A couple of days ago, two students had approached me for help. Incidentally, both were in second-year BMS and they wanted me to help them for their third Sem.
Now, I am a teacher… and, I earn my living by teaching young ones like these. As there are teachers of all kinds, there are students of all kinds, too.
This Post is inspired by this: “Why was I enthusiastic about taking in one of those two students… and cold about the other?”
Yes, I am telling you the truth: I felt like going the extra-mile as the first student was talking to me… And, on the other hand, I really felt repelled, closed, as the second one was dealing with me.
As teachers, we, often, pretend before the world that we are more empathetic, less biased and more caring humans. I think, most of us are, even though such fine human traits can be found in almost every other segment of the society, as well.
Likewise, we, teachers, react and behave, too, with our vulnerability and fallibility.
The first student was using a proactive vocabulary. Though he was paying me the same fees and I was expected to deliver the same volume of work, his choice of words immediately triggered within me a streak of enthusiasm. He sounded responsible, less dependant, willing to give what it took… He saw things from my perspective and kept assuring me that he was willing to adjust to my busy schedule… Realizing the limited time at our disposal, he quickly made me relaxed by clearly asking me to help him only in certain chapters and, kept telling me, all through the discussion, that he just wanted me to help him with the basic concepts and the rest he would handle on his own.
And, believe me, as we were still discussing, it was clear that I would go the extra-mile to help this boy. I took him in right away.
The other student was using a reactive vocabulary. He sounded irresponsible, more dependent, not sure if he was willing to give what it took… He gave me a feeling that he ignored my perspective, my busy schedule… kept blaming his earlier teachers, sounded unwilling to be flexible with my schedule… and, yes, even though he had realized that we had less time in hand, he was fussy that I finished his entire portion, and wanted to know if I could give some sort of ‘guarantee’.
And, believe me, he made me very uncomfortable. My patient and gentle explanations and assurances were not good enough to satisfy this young man. Suddenly, my old experiences with such students sprang up to the fore. “It would be like a bottomless pit,” I found declaring even before I could say “Yes” to him.
So, if this is how a teacher like me –
after over three decades of teaching experience,
and years of training, writing, reading
on positive thinking –
feels about two of his students,
I am sure, that most of us do feel so.
I really hope, I am not an isolated case!
Just yesterday, in one of the lectures, I found myself telling the class this: “Your enthusiasm rubs on me; your positive energy would inspire me… I would go the extra-mile to help you.”
And, yes, I saw the faces of the students in that packed classroom… “Yes sir, we understand that!”… this was writ large on their faces.
Negative vocabulary repels. Like a turtle, it makes us close… go into our shells!
Positive vocabulary inspires. Like an eagle, it propels us to unfurl… go beyond the call of our duty.
Hope, it is so for the teachers and the taught, alike!
Pic. Gloria Pinto