Friday, 17 March 2017

A hymn to students

Although I never see the faces of those who read my stuff or hear their voices, I feel I am getting closer to them every time I add some new post here.

This time I would like to talk about another aspect of teaching: its human touch. And I don’t mean the interaction which is a given.

People always remember teachers who had a strong influence on their lives or future careers either in a positive or in a negative way. But you never hear of students who left their mark on their teachers, and I would like to do exactly that.

I have taught people of all ages but mostly children and teenagers. Students come to class with a whole mindset, which is fascinating to see at work while learning.

I got children who inspired me by being so totally trustful, who embarked on the adventure of knowledge with the same abandon as they would have set off on a voyage to a far-flung land.

There were the story lovers who typically happened to be the story tellers, too. I recall the expressions on their faces when I put on my narrator’s voice and read them from books – totally immersed in the imaginary world of the book, blissfully oblivious to the reality of the classroom.

There were the weak ones who challenged me to go beyond my comfort zone of the well-prepared teacher and try new ideas to customise my teaching, to extend it so as to make room for everyone.

There were those, though few, who would stretch the duration of an average test from half to one and a half hours because they couldn’t bear to get this little detail wrong. And amazingly they would ask me to stay at the end of the class in order to mull over this fine point they missed.

There were the mischievous ones whose faces lit up at the mention of a grammar or vocabulary game and who all of a sudden forgot all about being boisterous and focused on the game as if winning was a matter of life and death.

And finally – though I am sure many are left out – there were those who were adults in children’s clothing. They behaved as equals, they never complained about too much homework. They toiled at the choice of the right word, they agreed to play the game next time because today it was story time and enough fun for one day.

Students continue to enrich my life by force causing me to revise established views, to question authority, to sneak glances into their beautiful minds.

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