Reflections: There’s More than Meets the Eye

 

A teacher’s concern, love, thoughts, and actions that nurture children are rarely ever ‘captured’. Goes without saying that stories have forever been instrumental in moulding cultures and societies! Reflections- Teachers’ Stories in their own Words, launched in February 2015, is a space where teachers can speak their minds, share tales from their lives and their classrooms so that everyone can appreciate what they do and learn.

Why Care?

  • Teacher-to-Teacher Connect: Personal stories foster learning from each other’s examples, enable exchange of ideas and establish deeper connection with teaching.
  • Adds depth: Researchers get in-depth knowledge. We can perhaps hope to get a more representative realistic image of the teachers.
  • Improve PTA Experiences: Parents could appreciate what some teachers do. It is heartening to learn that some teachers do go to great lengths to ensure a joyful learning experience.
  • Surprise for everyone else who has any pre-set notions about teachers.

Come to think of it, there isn’t quite anyone like the teachers! Teachers are the frontrunners in our education system; the progresses our children make in schools (and beyond) are solely dependent on the quality of our communication with them. They have a huge task and tremendous pressure under which to deliver upon their responsibilities. Yet we know so little about them and their views. To top this lack of knowledge, little do we know that there are heroes and role models in the teaching fraternity who successfully defy the prevalent wisdom of the day, which portrays teachers as overburdened, de-motivated and passive recipients of information. It is only reasonable for us – educationists, researchers, parents, individuals, civil society- to know the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of what they do:

How to Capture these Reflections?

That’s a good question! Teachers have no time; why would they care to share their stories with us, that too via a medium (technology) they don’t much like? Hence, the apparent challenge was in getting ‘the powerhouse of knowledge’ to write. With minimal chance of receiving even a handful of stories, we doubled the challenge by launching Reflections at the worst possible time- Final Exams!! Thankfully, this round was a pilot. We were so sure of receiving a scanty response that we were thrilled with just about 10 odd entries!

Lo and behold, they just kept trickling in by the dozen. Reflections stopped at 52 beautiful stories/essays from teachers’ lives, written by them. No, these were not just from the English language teachers but also from the teachers of Hindi, Sanskrit, Maths, Chemistry, Social Sciences, Geography, and Biology.  Obviously, we were overwhelmed and encouraged by their beautiful stories.

The stories were then evaluated to arrive at the winners (remember, it’s a writing contest). Nectar is proud to publish these unique stories under a special sub-category for them, obviously by the name Reflections. It is as heartening to read each of these real stories from real teachers, as it is to read some fantastic comments by other teachers. This is the true power of technology! It makes boundaries non-existent, renders physical connect obsolete in the path of learning and paves the way for a virtual community from the so-called tech-averse group.

Day 1 of Result Announcement: 3 of top-10
Day 1 of Result Announcement: 3 of top-10

 

In summary, Reflections:

  1. Gets us some great stories of change: Everyday problems need simple actions to solve; teachers do that all the time; we just don’t know what they do. Story of Little Johnny, of ALICE, passion for Psychology, compassion for slow learners, their appreciation of exam fevers, and of little innovations, use of technology to name just a few.
  2. Offers a platform for the Teachers to speak their minds, inspire and network: Healthy constructive communication among the teaching fraternity implies a deeper connection with the process of teaching.
  3. Helps empathise with the Teachers: Gives us a glimpse into their minds and lives so we can see what drives them or the challenges they face (for those who care).
  4. Enliven moments and live forever, in the hearts of others!
  5. Shows how savvy the teachers really are! The real handicap is lies around the right motivation.
  6. Shows their sense of commitment: They deliver on their responsibilities by sometimes going out of their way.

Teachers, keep sharing! We love your stories.