“I am still learning”
Learning journey, no doubt, starts soon after a life is born. I being no different had been a learner since my childhood. Formal learning happened at my school and college. I also learnt a lot on the job where I worked as a software professional. my greatest influence towards learning and teaching started when I became a mother. I grew as a learner, a teacher, a friend and as a mother with my little one. My passion towards learning and teaching evolved more and more as I got involved with my son’s learning journey. It really transformed my life. I wanted to dig more into the education space and be able to make a difference.However, I had no idea where to begin with. I just had one thing in mind that I should not enter a classroom without getting formally trained as I wanted to do justice to my work. As they say, “Where there is a will, there is a way!!” And this proved so true for me… when IAAT happened for me!
I joined IAAT to get a formal training on how to teach and also to get a job. That was all, what I looked for when I joined. During the info-session, I met a student from the last batch and she told that this course made her a better mom and a better person altogether and that even if one does not get a job, its worth doing this course. Her words really struck me. It was so convincing for me to join the course.
However, at some corner of my heart, I had some fear, which kept me bugging. It was if I would be able to put in my best. Am I really destined to be a teacher? Am I at the right place? All these questions were really bothering me at that time.
My family (i.e. my husband and my parents) really pushed me hard do this course. And finally, I joined this course and began my journey with full dedication and enthusiasm. I cherish a very long list of learnings from the course. And as we all know that roses do come along with thorns.
My IAAT journey can be easily compared to any roller coaster ride which took me through both exciting experiences and difficult times. I would like to share some of the challenges before I share the brighter side of my journey.However, even before I share the challenges, I must say that I not only could overcome them beautifully, but also have shaped up myself to be a better person during the process.
- Challenges started for me right from Junga. I had knee and cervical problem and could never believe that I could climb the hills with 10-12 kg weight on my back. I still remember while coming back from the trek I told Smriti ma’m that I don’t believe I have completed the trek by walking on my foot. I remember I cried during the trek and thought why was I really doing that? Does a teacher really need to do all that? With all these questions in my mind, when I reached the baithak,I saw something written on the board. It was, “There is no limitation except the ones you make”. I just kept looking at it for a few minutes and without saying a word I realized deeply what I learnt from that experience and I will really keep this learning alive within me for life. It was really a life changing experience to me.
- The next big learning also happened in Junga and that was an insight on taking the “First step”. I experienced this during rappelling. I have tried applying this in my real life and it has worked wonderfully well. I have seen that sometimes I feel that a particular task is so difficult and I spend so much time planning for it. No doubt planning is essential, however, taking that very first step shows the path for the next step and so on. I experienced the power of taking the first step during my first OBCO cycle. I was so nervous when we were told that we will be formally observed and that too I will be observed by Smriti ma’m as she is my TE. However, I sat back and thought deeply and relaxed and took the first step and created my lesson plan, rest all things just followed one after the other. After experiencing the power of taking the first step, I really started feeling there is actually nothing which should be beyond my scope of work. So, it was really a life changing experience for me.
- Next, there were teething troubles during my first semester practice sessions and I really felt lost and depressed due to that. I am sure it was not only me but my CT would also have been on a similar boat as me. However, we both being IAATians could sail through the journey effectively keeping the differences aside and focusing on the problems and working towards their solution. I must say that taking that first step in the direction of finding the solution was very helpful. The conflict resolution sessions of Mr Rampal also helped a lot.Conflicts and difference of opinion is very natural whenever 2 human beings work together. It is very important how we approach and resolve them.
- Last, but not the least, my health blocked my way to choke my journey completely. There had been a time when I was almost bed-ridden for a month and had chosen to quit. I was completely shattered seeing that my dreams were just going to be finished and I had lost all hopes. Then God sent an angel who came with her magical words. It was none other than Smriti Ma’m who called me and encouraged me to take as much time as I want but come back and join the course. I don’t know what the magic was in her words that I got my inner strength woken up and I wanted to get well quickly and join back. Though it was a very tough phase of my life, it gave me an insight of the power of selflessness and belief. I will always remember you Smriti ma’m for this gesture of being so selfless and encouraging.
I am thrilled to say that these challenges have made me stronger as a person and have enriched my confidence that it’s the strength to fight challenges that make a person a hero in his or her journey. My IAAT journey will always be a very important phase of my life where each day here brought awesome experiences and insights. It has been extremely rewarding and enriching to be here. It has transformed my thinking about education, learning and teaching wonderfully towards a very positive approach. It has been very interesting to unfold how children learn and how classroom environment affects the learning process. Creating an experience in the learning process sows the seeds of the plant of desire to learn in a child.
Learning never ends. I have a wonderful learning experience with my the children of my class. They are full of energy, innocence and great talents. It was amazing to know that these tiny tots are great teachers.
The program urged me to look inwards, introspect, reflect and come face to face with who I really am. The Mindful Personal Leadership module in the program helped to peel-off the various layers that the rigmarole of life piles on us.The insecurities that plague relationships and the fears that restrict courage, all came outs of their shadows and stood in the light of my newfound understanding of myself. It gave me immense satisfaction as a learner, to learn about myself.
The respect for the teaching profession in my heart has grown many folds. I have experienced the amount of effort that goes behind the scene in planning is tremendous and it is really worth praising.
Learning to reflect has been another important tool that I will cherish for lifetime. It gives me the immense power to see myself and my actions through an imaginary mirror and help myself how I performed. It is helpful not only for teachers, but for every individual, be it a child or an adult. It gives immense internal power to realize our own behavior and actions.
I also experienced the power of collaborating in a learning community. It is very important to work collaboratively to remain alive in the profession.
Another beautiful insight that I have imbibed is that I now try to put myself in the other person’s shoes in any unfavorable situation. Thinking from the other person’s perspective really helps a lot.
As an educator, I have created an ideal teacher in my ideas and dreams who will always be the perfect destination to reach at.
Enhancing the inquisitiveness of the children is very important. Letting them think and respond and not to give them direct answers is also an insight which has helped me not only as a teacher, but mother as well.
Every single day and hour of this course was planned very meticulously. The course contents were really very extensive. It covered everything from story telling to child psychology to Mathematics to Science to Social Science to English,etc. The extensive assignments, the deadlines for submissions, the rubrics, the Lead Teach Week – everything that I did here is worth applying, not only in the classroom but also in the real life.
The list of my learning experience is long and endless. I came here just to become a teacher and I am feeling so enriched that I am getting short of words to express my feelings. I am deeply thankful to each one of you sitting here, my mentors, teachers and my family who have supported me and enabled me complete my IAAT journey successfully. This is not an end definitely, but a beginning to a new and bright future where I will always cherish saying that