Sunday, April 2, 2017

WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?







Today is ‘WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY’.  But, like so many around me, who are in their own world - that is, who are exceptionally aware when it comes to a ‘Valentine Day’, a ‘Friendship Day’, a ‘Rose Day’ or a ‘Traditional Day’, but oblivious when it comes to a day like ‘WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY’ – yes, I was unaware of this day until a dear-old student of mine, Atreyi, reminded me about it through her FB post. She had written:

“I have been a teacher for the past four years and before plunging into this career'', I wasn't sure what all it entailed. It has certainly been an enjoyable expedition since I walked in the class on 1st April'13 as a class teacher. There has been no looking back since.

However, today, I am here to share my journey with the autistic children I have taught. They have made me become a better human being every second of my interaction with them.

For the world at large, a little request: start understanding them as they need adjustment and not sympathy from us. They are large-hearted, super-smart, have, sometimes, THE MOST INNOVATIVE IDEAS, very objective and can melt your heart in seconds.

I thank the Universe for the moment I planned to teach so that I could learn...

So friends, let's celebrate ‘World Autism Awareness Day’ together.”

Atreyi made me feel guilty!

A year ago, I had the privilege - I said ‘privilege’, and I mean it – of teaching a young-man who, at the end of my teaching assignment with him, had left me a lot humble and teachable in life! I had written a couple of Blogs when this special soul was under my tutelage (Sorry, when I was under his!). I would like to re-post one of them, today…


WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?

In my teaching experience of over thirty-five years, I have a long, strong and even damning record of ‘shouting’ at my students while teaching. Well, I believe I am a good teacher… I also do not mind indulging in some self-glorification: I am a great teacher, too!

Teachers shout at their students, they do scream… become angry, agitated… sometimes, even violent.

They should not, I know… I do become extremely intense while teaching… speak angrily when I see indifference and irresponsible attitude in my students… I use piercing words; I even try to demolish their arrogance with my own super-arrogance… So, what I do at such time is: I try to ‘suppress’ them   or mute them with my intimidating words!

What surprises me the most is this: In so many years, I haven’t encountered even a single student – mind you, they are young college students – who has rebelled and shouted back at me saying, “Why are you shouting?”

Yes, I haven’t heard it from any student, ever in these over thirty-five years of teaching…

Probably, they think I am truly a good teacher…  

Honestly, I don’t like shouting and yelling in the class. Forget my students not liking it… I said, I myself don’t like to shout at them…

“Tell me frankly… and don’t get scared,” I asked a young student of mine the other day when we were in good spirits… when there was peace… “Do you dislike my shouting?”

“No sir, never,” the young man did not even blink before saying so, “You shout for our good.”

“Would you have said this had I asked the same question immediately after shouting?” I wanted to know what he thought.

“No sir, my answer would have been the same… You should shout when we make mistakes. You should correct us.”

I pulled the young man close to me and gave a tight hug saying softly, “Thank you dear.”

Recently I have been teaching a 19-year-old student who suffers from the disorder of autism. I teach him separately and, it is a real challenge for an intense person like me to control my urge to raise my voice while teaching… I have learnt to let go all my demands when it comes to this young boy, who is exceptionally disciplined… but, has the problem of doing basic calculations, and logical approach to solving problems… He learns in his own special ways, which I am learning to understand… I am learning to frame rules that suit this boy… I am learning to drop all my demands… keep a happy, smiling face while teaching… never ever to shout and scream at him… That’s a very humbling lesson to me in life… Very empowering as well…

Yet, now and then, if I slightly raise my voice, I will immediately get it back from him:
“Sir, why are you shouting?”

“No beta, I am not ‘shouting’… I am only telling you little ‘loudly’,” I try to calm him and me down…

This boy has been sent in my life by God, after decades, just to remind: “Look, you do not have to shout for every small reason… every now and then.”

So, what is happening these days in my class (regular students) is this: In the midst of my shouting bouts, I hear the conscience-keeping words:

“WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?”


GERALD D’CUNHA

Pic.: Internet



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