I have been in Pune for 5 months now, working in a government school in that time, and some days are really tough. Sometimes there are 2 teachers, sometimes there are 7. Sometimes there are 11 students, sometimes there are 62.
I am didi, and I never stop hearing it. I’ve begun now to know all their names, which is very beneficial when I have to yell at them. That is a frequent task. The students see me as their knowledgeable friend, someone to come to for help and complaints, but the respect is lacking.
“Didi, I love you!!!”
I love you too, please sit down. Please listen to me and make my job easier. I have learned that even when my stress is through the roof, a smile is what they look for. I try to smile often, and give praise to those who deserve it.
Last week, I was alone with my class nearly all week. Patience is a virtue I would’ve given my left arm for, respect with my right.
It pains me, because I check my students work, and so many are incredibly talented. Sometimes it’s the language barrier that stops them from achieving, often it’s the unwillingness to try. I try not to yell, that’s not encouraging. I tell them they are so smart, and doing great work. I see how they soak up that praise.
Some students I have to reprimand. Sit in the hall, you can’t come to the party. No hitting, hands to yourself. No, no, no.
It doesn’t always work, at times they apologize. A tug on their ear signifies an apology, head down means it’s true.
We had a birthday party. I helped my students arrange the dances, they collected money, bought a cake and gifts. Preparing was hectic, excitement made them forget to behave, to listen. I feel excitement too, when I get my students to stand in a line, or when one of them can finally read that difficult English word. I clap enthusiastically, and feel proud of my work.
At the end of the party, after a particularly sad song, they all cried. Their teacher will finish her term in two months, and after two years of having her, she will be missed. Watching all my students, who minutes before were frustrating me to no end, with tears streaming down their face, reminded me that my job is worth it. I cried too.
Everyday, I’m learning patience. I’m learning how to gain respect, I’m learning to accept change and become adaptable. I’m becoming a teacher, a friend, a sister. I’m learning how to love those who frustrate me, and spread kindness to them as well.
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