Tuesday 19 June 2018

Curiosity killed the cat: Reflections at the beginning of a new academic year

'Curiosity killed the cat,' goes a popular adage but for a teacher, a wee bit of curiosity is required to keep their vocation live and throbbing. Standing at the threshold of a new academic year and the beginning of my fifth year in the college that I teach (M. E. S. College of Arts & Commerce), I am filled with a sense of excitement plus trepidation - new sets of students, new and old subjects, same subjects and new students, same students and new class, old students and new teaching methods. Curiosity about the new methods in teaching, curiosity to find out about the new students, curiosity to use crazy strategies and curiosity to understand my personality better is something the teaching fraternity should practice as a matter of principle. When the Principal addressed us (the staff) this morning, my takeaway from his speech was the word, ENGAGE. While referring to the usage of audio-visual equipment, he mentioned, "Don't just use the Power-point presentation, try to engage the students.' The word stirred me - I questioned myself abut the word, ENGAGE. Do I really engage my students or prattle off what is required and walk off? Do I effectively engage ALL the students or just a few vocal/smart/ambitious ones? How do I reach out to every single student present in the class? 

Many in the teaching fraternity would like to remain teaching the subjects that they have always taught. Reason: There is no much preparation required. But I beg to differ. Every single batch is a brand new one. I don't deny that the same types of students exist in every class but every individual has a different personality which requires a different strategy. I reckon that one cannot afford to be lethargic and lackadaisical either about the subject or the student. But I guess, it's easy to remain unaffected and plod on without any enthusiasm for many of them.

At the beginning of every academic year, I strive to introspect and reflect on my abilities to create a better version of myself, different from the previous year. This preparation gives me part enthusiasm and part trepidation at the commencing of every academic year. I look forward to the newness at various levels and the additional joy of the monsoon during the reopening time brings a spring to my step. And curiosity does not always kill, it does help us ENGAGE as well.

I do wish to ENGAGE and not merely complete what is assigned. May the force be with the teaching fraternity. 

IMAGE: Internet

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