I remember the first day of my school when I entered the higher standard and started class by asking one question,
“What is the difference between an educated person and a knowledgeable person?”
My whole session went on this particular question and to be very frank, I wasn’t expecting any extraordinary answer. But, to my surprise, the responses which I was receiving were mostly from lower standard than the higher standard which was showing that their ability to think out of the box has been removed and they were among those talking puppets who were being manufactured to adjust in society.
I started teaching since the first year of college. At first, I was providing private classes, then I began teaching in “Balaji classes” for a few months. In 2018, when I graduated, I started teaching in the “Tiny star school”, with the help of supportive and cooperative faculty, where for the first two weeks I decided to be strict which had been very useful to me as everyone seemed to be quiet and focused. But I think they were just quite not focused because at the end of the class I was the one asking questions. This led me to ask them whether they understood the concept or not and like always they would just nod their head to yes but I knew somewhere they didn’t. I wanted them to clear their doubts, to ask questions, to express their thoughts, their views, and their opinions on a particular concept. But somewhere it was not happening.
So, now I tried to be friendly with them, although it helped me little to let them concentrate on the chapter, but now they were crossing the border or trying to fill the gap between a teacher and student. Which was not good, so now again I had to move back to be strict and aggressive which was quite the opposite of my method until I found the key of all the problems “Respect.”
Might seem the common word but believe me it is not common when it comes to students because they seem to like it more, than people that are above the 20s. Respect doesn’t mean to start calling them sir or giving them our places but in simple words to respect means to respect their ideas, their beliefs. It’s a known fact, people, no matter what or where their job lies or how good they are, they would not like to work if they are not respected. Thus even students won’t like to study if they are not respected. By respect, it means to listen to them.
When I started listening to them I realised that they do want to explore the world outside the books. But a machinery schedule they had to follow from morning till night was stopping them from doing that. And, whenever they got the time they would usually like to refresh themselves surfing on net rather than searching something they are interested in or something new. To make them interested in reading I started my class by telling Vikram Betaal stories and would leave them incomplete and began with a chapter, in the end, I used to tell the answer of it.
So when marginal utility ended they were now addicted to stories to learn something new. Now, they asked me to tell stories related to the chapter or related to history and I used to tell them facts of Great Kings and their conquest. I also started collecting few inspiring stories from current time to make them realize they are not running out of time among which the most inspiring one is Wang Enlin third grade-pass farmer who started studying for 16 years straight through dictionary when he was in his 50’s to sue the chemical firm whose chemical waste was affecting his farmland. He won at first round when he was being asked to back his claims.
“How do we learn? We learn with our heart, our blood and our tears.” – Wang Enlin
That day it wasn’t the students who only learned, I also realised why learning is meaningful. So, now when I enter in class the scenario is entirely different from what it used to be. Now, they are come up with the questions they surfed day before that class which is related to science, history, politics; Bermuda triangle, black hole, battle formation, Genghis Khan etc. Today I feel like it’s not me whose teaching them but one exploring with them in daily new experiences.