One doesn’t always learn from books; some people don’t even like reading! Our primary way to learn is from our experiences. One such priceless experience happened with me recently.
A few weeks ago, my fate took such a turn, that I landed up in a kindergarten as a temporary teacher with no prior experience. My only relevant credentials were that many people, including my family members, close friends and younger people have told me in the past that I am a good teacher and I should seriously consider pursuing it.
Considering my zero experience in the field, I wasn’t assigned direct responsibility of any class of students. I was to merely assist the teachers with the daily work, like checking notebooks and giving exams. Sometimes, I would be assigned some of the lesser interested students a.k.a “weaker” students, where I would personally help them learn and cope up with the class work better.
Within a month my experiences with the children changed my outlook towards them forever. In order to share the same, I would like to share with you two noteworthy anecdotes.
So one morning, a three year old girl, lets call her, Tia, stated to cry unstoppably. It was most shocking for me because she is the quietest girl in the class who always aces her exams and all class work and assignments. And I, on the other hand, cannot bear to see someone cry, especially a tiny beautiful girl like her. I immediately started trying to calm her. I made her drink some water and rubber her back and said some comforting words, she calmed down a bit but she continued to cry silently. Trust me, by now my heart was literally aching. But before I could do anything else, another three year old girl, her classmate, lets call her Pia, came to Tia, held her hand, wiped her tears, and said, “please don’t cry” and to my utter surprise, she immediately stopped crying. And they left smiling hand in hand. Even till this date I don’t know why Tia was crying, but every morning I see Tia and Pia holding hands and playing, which by the way, they never did before that incident. They are inseparable. This incident taught me how simple and unadulterated love and friendship is, and how we complicate it as adults.
Contrastingly, a few days later another rather terrorizing incident occurred. So here is what happened- it was a bright sunny day and the children where practicing writing English alphabets. As usual in every class, there are a few students who are intelligent but moody; and that particular day, for whatever reason one girl, lets call her Rita, wasn’t writing properly and as soon as her class teacher discovered that, she slapped her about ten times for being lazy. And although I was right there, I couldn’t do a thing but stand and watch that heinous incident petrified. My childhood ordeal came back to me. I wanted to undo everything, but I couldn’t! But thence on, I made sure that she reports to me to get her classwork and homework checked. A few days later, a boy from the same class, let’s call him Dave, was punished at the assembly for pushing and hitting his classmate. It was not very difficult for me to discern from where he was learning these things.
Aren’t we adults paradoxical? We as adults practice questionable things and once these impressionable children pick that us from us, we in turn punish them for it.
I have often heard movie lines saying “I don’t teach kids, I go to learn from them.” And I always thought that to be a phoney line. But these two incidents taught me that it’s true; children are born with love in their heart and they are very intelligent, it is us adults who in the pretext of education, in so called educational institutes, instil immorality in them.
My only question is, what if Dave grows up to accept violence as normalcy? Can he unlearn things that he learnt at school and at home?
I would also like to share an excerpt from one of my favourite books, ‘The Idiot’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky- “I was always astonished at how wrong adults were about children, mothers and fathers included. Nothing must be concealed from children under the pretext that they are too small to be told. What an unfortunate and wretched idea! … The grown-ups don’t realize that even when faced with the most difficult problems, a child may make a very important contribution. … rather than being able to teach them anything, they could teach us.”
PS: Dear Teachers, Please don’t be just another brick in the wall!
The views expressed above are of the author’s only, and are the simplified (not oversimplified) versions of the numerous incidents that occurred. So different opinions, your thoughts and experiences are welcome 🙂
I urge you to share share this thought provoking post with your family and friends.