Time to teach!

Sneha Rawlani, Manika Khanna, Radhika Misquitta

Why is there never enough time for teachers to teach everything we want to, and for students to learn everything they need to?

Struggling to answer this age-old question, we set out to make more out of less. Those of us who have entered the battleground, also known as the classroom, have realized that teaching is much more than delivering content. A large part of teaching is the almighty skill of classroom management. From preventing two children seated at the far end of the class making faces at each other, to keeping them awake and engaged, to getting them to do as you ask – the list goes on. Of course, there’s also housekeeping – writing down homework, collecting worksheets, making sure everyone gets his/her stationery at the start of class and not five-minutes into the writing task, etc., etc. But even before any of this, we do a mental head count, tracking down stragglers who have just barely finished their lunch, or realized too little too late that they could really use the bathroom. Within the class too, we expend valuable time and energy ensuring students’ transition quickly from one activity to the next. And finally, we end on that note too – helping them transition to the next class in time.

Alongside these challenges that teaching inherently poses, we felt additional pressure to improve student learning outcomes given that we work with students with learning difficulties. We strive day to day and moment to moment to bridge the gap between where students are and where they need to be. In the same vein, the parents from our community too had been pressuring to increase academic rigour.

In the past, schools have attempted to address this issue by lengthening the school day and year, or by providing more time to academic classes. However, school administrators have questioned whether it is worth expending more resources to do so, as it has led to minimal increase in student outcomes. Given these findings and our context, we felt that before overhauling our existing structures, we should try and maximize on the time we already have.

Sneha Rawlani is a Counsellor, The Gateway School of Mumbai. srawlani@gatewayschoolmumbai.org
Manika Khanna is the Counselling Department Coordinator, and the Director of Admissions. mkhanna@gatewayschoolmumbai.org
Dr. Radhika Misquitta is the Director of Research and Outreach. rmisquitta@gatewayschoolmumbai.org

The authors were part of a Research and Development Team at The Gateway School of Mumbai – a non-profit school dedicated to serving students with learning challenges, located in Mumbai, India. Visit www.gatewayschoolmumbai.org for more information.

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