What Do Teachers Make?

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I asked this to an audience of teachers, parents, and children who had accompanied them. Some time ago there was a message about ‘what teachers make’ that went viral and was seen and shared millions of times. This ‘virus’ (unlike the current virus) generated happiness in the teachers as it struck a chord with them and probably changed the perspective of many others who viewed it.

Well, what happened after that?  What do you think teachers do? They help them:

Do their homework

Eat their lunch

Speak politely

Learn math tables

Spell ‘teacher’ properly amidst other things.

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These may sound trivial to many people and little do they realize that teachers make a difference. A huge difference! And this varies from child to child. It is visible every semester/ PTM day for some and for others, it’s perceptible after years! I teach them not only to spell ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ but also the difference between the two.

This noble profession has taken a beating from every person and remains the last opportunity to take up a job. Indeed a sad state of affairs. Please don’t judge us by the size of our salaries instead look at the difference we make. We don’t rate a class based on one naughty child so don’t measure us by that one ineffective teacher. They are not our representatives.

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I think it’s time for us to give teachers the respect due to them. Let us not allow political wings to decide whether we are making a difference. We look around in other countries, take their examples, admire their teaching systems and that’s it! This doesn’t end in admiration itself. How many of us have put these learnings into practice?

Every drop makes an ocean.  Let’s all work together to make a difference.

As teachers we have transformed several lives. Now it’s your chance.

 

 

My Rendezvous With The Sea

So I stood there,

Waiting for the sea to answer my calls.

It wasn’t long before it responded to my beckoning,

And sent its messenger to help me unwind,

Leaving life’s demands behind.

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It blessed me with

The sound of crashing waves,

Whispering in their own language,

Gently rolled over my tired feet,

And scurried away

While I anticipated the swell again.

 

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The water swept over my feet.

Tickled me and dashed away,

Left the sand tingling under my feet,

Wanting more than just a gentle caress.

 

There is a soothing melody in the sound of the waves

As they slam against my feet,

Overlapping in silent unity.

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I adore the gentle lapping of salty waves,

That bury my feet into sandy shores,

But uplift my happiness with the promise,

That they will be back.

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I stand on the shore

Soaking in the sound of silence

With gratitude for my sandy walk.

Teaching me to never give up on

Hope, peace and fortitude.

 

 

To be or Not to be

I was a bold tomboy.

This was a time when people decided how you should behave, what you should wear, especially if you were a girl; how to speak and when to speak. It was a time when we were not encouraged to ask questions. I remember I used to be pushed to the back row of the class, whenever I raised my hand to ask a question. I was told to not run and play with boys. I was told to wear feminine clothes and not boyish shoes or clothing. As a result, I grew up to be a girl with a mix of bold and brave, peppered with a slightly ‘rebellious’ streak.

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Teaching at the University

I started teaching at a University where, again, the way I had to dress, speak and conduct myself was reinforced. My colleagues thought of me as a rebellious mix of English culture, trying to find a spot in the students’ everyday curriculum totally dominated by the regional language. So I started fitting into their notion of an ideal teacher-cum-professor.

Who is Me?

One fine morning, the real I wanted to be recognised and kept knocking at my inner self to come out into the open. It took a while to come out of this shell. I headed for higher studies at a premier University where I was encouraged to be my own self. I could finally own my thoughts with pride, whether they were feminist, political, or just different; they were accepted.  Being different scored points and helped me crystallise my creativity.

This helped me grow into a better person. I found myself being able to make a point in discussions and meetings, and was glad that my true self was being accepted. I no longer had to look outside for acceptance because once you own yourself and your thoughts, acceptance comes from within.

I refused to be bound by labels like: the bold and beautiful, the brave and intelligent, and the unique and different. One day, I just broke away from what I was expected to be, what I wanted to be and entered into wedlock. This gave me time to mull over what my authentic self was all about. Which was the real me, and who was going to help me find it? I was too terrified at times to even dwell on this.

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Years passed, motherhood kept me busy and I forgot about trying to find answers to these questions.

Is it that easy?

Being anyone but you is not easy as we would like to think. What’s terrible about this is that people around you will come up and say that you are wonderful as you are and this is the real you! Probably, this is the kind of thinking that kept women like me in false notions of their own self.

It didn’t take me long to realise that I could find a small crevice for my own self where I was able to freely express my thoughts, feelings and emotions. Perhaps, aging has helped me in this process. I guess I am at that age where I stop caring about what others think and how they want you to behave. Rather, it’s about being comfortable in your own skin and not the person others expect to see in you.

But let me tell you this- somewhere in the back of my mind, when I feel like expressing or writing something, I am held back by this conflict because for decades, I never felt the reason to find a solution.

Am I my true self or am I still what others want me to be?

To be or not to be, I guess, is the question.

[Pictures taken from third party sources]

The Berries

I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder. I was walking by the road and there it was – unnoticed… in the wild… amidst tall trees, captivating flowers and bewitching landscapes. In a quiet corner grew this shrub of red berries.

Ripe juicy berries sweetened by the summer sun

Peeps under the bush between the green wintry leaves

Smiling succulent delights

 

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smiling berries in a church in vienna

I have a flair for noticing these things while others are in awe of structural beauty- palaces, churches and other monuments. Let’s not forget that nature always wears the colours of the spirit. Here the contrasting spirit of the red berries was the green shrub, the fallen leaves and broken tree stalk. I was totally enthralled by the diverse play of colours. The splendour of the natural world lies in the details.

It was a Cinderella moment! The red berries appeared like Cinderella – pale, subdued, modest and humble; daring to live in the dispirited environment and still standing out with her beauty. Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with the secrets of life itself.

In another context I thought about how the teachers/parents work on nurturing children – show their faith in their abilities and help them excel and make a place for themselves in the world against all odds. In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous.

Looking at beauty in the world is the first step of purifying the mind.

 

The Valley of Happiness

I am a water baby. Yup! I love to see water, taste it in its natural form, and play with it- when it rains or when I am near a stream or river. The sight of flowing river or stream or even a rivulet gives me monumental happiness and I probably have the biggest smile on my face at such times. It flows into my heart and I guess it does the same to almost everyone! The picture of river Lidder in Kashmir has left an indelible mark on me.

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The river of Happiness- Lidder in Pahalgam, Kashmir

The last time I saw it was in 2010 and this picture is taken while I was on my way to Pahalgam. It flows through the valleys of Pahalgam and it’s a sight to behold! The aura is serene and I could not help but stop our cab, alight and just stand there in utter silence to absorb the scenic beauty of God’s creation! This cascade of crystal clear water seemed to be welcoming me back to the valley which I had left years ago. I felt it gushed in Kashmiri for me… challenging me to recollect the language and the folk songs of the place. Dear Lidder, I may not be able to speak the language as fluently as you gush by, but believe me, I totally understand your language as much as you understood my silence.

Welcome to My New Blog

Go where you feel most alive.

I have always been passionate about teaching and have devoted more than three decades of my life to it. I have loved meeting people and students and teaching and learning from them. However since the last few years I got promoted but this pulled me away from core academics and threw me right into a pile of files! While this administrative role has helped me grow as a person, there are strong urges to get back to what I was best at doing… teaching, learning, sharing great moments with children, being myself, trying out innovative things in class and enjoying learning from others success and failures.

This blog is an attempt to share my experiences and learning from life. Join me in my endeavour to navigate through life and its teachings .

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