To Teachers, With Love

  • I was correcting cursive writing books, actually over writing on poorly formed letters. One of my 2nd standard students was keenly observing me and then said, ‘Miss, you are doing cursive writing’? I stopped — nonplussed. Was she trying to exchange roles? She did become my teacher. That statement of that child made me realize the utility and futility of corrections. Lesson: Corrections need to be purposeful and growth oriented. This holds good for any kind of correction.
  • On another occasion, I was going through the lesson plan of a Teacher Trainee. I remember it was a poem and I love to teach Poetry. I used my red ink liberally all over the lesson plan, not in correction but with my ideas. At the end of it, the student quietly said to me, ‘Miss, the Third World War has been fought on this paper.’ Lesson: Allow the teacher to take ownership of her / his lesson — empower the teacher. Have discussions, suggest ideas, provide guidance, listen, and at the same time do not rob them of their right to plan and execute the lesson — enable responsibility and accountability for the outcome.
  • This incident troubles me even after 40 years. I had been asked to change the marks of a 6th standard student who had failed in many subjects but had done very well in mine probably because he liked me as a teacher. The Principal thought he should be detained. I refused. After the announcement of the results this boy met me and asked me whether he had really done so badly in my paper. He knew he had worked hard and done well. His marks had been changed without my knowledge. Now the dilemma — Should I be loyal to the institution or should I be honest and tell him the truth? I remember giving him some vague answer that did not convince him or me. Lesson: Stand by your values. (This is of course an individual call)
  • In another school the learning experience was in handling the corruption of the management. The marks of children of influential and rich parents were changed. These students were apparently called to the office and made to rewrite answers. When I hit a wall with the principal, I took it up with the manager of the school. I was told that I should not tolerate it and should resign in protest. I realized that he was hand in glove with the Principal and wanted me out. I stayed on, a thorn in their flesh, and it was definitely not made easy for me. I worked for almost a year where communication between management and me was only through slips of paper or through circulars. Lesson: Do not be afraid to be an activist if the situation demands.

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Educational Consultant with 2 passions in life: the Child — from toddler to adolescent, and Education — education philosophy and psychology

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Phyllis Farias

Phyllis Farias

Educational Consultant with 2 passions in life: the Child — from toddler to adolescent, and Education — education philosophy and psychology

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