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The role of a teacher in a child’s life can’t be discounted. It is a lottery, almost – getting a good teacher can really influence a child’s life for the better, as they feel heard and loved outside of home.
Appreciation is a dying art form. I truly believe this. Growing up, we have a tremendous number of influences in our lives – parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, nannies and so on. The list of people who spark some sort of light in our lives and leave a mark is sometimes quite winding.
Once we embark upon adulthood, we look back at the lessons we’ve learnt, and whom they were taught by. We realize that we don’t really appreciate or express our gratitude enough to those people. We then close our eyes and mutter a silent “thank you” to those wise people 20 years later, who we realize have made an impact on us.
Aside from my parents and siblings, some of the people who played a very significant role in shaping my personality and who I am today, are my teachers.
There are so many ‘aha’ moments that creep up on you once you become a mother yourself. I have certainly had many of those recently. Witnessing my 4-year-old son grow at rapid speed and with an even more rapidly developing dynamic personality, a large part of which I owe to his teachers, makes me eternally grateful to them.
Till I became a mother and my son started school, I had always underestimated the intensity of the influence of a teacher in a child’s life. It took me a long time to understand that teachers were not put on earth to simply walk into a classroom, write on the board, teach and leave. Especially not the ones I had interacted with at my son’s school, and who he has been, and still is, lucky enough to have.
They are more than just ‘TEACH’ers. The definition of a teacher itself has evolved over the years and according to me, they are our children’s guardians when we are not around. They assume the role of protector during the large chunks of time children spend at school.
There is a reason parents spend sleepless nights trying to select a school for their children. Of course, they want a good education. After all, which parent doesn’t want that?
But the meaning of ‘education’ is not as cut and dry as it used to be several decades ago.
Education does not only entail ensuring that our children know all the letters in the alphabet or that they know all the different colours in the rainbow. It does not mean that if your child knows how to read by the age of 4, he/she is set for life. Parents search for, visit, review, re-visit, and take months to narrow down schools for their children based on multiple factors, including the teaching style.
By this, I don’t mean the way they teach Math and English, but the way the teachers interact, engage and bond with students. Teachers now have the gigantic responsibility of churning out individuals with a clear view of the world, the strength and personality to engage in it, and the ability to survive in it. This starts from the time children are in pre-school, which is when a teacher’s job is the hardest.
One of the biggest assets that any school can have are teachers who are able to form attachments on many levels with young children. The most crucial element for any young child to thrive in school is a nurturing environment filled with happiness and love from those around them. The ability to listen and comfort is one of the most admirable qualities in teachers and requires immense patience, especially with the young ones.
Parents are no longer the only primary influencers and sole teachers, so children at a very young age need to be slowly immersed into a school environment where the teachers become their pseudo-mothers. When my son bounces out of school with a big smile on his face and stories to tell, I know that his teachers, among others, have had a big part to play in it. When he comes strolling out at the end of a school day, just to go running back in a second later to say bye for the tenth time to his teachers, I know I can sleep well at night. The warmth and affection that children experience can turn their day around and this is what encourages them to look forward to school the next day. Learning is not feared but welcomed.
Good teachers help our children become good human beings. It is as simple as that. What our children learn from their teachers will stay with them in some form for the rest of their lives. They motivate and inspire. They provide strength and comfort. They nurture the wonder, curiosity and creativity. They love and protect. They are role models for our children, the same way we are.
Teachers are vital to the success of everything our children do, and I have learned to value every one of them who is present in our children’s lives. Teachers hold hands, open minds and touch hearts. So, learn to appreciate them every step of the way and take every chance you get to say thank you. The same way our children need encouragement and appreciation to develop into the best people, so do teachers.
“Teachers change the world one child at a time” – Heidi Veal
Image source: a still from the movie Taare Zameen Par
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