There isn’t much money in the teaching profession. It’s always been about heeding a call; to pass on knowledge, to cradle the future in gentle but firm and thoughtful hands. On World Teacher’s Day, the annual celebration that acknowledges what our lesson givers bring to the table, we ask them why they do it. And, if they could, what lessons would they impart to their students’ parents.
For Steven Howard, Head of Year Four at Horizon English School, it’s a boon to be shaping young minds. “I love to reflect at the end of the day and realise that I’ve helped shape a young mind. This is our job as teachers – to shape the young minds into wonderful all-round students who go into what is an ever-changing world,” he explains.
That doesn’t mean dealing with a room teeming with teens is easy. But these teachers thrive in challenging times. DPS Dubai’s Sunita Razdan, for instance, exclaims: “I love to learn from my students.”
I love to learn from my students.
Sangeetha R Nair, who teaches Biology at Millennium School Dubai, explains that teaching is all about helping a person discover who they are. “If you pay attention, you can help students find their real interest and passion,” she says.
And sometimes, they help you discover yours. DPS Sharjah’s Gurpreet Modi, who teaches computer science, says it’s her interactions with students that keep her young. “They don’t let you get old; you are matching with their thinking and charged up to learn more and do more.”
Ghada Hafez, Class Teacher at Blossom Nursery, Mudon Branch is used to little people. She takes heart in the fact that she makes a difference every day. “I feel that I add something to someone’s life every day. I love the children’s curiosity to learn and their passion for learning new things and discovering new worlds.”
This sense of wonder that kids bring to the classroom can be infectious. Just ask the teachers.
Just be patient. We are trying to get these kids ready for future jobs that don’t even exist yet. Be adaptable.
Here’s a look at some lessons from your child’s teachers:
1. TALK TO THEM: “We are all challenging ourselves, especially in these pandemic times. Parents should focus on making the kids happy – work on their own communication skills. Instead of working on academics, work on making connections,” says Simimol Raijo, who teaches at Raffles International School.
2. KIDS’ CHOICE OF CAREER: “Across my teaching career I have seen parents push their kids – especially the older ones – into their choice of profession. Parents must not kill kids’ creativity; allow them to make their own choices, to follow their own passion, to live their own dreams,” says Razdan.
3. TIMES ARE A-CHANGING, WE MUST TOO: “Every few years the lot of parents change, times change, but a lot of the time parents compare things to the time when they were kids themselves. This needs to change. We have to keep changing with the times. And keep channels of communication open. Don’t take kids for granted – you need to work on communication. Often both parents and students say that all they talk about is education – they must be able to chat about other things as well,” says Modi.
4. MORE IS BETTER WHEN IT COMES TO SPENDING TIME: “Parents need to give more time to their kids. There should be more communication at home, a more balanced atmosphere,” says Nair.
5. BE PATIENT: “Just be patient. We are trying to get these kids ready for future jobs that don’t even exist yet. Be adaptable. Kids are more resilient and independent than we think,” says Howard.
6. DON’T PIT KIDS AGAINST EACH OTHER: “Children are different, never compare. Each child has something unique and as adults we should encourage them instead of comparing,” says Hafez.
7. LISTEN: "Put down everything and listen when a child (student) walks up to talk to you. He or she has chosen you to be a part of his or her biggest secret or new enlightment. Learn to Listen- Then they will do the same to your words too," says Gulnaz Afzal, Head of Department and teacher of Humanities of Key Stage 2, Dubai Gem Private School.
8. ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT INDEPENDENCE. “Create opportunities for your child to have choice and celebrate with them when they use their voice and take ownership of their learning,” says Catherine Erpen, Principal, GEMS World Academy - Abu Dhabi.
9. ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO MAKE MISTAKES. “This is how they learn! Failures provide the perfect opportunity for growth,” she adds.
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