Saturday, October 04, 2014

Mehak's Lesson

Mehak is one of the advanced readers in my classroom who demonstrates a high degree of value based leadership and takes immense pride in her team’s and her own learning.

In the month of September 2014, our team was struggling with two out of four fellows in the grade being out of action due to severe illness and the rest of us struggling with our own wellbeing. As a contingency plan, we had to reshuffle fellows among grades 7 and 8 to ensure continuity of learning. Due to the sudden changes in class structures and increased number of students to manage, the quality and quantity of my interaction with my own class fell significantly. I was feeling dejected that I couldn’t finish the term on a high after starting off on a strong footing.

Noticing my mood, Mehak wrote to me a letter. Among the many things she wrote, she mentioned how I was the one who told her “how each chapter links to the vision” and “made her goals more clear”; how I showed her the “importance of friendship” by “caring about people who I have a relationship with”; how she learnt the “importance of putting the same emergency (urgency) in studies as I put in planning”. Lastly she expressed confidence that I will find a way to “make my mind happy again”.

 I had never explicitly taught Mehak about urgency, friendship and compassion. I never asked her for the letter. I realized she was simply mirroring the many things I consistently did for the class through the year. Even while I thought I was mediocre then, Mehak proved to me she was learning the values of grit and commitment.

 Mehak made me realize how being a teacher gave me the power to change the mindset of my students, even when I am at my worst. She showed me a way to be happy again.

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