This article is among the top-ten stories/essays submitted for Reflections (a writing contest for teachers). 4th position is shared by Exams: A Bane or Boon in Education by Mrs. Jayshree Ravi. Click HERE to read.
Inspirations are the forces that drive you to lead a more productive life. Presently, I am a Psychology teacher and a Counsellor. In my life, three most major inspirations have been my school years, well-known Psychologist, Abraham Maslow and my school Principal.
When I was in school, I was a very average student, be it academically or in extracurricular activities. This went on till 6th Standard and thereafter, with the support of my sister and teachers, I changed my study skills and took efforts to understand the meaning out of the text. Soon, I started excelling in studies; everything I studied made sense to me. Once by default, my teacher gave me the responsibility of managing a ‘House Assembly’ and the result was amazing. I realised that maybe I don’t have the required talent in debates, music, and dance but I could organise events well. This paved the way for me to be a Council Member in 12th Standard.
These changes in my behaviour made me realise how certain events can play a critical role in a student’s life and as Ken Robinson, an Educationist, says, we need to help children identify their “Element”. How can a low achiever become a high achiever? How can people in the child’s environment play a role in any child’s life? Why do children behave the way they do? With these questions in my head, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher; to understand the psyche of the students; I went on for further studies in Psychology.
My second inspiration is a well-known Psychologist Abraham Maslow, who stirred my thinking process with the concept of ‘self-actualisation’. A self-actualised person is one who has recognised his fullest potential. Many times, because of society’s demands, we start moving away from our real self and in the end, lead a different life from what we actually are capable of. We forget our true selves in the process! So, to help a person self-actualise, we need to give an environment that is unconditional, empathetic and non-judgemental. These ideas assist me in my classroom:
- To accept unconditionally the individual differences. Someone will answer well, someone won’t. I need to accept both individuals and try to help them identify their “Element”.
- If a child does not believe in a theory I teach, I give him a non-judgemental environment so as to express his thoughts. This can increase his critical thinking.
- Most importantly empathy! I try putting myself in the shoes of my students and then seeing how I would like to be taught a particular concept. So, this helps me in improvising my teaching methodology by including excursions, brainstorming activities and exhibitions.
My School Principal:
Last but not the least, is my school Principal! When I walk into my Principal’s room, it’s full of pictures of her with the students, right from the batches she taught years before to the batches that passed out recently. Students look forward to be taught by her. I believe, having training in counselling just gives the credentials to work but some people are born counsellors and she is one of them. A principal who never compromises on discipline and also has students and teachers coming to her all the time, sharing their joys and sorrows, be it from professional angle or from personal, she listens makes them feel heard, shares her wisdom and everyone comes out of her room smiling. She is the right example for personal integrity as we see her coming out of any situation with courage and strength. So, it’s not just an advice she gives, she shows it in her actions as well. No matter what, I see her every morning standing near the main door of the school, smiling, receiving hugs from the little ones. All this just inspires me on a daily basis!
What a worthy profession I am in! How important relationships with the students can be, if we plant the right seed.
These people and experiences remind me of my choice of becoming a teacher and the important role I play in a child’s life; they have been my most important teachers. As the famous saying goes –
“A mediocre teacher tells. A good teacher explains. A superior teacher demonstrates. A great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward
Mrs. Sukhmeen Kaur teaches Psychology at The Indian School, New Delhi.
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