My mother is a primary school teacher and has been one for the better part of her life. Yesterday she came to me with an exercise book where one of her students had written a really nice poem on friends. She showed me how the nine-year-old boy had identified some similar sounding words to be used, and on the next page he had written almost a twelve-line poem, perfectly rhyming. It knocked my socks off. My mother was ecstatic.
She said the boy, H, had done it without any help and that she was really proud of him. Even though my mother has taught hundreds of students by now, every achievement gets her smiling. Another motivation to keep working harder, and spending days and nights toiling over marksheets and registers, exercise books and craftwork. It takes a toll on her, and there are bad days. But every day, she gets up charged to take on the day ahead.
I have zero idea how she does it, especially handling small children. I have little to no patience, and since there are quite a number of teachers in my family, my generation of kids had vowed never to be one.
In classes eleven and twelve, we had to spend a few days each year teaching underprivileged children after school hours. It seemed like a fun activity as we got to spend our time in an activity different from everyday academic life, and it was always an opportunity for us to hang out together at the end of these hour-long sessions. The children who came from an affiliated home were of all ages, right from kindergarten to class eight.
My student was a strapping young boy, who incidentally was also older than me. Studies were quite the struggle for him. I had to teach him the alphabets and numbers, how to construct simple sentences and learn new words. But progress was very difficult. After toiling for two years, the little improvement I noticed over this period of time definitely struck me. I still remember his face, and his heartwarming smile. And every correct answer that he gave would make me very happy, and these were the moments I realised the joy of teaching. It’s a special feeling knowing you’re touching another’s soul, changing the other person’s life in some manner, whatsoever. While I may have been quite the short-tempered and agitated person around little children (I still am), with him, I was calm.
While I may have been satisfied with a sliver of a teaching experience, I am sure every day when we slog at work and the little recognition we get or when we do something we’re proud of off, the real joy of being at work, in our workspaces, in our careers, make us happy. I remember the day when a client had written to my editor telling her how my feature in the magazine made them think of me as one of the ‘better writers’ they have read, it brought me great joy. Sometimes when I edit and overhaul even a small copy, but to my satisfaction and happiness, I beam with pride on the inside. And such instances push us through the bad days, those days when everything seems to go wrong and when we doubt ourselves and life choices.
I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level.