A LETTER TO AN ASPIRING TEACHER
Dear Aspiring Teacher, I am so glad that you aspire to enter into a profession that many don’t. Teachers often just come into teaching, whether or not it is their calling. Now that you have this ambition, how about reflecting on its genesis, along with those very reasons that bring you into teaching.
While you search for all the ‘whys’, try to go back to your childhood memories, your initial journey into your formal and informal education. Do those memories bring you happiness, or do they make you restless? Put down your answers because these will help you decide what kind of teacher you want to be. Were you nurtured with love and care, were you stopped from exploring the world around you, were you shown disgust for messing your clothes when you played your heart out? How many instances do you recollect of adults telling you ‘NO’ for something or the other? Did you have the freedom to let your emotions out, or were you always expected to have a happy face? How many times did your parents want you to recite a poem in front of strangers? What were your feelings then? Were you just a face in your teacher’s classroom, or were you hand-held to blossom? What were your feelings like in the mornings: were you excited to go to school, or did it look like just another day in the year? Were you allowed to fill your choice of colours when you had just started to draw or were you forced to draw an apple – always red? Did anybody spend time to chat with you, to read out stories to you? Were people around you bothered about what you felt, what you liked, your fears, what made you angry, what made you sad?
As you start reflecting, shift your focus now to your teen years. How often were you trusted for your decisions, or even allowed to make decisions? Were you spending valuable time with your parents, were you sounding rebellious, or were you enjoying every moment of your schooling? When you made any mistake, how were you treated? Were you under any pressure of performing, be it from family or peers, in academics or something else? Did you have people around you who took you seriously? Did the idea of schooling instill hope in you, or was it of no consequence at all?
When you stepped into adulthood, were you able to make some sense of who you are and your purpose in life? At this point, what are your assumptions about children and education at large? Do you think children under your care will feel safe, challenged, and capable and will they be able to believe in themselves?
What is your preparation, as you plan to plunge into the daunting task of nurturing children? Twenty years from now, when these children will look back, what is the picture that you think they will have of you?
Remember to just sit and observe children, as you move on to teach them. What they do will tell you what you should do with them – or actually, what you shouldn’t. They have an immense power to transform you and make you a person worthy of being called a “teacher”.
Regards and Best Wishes,