Being a mentor
I never realised teaching could be so much fun and provide so much satisfaction until the day I got in touch with one of my old students. In fact, I would rather call myself a ‘mentor’ because as soon as you hear the word ‘teacher’ you cannot help but imagine an old woman whose face is half hidden behind spectacles, screaming at the students.
I wanted to remove this picture from the students’ mind and wanted to give them an experience of not being bogged down with homework and class work. But things can turn the other way round too, where students don’t feel afraid of the teachers and don’t experience the theory of relativity when time feels to have halted and pupils feel a desperate need to take naps during lectures.
With this thought in mind, I started my career as a teacher and soon found out that students had fallen in love, in a way with me, as the method I used was interesting for them. I always gave them the maximum time to participate in lessons and always welcomed feedback. This way they felt that their always-suppressed-thoughts got an outlet that helped me enormously in determining the way they need to be taught.
This is one of the reasons that even after having left school my students still remember me, respect me and compare my teaching with the way other teachers taught. I still remember how one of the students commented and others affirmed, “Ma’am, 40 minutes are not enough when you are teaching”. That used to put a smile on my face and a sense of satisfaction in my heart.
Today, four years after I quit teaching, when one of my students was talking to me and discussed his study and career plans, he was all praise for how I had impacted his life and felt indebted for my contribution in his grooming. I hope to witness a day soon when our teachers break through the stereotype and start considering themselves as mentors who can influence their students for good!
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2010.
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