Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur
This is a letter not from us, but from your students, it requires a response from you to them. We are confident that children would like to hear from you. We are excited that there is always a possibility of converting our classroom into a room-of-class. In the form of some questions and ideas, this letter just has sparks, which you can use to light up your own fires. The idea is to burn out what is not needed and bake, grill and deep fry our children’s actual potential. Happy cooking.
Why do you teach? No, we are not asking what motivates you, rather questioning your basic premise that we need to be taught. What will happen if you give up this belief and give us the right and might to learn by ourselves?
What if you were just there somewhere in the classroom – available as a resource – if we happened to need some guidance?
What if when we do come to you for guidance you refuse to offer it? Rather you show us the immense resource we have inside us.
What if when we were to beg you to teach us you point us to peers who can do an equally amazing job of teaching? What if when we are totally lost – you also get lost (from the room)? Left high and dry, we will then push ourselves to further create what we will need all our lives – abilities – to solve, to ideate, to understand, to assimilate, to correlate, to beat ourselves.
What if we give up and that is the occasion you do not give up on us? You hit us back: you do not make it easy for us, you make it more exciting for us. You bring in more ingredients, you add new twists to the tale and yes, you twist our tails too.
What if you make us accountable – not just to ourselves – but to the whole class? All ensuring that all have learned whatever was there to be learned. And more!
Why do you sweat? No, we are not talking about your secretion glands, rather questioning your approach – you take your job too seriously. What will happen if you give up this pedestal and step down and join us? Accept us as colleagues?
The authors run an open unschool called Aarohi and invite all readers to visit and see how open learning can be an amazing way to work with children. They also conduct training retreats and online training for teachers and parents. Visit www.aarohilife.org.