Yes, school is technically the place where students come to learn. But some of the most important lessons are taught by kids!
Here are some of the profound lessons our Teach For India Fellows have been taught by their amazing students!
Children ask questions that sometimes leave us stumped. They aren’t afraid or embarrassed to go beyond what they’re told. Their inquisitive minds make you realize that driving independent thought is important, and we should all question things more.
Children never limit themselves. They can dream of being a pilot, astronaut, architect and professional football player all at once, and work towards it without doubting themselves. It would do us all good to chase our passions the way they do!
Children aren’t afraid to open up. They might bawl their eyes out in the middle of class because that’s what they’re feeling at that moment. We adults carefully assess the situation before showing emotion and often bottle up anger, sorrow, or fear. Children teach you that there is no shame in expression, it’s what makes us human.
You might be teaching while it’s pouring outside and even though your students love the topic they might be staring outside the window. Stop what you’re doing and give them a few minutes to do nothing but watch the rain fall. For those few moments, you’ll look out too, and be fascinated by something so simple. Children make you realize that you need to stop and smell the roses once in a while, otherwise you’ll miss out on so much!
A child could take what seems like forever to fully grasp a concept. That doesn’t mean you repeat the same explanation to them ten times! It means you find different ways to help them understand. And they still might not! It may seem frustrating at first, but the process cultivates patience. You learn that each child works, thinks and acts in a different way, and you’ll become a better teacher – a better person – for it!
At Teach For India, Fellows are tasked with creating trackers for their students – measuring not just academic performance, but also value and personal development. These are visual representations of how a child can go through numerous ups and downs, have diverse shortcomings and strengths, and yet progress towards their full potential. It makes you realize that if you fall, literally or figuratively, you should do what a child does – pick yourself up and dust yourself off.
In a classroom, there are naughty kids who create a ruckus and quiet ones who never speak up. There are kids who always raise their hands to answer, and some who speak out of turn. There are straight-A students and some who need more guidance than the rest. You’ll learn to love each one of them equally. You’ll recognize that no matter how different they are from you or each other, there’s something special in everyone!
Applications for the 2018-2020, Teach For India Fellowship program are now open. Please visit apply.teachforindia.org to submit your application by October 29, 2017.