By Deepan Ramesh:
Throughout my life, I have been inspired by English teachers. The stories they tell and the way they talk about life in general and the experiences of some of the English teachers who taught me have resonated with me for a long time.
Yet, it was thinking about one of the teachers I ‘hated’ that I realised what I really wanted to do in my life. Thinking about this particular teacher, I figured that I did not hate him as a person. It was the teacher part of him I had an issue with and that wasn’t his fault – he became the man who would relentlessly talk for a whole hour, scold us for just looking out the window and give us ridiculous amounts of homework not knowing that we had a pile of other things to do and focus on, because of the system of education we follow.
Even today, the education system continues to treat students as products, instead of as people. Consequently, there’s a thick line that can be traced between what we learn in school and the skills we need outside of it. The pressing need to erase this line by changing the way young people are taught became the foundation upon which I built my aspirations.
My desire is to be a good teacher who inspires students to become better versions of themselves. But it goes beyond this. I hope to play a part in creating an education system where more importance is given to the personal development of a child, rather than placing importance on a child’s ability to memorise words and repeat them on paper.
Through this, I want to help effect a change that meets my other goal – changing perspectives for more environment positivity, particularly shifting attitudes of people who consider electric vehicles to be inferior to those run on petrol. At a time when pollution has become a global crisis, we need to realise that a leading cause is ever-increasing usage of vehicles, after all. There is really no use in planting a tree in your college, when you burn petrol on your bike when you go back home!
As followers, most of us in the general public buy these vehicles without even thinking about the harm we’re causing. Even among those of us who know of the repercussions, there’s hesitation to buy electric vehicles for financial reasons. Yet, companies like Tesla and Renault are proving everyone that electric vehicles can be good looking and practical and far better than petrol cars in every aspect.
Through my work with the NSS chapter in my college, I had the good fortune of beginning to teach young people in a government school. This initial foray into the world of education taught me just how hard it is to grab every student’s attention and how much harder it is to shape minds and modify beliefs and behaviours. Challenging as it is, the experience of teaching only fuels my desire to spread good ideas among young people.
Last year, I was among the twelve young candidates selected for the National Youth Parliament organised by UN Volunteers with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The experience taught me a valuable lesson that I’m sure will take my career as a teacher forward in more ways than one. The experience of listening to diverse perspectives and exchanging ideas and engaging in discussion with other young people opened my eyes to the fact that in a country ridden with so many issues, the best ideas can come from places that we least expect.
It taught me to keep my ears open and listen, not just to respond but to understand and reflect upon other people’s opinions. Because we can learn something from everyone. After all, a degree isn’t what you need to be a teacher. It’s knowledge.
About the author: Deepan is 18 years of age and currently in his second year of bachelor’s in English. He is from Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, where according to him education is about rote learning. He plans on becoming a professor, and his goal in life is to become a part of the education system and start changing it from within.