The word ‘educator’ brings images of hundreds of thousands of children growing and learning with their teachers. An educator has huge social and moral responsibility. She is a mixture of various roles and personalities like of a mother, a guide, a visionary, a friend, and sometimes an elder brother or sister.
As I read and think about great teachers like Aurobindo, the Mother, Tagore, Gandhi and Krishnamurti, I try to imagine how much hard work, especially on the self, is needed for one to become a teacher. An educator first knows herself, seeks how she learns in different phases of life, dwells on what constitutes learning and teaching, what is knowledge, and the various ‘how’s and ‘why’s of education. It seems to require a lot to be a teacher. I can say that to be like an educator is almost like being a yogi.
On one hand, becoming an educator is my aspiration. It comes from an inner wish, an inner voice that tells me to do something for the joyful and true learning of children. I like to be surrounded by a lot of children and interact with them. But as I mentioned earlier, being a teacher is an enormous responsibility. I carry a fear whether I will be able to do justice to that responsibility. Since we are all products of our conditioning, we often behave in ways that we have learned in our childhood and what we see around us. Will I be able to undo the effect of such conditioning? Will I be able to unlearn old practices so I can open up to a more integrated approach to learning? Will I be able to carry with me a flexible mind?
There are many more fears. Being a teacher will require full alertness and persistent patience to listen to each child. I fear that some of my words or behaviour may damage the child’s feelings or self-esteem. I fear that I might not be able to give them sufficient freedom and opportunity to explore, make mistakes and learn thereafter. I fear whether I’ll be able to connect their previous learnings to their immediate environment, providing them with relevant contexts or prepare a conducive environment for learning with safety, love and care where they can construct their own knowledge.
Krishnamurti has said that comparing a dull student to a cleverer one is cruelty. In my own school experiences, comparison was rampant. But according to Krishnamurti, this only causes fear in students. It is the barrier to a clear understanding of oneself and life.
I have started on this journey with a lot of hopes, with courage and determination. Fears exist but I am ready to face them and turn the shortcomings into opportunities of learning. With an attitude of a lifelong learner, I hope and strongly believe that I will be able to put effort and succeed.
With the help of this programme and my mentors, I hope to learn all the things which will help me to become a good teacher. I hope that I learn to see learning in its wholesomeness. I feel that integrated learning is required for the complete growth and development of a child, not its division in fragments and individual subjects. I hope that, as a teacher, I can create and maintain the curiosity of children to enquire and learn joyfully.
All in all, I hope I can become an educator who can touch the lives of my children in positive, constructive way.
Meenakshi is a student of PGDLT at IAAT