I was given the responsibility of teaching science to class X students. This was the first time I was handling older kids and I was only in my third year as a teacher. Towards the end of the academic year, I had a life-changing experience. My students and I were working together to complete the science practical journal. Despite many reminders and the help I offered them, my students were lagging behind. The date for the submission of the journal and the final exam was nearing. We still had a lot of syllabus to complete. I couldn’t afford to give them more time to finish their science journal.
One fine day, I really got exasperated. I made almost half the class sit and work on the journal. I took the rest of the students (who had done some work on the journal) to another class to continue our lesson.
As we settled down for the class, one of the girls asked me, “Bhaiya, why do you always come to the class with a grumpy and serious face?” I was shocked to hear this, but acknowledged her words and continued my class. That night I couldn’t sleep well; my student’s words kept coming back to me. The next day, I sat down to reflect. I first reflected upon my own school days and asked myself: ‘What kind of teacher would I like the most – the joyful one or the grumpy/serious one? To my surprise I couldn’t recollect any teacher who was grumpy or serious. All my teachers were pleasant and welcoming. Even under high pressure they used to handle the situation smiling and with calm. This reflection was followed by a thought: ‘What kind of a teacher would I like to be: grumpy/serious or joyful?’ The answer was simple and straightforward. Of course, joyful! Who likes to be grumpy all the time? It took some time to change myself.
Since then, the transformation has been going on. I also found that when I go to the class with a joyful and positive demeanour, it changes the environment of the class. Since then, I am always alert to the way I behave, the words I use and my actions. My heartfelt gratitude to the student as well as to the institute where such mistakes are allowed as part of learning!
The author is an educator. He has worked in Mirambika. He is currently part of a learning community, ‘Anahad’ near Hyderabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.