Children are referred to spring season where love and hope grows everywhere. As the saying goes “The soul is healed by being with children.”Being with children, we tend to forget our own problems as they influence us with their positive outlook towards life. I believe it will not be wrong to say that children are sensible with whatever is happening in the surrounding and that have resulted them to be able to adapt to anything. The etiquette, perception and way of life hinges on the parents and society on how they are motivated. I believe that a baby is not born as a human but we teach them to be one. Thus, the child’s personality and their outlook towards life has a great alignment with their surroundings which includes the footprints of both formal and in-formal institutions. We always hear the saying that children are the pillars of the nation, I wanted to point out a question to everyone; are we paving the path in moulding them to become pillars of our nation?
While I was pursuing my formal education, I experienced a lot of hardships as many male members discouraged me for pursuing higher education. Though I was disheartened, that did not stop me to finish what I had started. Those experiences taught me how cruel it is to live as a woman in a patriarchal society where one favors male members to get all the privileges. Instead, my parents turned out to be different as they encouraged me to pursue my education. That is when I realized, though culture will always exist, it is the opinion that one perceived. Even illiterate can be called as educated. So, my question is; Are we just literate or are we educated?
I would like to take the opportunity by sharing you some of my experience working under TFNE (Teach for North East) fellowship, the ground reality of being with children. Before getting into the field, I heard a lot about the community which I assumed was right but turned out to be vice versa when I actually started working. As I have been working for four months under this fellowship, I have received a lot of opportunities meeting with the guardians of the concerned students, visited few villages to conduct Learning Level Assessment (LLA). Through these visits, I learnt a variety of cultures, the setting of the community and realized the level of student’s learning outcomes. All these learnings have been a blessing in disguise for me whereby inculcating a desire to work with and for students. However, on the other hand, the perspectives that the children uphold and the opinions that the community as a whole perceive towards pursuing a formal education made me sad. I recall the concept of formal education is just to pass the examination and get promoted to the next class was what I understood and upheld when I was young. That concept is deeply ingrained in the minds of many children even today. To become a pillar where we can hold our world, that concept is what we have to un-learn and re-learn a constructive method.
I have been teaching teen- students for the past few months and observed that they are respectful towards their teachers but their behavior of being silent resulted into less participation in the classroom. The silence proved as a disruption in the class which made me eager to find out the root cause of it. As to what I have found out, the students are always on the lookout for perfect answers which bring in securities that diminishes their self-esteem. In addition, students are not given enough space for addressing their issues and their voices are suppressed. Thus, I took an opportunity to interact with them about their dreams in life; their answers have convinced me that each child holds unique dreams. Among them, one of my students wanted to become an educationist in future and his purpose was to bring changes in the education system and provide privilege to the underprivileged and access to quality education. Although it was quite challenging to keep the balance of a friendly environment in the classroom for my students, those challenges turned out to be a platform for me to understand my students in a profound manner which immensely helped me in adapting the diversified teaching techniques.
As we look at our society, I believe every child must be given the privilege of having a dream they wish to achieve when they grow up. For these students’ dreams to come true, building a conducive environment is necessary where development plays an important role. On the other hand, disruptions in cultural identity erupt frequently in the course of development and utmost efforts should be made to preserve our culture and identity. So, one must be aware of the things that requires to un-learn in order to develop our society. To do this, we should start encouraging our children to be sensible to the issues which surround us.
Nelson Mandela stated, “History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.” Today, for my students and for all the children; I would like to claim that space which is their right.
Ramthinglak.s is a fellow at Teach for North East.
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