Playing the role, for real

Mini Alex joined Vidyaranya in 2002. She is an avid reader and makes full use of the library in the school. Mini also loves baking and gardening. She often bakes lip smacking delicacies for her family and colleagues. Of late, she has developed a keen interest in yoga and practices it regularly.

It is a little over 11 years since I began my life as a teacher. Like most teachers at Vidyaranya the teaching profession came free with my child’s admission into the school. To be frank, when I was offered the job at Vidyaranya, I was really scared and apprehensive, but accepted it since I wanted my child to join this school.

After accepting the offer, I spoke to friends and relatives who were teachers in other schools. I was quite taken aback by what they had to say. They told me about lesson plans, reports, and numbers about which I had no clue at all. If a lesson is given to me I could make it simple and interesting for my child and this I thought was enough to be a teacher. So it was with a lot of reticence that I walked into this profession. In my wildest dreams I had never thought I would one day be a teacher.

As the days went by, I realized I didn’t have to make lesson plans or associate children with numbers. Life as a teacher was more or less what I had imagined it would be. Gradually, I started settling in. I remember Shantamma (Founder, Vidyaranya School) once telling me, “If you are a good mother then you are a good teacher.” It seemed very simple to begin with, but that is when I realized being a mother was not at all an easy task, and here we are talking about ‘good mothers’.

Initially, I simply played out the mother’s role in school as well, but as time passed I realized that the roles of the mother and the teacher may have similarities but they are not the same. Eleven years later, I still don’t know if I have attained the right balance. They say life is all about trying and I still keep trying.

I do not know if the teaching profession has more lessons to offer than any other profession, but since I became a teacher, I have learnt a lot of lessons. Talks I have had with Shantamma have been especially enriching and certain things she said have left an indelible mark on my psyche.

Being a teacher you can get an insight into a variety of family situations and you can analyze them and learn from them to enrich your family life, especially as a mother.

As a teacher in this school, I have also been exposed to different art forms, music, musicians, and talks by eminent persons. My own knowledge has grown immensely because of this.

I feel privileged to be a teacher at Vidyaranya. I am free to give shape and form to my ideas and am left to myself to do my job to the best of my abilities. All in all, so far it has been a very pleasant and enriching experience at Vidyaranya – where both teachers and students meander through the forest of knowledge in the quest for improvement day after day.