This seems to be a month of anniversaries. This month I complete a year as a high school teacher at Poorna. Besides this, I figure that our little startup which took off from a small house in a small college town is now a fledgling company which is over 7 years old. The business has gathered momentum and the company now has two areas of work – consulting and scientific instruments sales. Momentum (a healthy work pipeline and a sufficient annual revenue), I guess is a natural consequence of sticking around long enough in business.
But back to teaching, I look back at the year in school and realize what a tremendous learning opportunity it has been. I take this as a moment to draw together the lessons.
“Teaching” would be a rather tall claim for me to make and after a year it sure would be a claim to say that I teach. I realize that I am an agent, who goes into the classroom and shares his knowledge and understanding with the students. That is all. I have been a rookie at best.
Starting with A level and Indian senior secondary level students, I had a soft launch into teaching. It began as a challenge to simplify ideas and field questions from unconditioned, formative stage minds of children. Moreover, teaching economics and sociology to such a group can be intellectually stimulating as well as an opportunity to reflect and bring back to class the experiences of daily lives. These experiences connect the concepts that one reads in these subjects. In a way, it completes the loop from learning to experience and back to learning in the society.
I also realize that teaching helped me in focusing on what is meaningful in life. And this insight kicks in only when I take a telescopic view of a full academic year. In my pursuit to be a teacher who practices what he teaches, I had to ensure all along about this consistency between thought and action. I couldn’t have been more wrong in imagining this consistency as easy to achieve. There were several occasions when my own beliefs were questioned.
The other view that developed along the course of the past year is that teaching firmly keeps a person in touch with society’s growing and most dynamic section – the children. This has become the most enriching aspect of this experience. Besides, there is always a quick game of football that can be played, a poem that can be enjoyed and absolutely hilarious moments with children who are busy comprehending and making sense of things and people around them.
As long as I can, I am sure to be a part of a school for the rest of my life.