It’s been almost a decade since I was a teacher. And I still receive thank you messages from young adults whom I taught when they were 9-10 years old. And what bemuses me is what they remember about me and who are the ones who remember me. It’s not always the children I thought I was teaching. And it is definitely not what I thought were the more important things.
We don’t always remember teachers for what they taught us, but how they made us feel. That teacher who believed in you, who smiled her warmest smile to welcome you, who always left a special remark in your notebook, who appreciated what you got in your dabba, who had a way of telling stories that you still remember the details or even the Math or Physics teacher who explained complex phenomenon in everyday terms. I don’t mean to suggest that knowing the content of your subject is not important; it is. But knowing your children is even more important.
If you have followed great teachers – the ones whose lives turned into movies – Jaime Escalante (Stand and Deliver) or Anand Kumar (Super 30) – what really sets them apart is their belief in the children, their ability to kindle desire for a subject or life itself.
And who knows your children better than you? Yes, parents are the first teachers and not because they taught you to speak or walk or they taught you to say please and thank you. It’s because that’s the design of the human being. We see, we do. We watch our parents and we do as they do. We start ‘being’ as they are being. We believe about ourselves and the world, what they believe about us and the world. The voice in our head judging and praising or encouraging and egging us to go on is the voice of a parent from when we were growing up. If you think you are smart, it’s because a parent told you that. If you think you are not is also something you picked up when you were too young to figure it out yourself.
SO, YOU ARE AN ACCIDENTAL TEACHER, WHETHER OR NOT YOU LIKE IT.
The question is why fear something that you are doing, anyway. As a homeschooling parent, you needn’t be an expert in all subjects. You needn’t even do 6 hours of study-time like schools require children to do. Who decided that children need to pore over books for 6 hours a day to learn? The New Education Policy also recognises that learning how to learn is going to be key in these times and not just what we learn.
A lot of parents tell me that homeschooling is great, but it’s not for them. That’s perfect. We all have our lives and lifestyle choices. But what comes next is – they don’t have the patience to deal with their children. They are not a qualified teacher. That their children don’t listen to them. That is the myth that I want to address.
In my mind, you only need to make room for two things to begin homeschooling–1. A powerful belief that your child is perfect the way he / she is and they are going to slay whatever it is they take on and 2. Start being the person you want your child to be. You want your child to focus? You start focusing on what you want to achieve.
In fact, you could do these 2 things even as a schooling parent and you will see the difference. This Teacher’s Day I am taking on ‘Being the change I want to see’ in my child. I invite you to try the same and see the magic unfold.