Unlike my previous pieces, this will be a personal story.
The reason I write this blog is very simple.
I like to study myself. Call it selfish, but I think I can only be of service to someone else if I know myself. Writing is a way by which I try to do that. The key word in that sentence being, ‘try.’
I try to discern between what I know and what I do not know.
I fail a lot.
In fact I have been struggling for over a month with a particular concept and how to write it in the simplest way possible. This is clearly reflected in the lack of recent posts on my blog. I saved a disappointing ‘draft 18’ today and decided to write this piece instead.
But other than writing I want to do a lot of things.
In fact I have a long list.
You could say I am one of those hopeless romantics who still fondly remembers some of their foolish childhood dreams. Truth be told, I do not like to openly admit some of them.
But at the top of my list, I want to be an educator one day. I got a glimpse of it this summer and I would like to share my experience.
Working as a teaching assistant for ASSET Summer program 2017 has taught me a lot of small but crucial things; which I will conveniently leave out here. I want to make this as short as possible.
I learnt, the hard way of course, that for a one hour class you would have spent six hours planning, one minute is enough to change course when a child decides to ask a question that threatens to deviate from the main discussion.
Mental note to keep yourself calm; the child is simply curious and does not know he or she has just disturbed your entire plan. This experience made me reflect on my own school days and how some of my own questions would have thrown the teachers off guard. I found myself developing greater respect for them.
Indeed the art of pulling them back to the intended discussion but letting them freely explore their curiosity at the same time is something I hope to learn over time. I failed ardently at achieving this for the brief time I facilitated classroom discussions.
I made a lot of mistakes due to my naivety and inexperience in teaching. To top it all, my natural tendencies to doubt my methods and my own knowledge did not help the entire process. My kids were nice enough to bear with it.
I thank them for that.
I would also like to thank the “Class of Digital Storytelling” for sharing their insights on my poem. You made something so mediocre seem so beautiful with so many different perspectives. I will always be grateful for that.
The most important ‘thank you’ would be to Utpal Chattopadhyay for giving direction to my thoughts and for addressing the trivial doubts I had. You treated me like an intellectual equal; an extremely humble gesture on your part.
You also taught a chronic self-doubter like me to muster a little confidence in my own abilities.
I will always remember what you told me in the end.
“I have the utmost respect for women in my life who have tolerated me.”
I was too stunned to react at that moment. You must know I value respect more than any other virtue. Coming from you it was a deeply emotional moment for me.
So thank you again; Utpal, my class of “Evolution of Scientific Thought” and everyone in ASSET, especially the TAs, for making my summer of 2017 so memorable in and out of class. I learnt a little from each one of you.
What would be my key take-away from this experience?
The title says it all.