The learner in me nurtures the teacher

Seema S Nayar

If change is the only constant, an individual must be ever evolving and dynamic. What better way to bring that change in you than to have a journey of small and big learnings. When I look back at this journey called life, I realize that the learnings came from many teachers. The best teacher I had was my maternal grandmother. There was something special and authentic about everything she did. The way she cooked her food, organized her day, kept an account book where every paisa was accounted for, managed a few cattle and generated additional revenue while working as a professor. Growing up, these were daily routines that you observed, but it influenced the subconscious mind of a child. Today I can analyze and understand those experiences. Those learnings never left me.

As kids we (three siblings) were given chores every evening in the garden and backyard, to care for the plants and do the weeding. More than the task, the flowers, the leaves, the bugs and the sheer variety in nature would mesmerize me and hours would fly away like minutes. There is no better teacher than nature itself. I feel sad for today’s kids that they have to experience nature when they go for a trip or camp. We grew up in the lap of nature. My future choices of learning were influenced by the seeds sown when young.

During the years as a teacher from primary to higher secondary classrooms, I learned more than I taught. I particularly remember the student who pointed out the pronunciation of ‘Incisors’. I learned from my teachers and said it more like ‘in-scissors’ until a kid pointed out the right way. Open-mindedness and acceptance that students are on the journey of learning along with you, will make you more knowledgeable than redundant. Today’s kids are growing up in a fast paced technology-driven world. They have more information than we did. If a teacher today thinks she knows it all and is here to download her vast knowledge, she will often be surprised to know that kids are more aware of certain topics, especially of their interest.

More than the routine classes and practices, which are essential, the peak of learning happens on the days of events. There is no individual who would not remember an annual day or sports day. What makes the events so special is the experience of managing yourself, your team, planning, practicing, executing and delivering an excellent show. The best of hard work, without the deterrent of marks and results come out on those days. These days offer a wealth of learning opportunities. You learn to get along with the young and adults, your classmates and seniors, manage time, materials, follow instruction – all round development in true sense!

I look forward to learning something new every day from anyone or anywhere. There is a teacher in each one of you. Borrow that learning and pass it on! In the journey of life so far, I have believed and seen that when your heart desires and you have the determination in your mind, the way to your goals opens up on its own. I believe the whole world plots for you and you just have to keep your senses open to not miss the opportunity and go through life…blind!

The author is principal, Vibgyor High, Bengaluru. She is a passionate educationist who loves to work with start-up schools, mentor new teams and experiment with new methodologies. She can be reached at

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