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..said Varun about his English teacher Smita. Varun was in sixth grade when he switched from a Hindi medium school to an English medium after his father moved from a small town to a bigger city in order to provide a better life to his family.
It was Smita who noticed Varun meekly sitting in a corner in the class on the first day in his new school. He was a quiet young boy not participating in any of the class activities. Smita called him to the staff room in the recess and had a one on one conversation with him. That’s when she came to know that this was a completely new environment for him English being his biggest fear. Smita saw something in his promising eyes and decided to help him learn English and get him adapted to the new environment quickly.
She started an extra class in the zero period and slowly the strength increased in the class. More students came out of their shells and expressed their desire to make English their strongpoint. Smita used multiple ways to make this a fun class. She used a mix of traditional and modern learning approaches. She started with flashcards containing a picture and a corresponding word gradually progressing to picture and short sentences. First five minutes of the class were devoted to newspaper reading. She also encouraged her students to listen to English audios. She would take time to make test worksheets for this class in spite of being overburdened by the tasks of making the test papers for the other classes. But her students’ growing grasp of the English language motivated her to take that extra step. Once the students were confident about their basics, she moved onto the different activities like roleplay, book reading, elocution. She is the one who introduced Scrabble tournament in her school.
A better understanding of the English language not only boosted the confidence of her students but also helped them gain a better understanding of the other subjects.
“She is no less than a mother to me”, said Varun about his English teacher Smita on looking at his class twelfth results a few days back and couldn’t thank her enough for shaping his life. His life would have taken a complete different direction had Smita not taken the initiative and helped him fight his fear for the English language. He would have lost interest in studies, in the new school, might have fallen into bad company and would have resulted in a different human being than what he is today.
Dedicated teachers like Smita are no less than mothers to students like Varun. They sincerely put all their time and effort to shape the lives of their students. They go out of their way to find easy and fun learning approaches in order to help their students fight their fears of trigonometry or the chemical reactions or the Newton’s laws.
“I am a teacher born and bred, and I believe in the advocacy of teachers. It's a calling. We want our students to feel impassioned and empowered.” - Erin Gruwell
Teachers are themselves busy mothers, wives, daughters, daughter-in-laws, have a whole lot of things to take care of at the personal front but every morning they come with the same zeal and enthusiasm to teach their students a new lesson, sometimes a new lesson of life for students like Varun.
“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” - Carl Jung
(This article is a heartfelt thanks to my mother who is a teacher and I know she has beautifully shaped many lives including mine with her warmth and understanding. Also, a sincere thanks to all my wonderful teachers who have always treated their students as their own children)