Tuesday, June 15, 2010

a new perspective

My teaching endeavors are expanding. Six months back I was a student myself, running down stairs, sketching, designing and then inevitably being rejected by the senior authority of course. Now I am the teacher. I am no longer compelled to meet deadlines neither am I late for class. Of course I have deadlines, but of a different nature. And I am actually enjoying myself. I enjoy working in a school, teaching imparting skills and knowledge I recently acquired myself. The best part about my job is the liberty to teach kids anything I want. The freedom that my employer has given me is a true blessing. So, now here’s the moment where I am deeply perplexed. I want to teach them studio art alongside art history lessons and design principles. I want to show my kids great movies that have left an impact on me. Some brilliant animations and cartoon series. I want to inspire my children to become something. The problem is, most of my students take the class for granted. I have caught them hiding in their classes, doing homework while I thought they were in the bathroom. I guess it’s not their fault. It’s what and how I teach them that makes them like me and my subject.
Last semester, I had a student who made problem child look like a saint. He would not listen to me, touch a paper or pencil. He would just sit in class and laugh with his friends. My first month of teaching and being new to the field, I lost my temper with him. I threw him out. Next time I isolated him from his friends. Third time I forced him to draw. With my behaviour, I saw his attitude becoming worse every week. I was angry, hurt and mostly confused. I just didn’t know how to control him. I decided to seek help and went to the learning skills program head to consult about the boy. That day I learnt a lot. I learnt how he had symptoms of dyslexia and was behind most of his classmates. He couldn’t write well and was being tutored by the school’s special learning program instructors. She told me how he craved attention because he didn’t get any at home.
Feeling sorry him wouldn’t have helped him. I decided to give him the attention he desired. You know, by talking to students privately about their behavior can really help them sometimes. I asked him why he misbehaved and didn’t do any work. I told him I would let him sit with this friends as long as did something in my class. I knew he wasn’t capable of producing quality work so I gave him something he was comfortable with. And most of all, I let him be. And I realized that’s exactly what he really wanted. After that day, I never pushed or scolded him. Surprisingly, he never gave me any trouble. Every week, he sat happily with his friends and worked on a collage, sticking pieces of paper he had coloured himself. Maybe it wasn’t therapeutic, but it was definitely comforting for the child. I also learnt that almost every teacher disliked him and threw him out of their class. I knew then the reason for his misbehaviour. He knew the teachers didn’t respect him and that provoked him to further mischief. I am not sure if I won his respect but I did win a silent trust or maybe approval. I knew he didn’t enjoy my subject, but his giving in and making an effort was good enough for me. Next semester, I won’t be teaching him but I’ll definitely see him around. And I hope I’ll be able to help him more just like he helped me to see things from a different perspective.

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