Teacher Training Institutes work hard teaching the best workable methods and strategies for teaching all subjects. They inculcate in their students theories and philosophies that would guide the novice teachers make right decisions in the real life classrooms. But the real nitty-gritty of teaching is learnt when one finally steps into a classroom.
When I started teaching 1990, 4 years after completing my B-Ed degree, I really didn’t know the ropes. All the theories floated in front of my eyes and I couldn’t decide which applies where, which one to choose and which to discard... I was lost in the novel situations arising every single moment of my day. I juggled with my knowledge and practise like a novice juggler, dropping balls here and there... I didn’t give up; and that is why I am still teaching and enjoying my job.
One incident, which will give you a glimpse of what was happening, is related to the use of Black Board.
In my big, spacious, well-lit classroom I had a board which was about 2 and a half meter long. It was too long I realised later.
During the first week of my teaching career I was enthusiastic about everything; I still am by the grace of God. I was enthusiastic because I had to write on the board. I neatly drew the margin on the left of the board and wrote the instruction: Fill in the blanks with suitable words. I explained what it meant to my class I, 56 boisterous girls.
After explaining I wrote the sentences carefully and as neatly as possible on the board. When I turned around some of them were just staring at the board and some were trying their best to search the word they had to write. Any way soon the period got over and I collected all the notebooks for checking.
Filled with excitement I sat at a corner in the staffroom to mark the notebooks. To my dismay, when I opened the notebook I saw words dashing from one page to the other... “What is this? These students don’t even have the sense of a page?” “How can I teach them anything?” With tears in my eyes I showed the notebook to my helper teacher.
She wasn’t shocked at all. She calmly asked, ”Did you make a page on the board?” I said, “No!” And then it all dawned to me.
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