbheaving to their teachers who “misbehaved” by humiliating them and made them stop believing in themselves. To try to make kids fit in the standards of society is just one thing about education – but having an eye towards the best persons they could possibly is everything about it, for there is no single prototype of greatness that we could mold them in. Teachers after all are not police officers – they are educators. We must therefore meet them where they are – family problems, traumas, fears, hesitations, tantrums and all. We could make our students pick up the pieces of paper on the floor, arrange the chairs, erase the writings on the board, greet teachers when they see them but if we have failed to see them where their heart is (that is perhaps dying for attention and acceptance), and missed to make them realize their potential and help them work through their weaknesses, then for the long term, we have failed as teachers.

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