Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Happiness and Tolerance - Maithreyi Venkataraman


Joy Of Learning program will inspire you by using examples of where the
values are already being used by children and adults in schools

An Unhappy Student

Happiness is the most fundamental emotion for a person. If one needs to be happy, they need to learn to realise their distinctive qualities have a sense of self-respect, accept the limitations of their capabilities, and feel joyful.

To learn anything, the learner must be receptive to learning. They are interested and feel inquisitive to know more. There are various ways wherein we, as mentors, make a difference in the lives of the varied students we are a part of. Feeling truly happy makes the student feel receptive and open to learning.

I would like to share a student I have met in my 12 years of experience. This student helped me gain a perspective and confidence that with empathy and understanding, we teachers can truly make a lasting impact on the life of students.

My first interaction with this 15-year-old - The first day I entered his class, among all the mixed curious faces trying to craft their own impression of me – was with a new teacher in their school who had come to teach them English. This one boy was staring out of the window; he caught my attention as it seemed like a challenge to make him willingly turn to my class.

Days passed, and yet this student seemed to remain unhappy, never interested in the class. Despite all attempts at different kinds of activities, nothing seemed to work. Even getting more minor marks made no difference for him.

Determined that I wanted to make this boy happy, I set up a meeting with his parents to understand the reasons for his state of mind. This interaction gave me an insight into the child and his mentality that also helped me understand his actions.

He was a brilliant student but would never respond or participate in class. He would not pay attention as he had grown to believe that other than the two subjects that interest him the most Science and Math, all other subjects were just a waste of time.

Hence, he would remain unhappy in all other subjects. I started talking to the boy and explaining how all subjects are integrated with one another. It was indeed not a one-night wonder. It took months, but there was indeed a gradual improvement.

I included activities where he spoke of the subjects he loved, and happiness started setting in with his interest. Soon by the end of the year, he stood as the highest scorer in my subject and most importantly, he was a very happy boy who had learnt to associate life with his studies.

My learning from this experience, which I wish to share with my fellow colleagues, is that we may form impressions of our students as mentors, but we should never judge them. We must know the reason behind their behaviour. We will certainly be able to help the student and make them happy.

An Intolerable Student

“An intolerable student”, the term itself, I feel, should never be an impression in any teacher’s mind about any student. However, the fact also remains that we all face such an adverse issue wherein we may have to encounter such behaviour in a student.

I cannot share a personal experience as I have never ever categorised any of my students as intolerable or unmanageable. Hence, I shall share my general viewpoint on the subject.

There may be many ways a teacher may label a student as ‘Intolerable’. They may be exhibiting very inappropriate behaviour in class towards their teachers /peers.

They may be disturbing the class to the extent that it is impossible to continue teaching in the class.

There may be innumerable complaints against this student from a teacher and their classmates, and no amount of counselling / or any other strict action aiming to rectify the student’s behaviour seems to change their behaviour.

Any behaviour or issue can never be diagnosed, judged or handled without knowing the reason behind those actions. The reason should not be seen based on any one particular act. Still, other situations and scenarios that might have happened earlier, both at school and at home, should be considered.

A child who is over-pampered at home or a child who has no listener at home will exhibit behaviour to gain attention. Usually, this kind of behaviour reflects a negative outcome.

E.g., The over pampered child has grown to believe that whatever they do is acceptable and may bully a fellow classmate. The child yearning for attention has been raised to think that if they just usually speak, they may never be taken seriously; hence, gaining attention will adhere to inappropriate behaviour like bullying a child. Therefore, the action of both the children though may be the same, but they both cannot be handled in the same manner.

Some of how we can handle the children are first being good unbiased listeners. All children need someone to listen to them without judging them. This will develop their confidence in the teacher; once the bond of trust sets in, the journey of rectifying the child’s behaviour will be very smooth and, most importantly, effective.

My suggestion to all my fellow teachers is never to give up on any child but to give them your time, patient listening, understand the reason for their behaviour and not judge them just on their superficial behaviour. We, teachers, have this innate ability to make that impression in the minds and lives of our students, and we surely can be their guides who will help them become better human beings. 


MAITHREYI VENKATARAMAN
Gyanhsree School, Noida
maithreyi@gyanshree.in
Happy Teachers JOL Cohort 2022
Learning Forward India Academy

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