I met a bunch of students who help me realize my reason for teaching. They redefine the term student. No other group of students or an individual has embraced their role so passionately. They have left me speechless with their efforts and ability. I have been teaching for very long as compared to peers my age. In all my six years of teaching foreigners from four different continents, I have met countless of students from every culture, background, belief, and capacity imaginable. They come in all different shapes, sizes and colors and so I have experienced my fair share of the younger generation. Let me proudly say that this group compels me to stand up and salute them. Well, of course, I wouldn’t do it in front of them. Where would my dignity go then? =) It’s hard for teachers to come across students who inspire them. They either annoy the hell out of us or bore us to shreds. They are of lesser capacity and brain function than we are and frighteningly it gets worse as they come in hoards. But very rarely, probably once in a blue or purple moon, one lone student would cast sunshine on our lives making us smile till we crack. These students, whom I’m sad to report, have only a couple of classes with me left, have been with me for seven months. Just to show how great they are, let me narrate a short story. On the second class I had with them, I gave them their coursework for the semester which was to be delivered on the eleventh week. Their coursework was a debate for the first semester. After explaining all the details and answering their questions, one student casually asked if they were to wear formal clothes for the debate. I nonchalantly said yes, they had to. And that was it. Weeks passed with more discussions and questions about the coursework. The thought of formal wear was completely obliterated from my mind. On that day, I was busy preparing to grade them as well as other technicalities for the debate. When I walked in, I was amazed to see all fourteen full-forced in formal wear. Right down to their shoes and jewellery! Do you have any idea how many times a teacher has to repeat her/himself over something huge before it actually takes root in a student’s mind let alone something minute as wearing formal clothes! I usually have to repeat myself till I turn blue and still I will have one or two asking me about it the next class. Teachers would be lucky if half of what we say in class gets heard. Instead these students took something small that I said to heart and held on to it till it was time to deliver. All through the 2 semesters, this group continues to impress me, holding on to every single word I said or did. They applied every official or unofficial lesson to their work. As a result, their final drama and write-up was stupendous! I just couldn’t believe the work they had done! I loved every minute teaching them and I’m truly unhappy to see them go. The education industry needs students like them if it’s ever going to survive this harsh but deteriorating world.
(To S, V, C, A, E, D and R, all the best! You are what leaders are made of)
By Nitha Nathan