Monday, October 3, 2011

To Emma, with love


My program manager, Emma, was sitting in front of me in a meeting room at Teach for India office. She asked me a pretty simple question after she had visited my classroom earlier.
“So, you have your daily agenda in the classroom?”
“I used to have”
“Didn’t it work?”
“No. It actually did”
“Then why don’t you have it anymore?”
“I am just focusing my time on other things I guess”
I thought mentally: Somewhere along the line I dropped one good practice I had adapted.
She knew I got the point. She can see on my face I guess. So, she continued to another bullet point

“Your kids seem to be more confident in speaking English. What have you done?”

“I taught them how to make simple present tense sentence first of all, then how to use prepositions and made them practice it through different story books.” I proudly said.

She replied “Don’t you think that after you started speaking more English in your classroom, they have improved?”

I replied “Oh! Yeah may be. No, actually.....surely”

Recently, I have become stricter with myself and have given all instructions in English and that English must be getting out from my kids what is getting in them through me. And Lo! I was giving all credits to my instructions.

Here it was a good practice that I have adapted. J

“So, how do you plan your day?” She continued asking

“I make a note on my previous day and try to write on my notebook what I am going to teach tomorrow and to a little extent, how am I teaching.”

She smiled. She know that I am still a struggling teacher and after listening to what I just said she would have to show some patience here because the way I am planning is nowhere close to what I should be doing. She made a suggestion “Next Friday, let us plan a reading comprehension lesson together and we will co-teach.”

“Oh! What a wonderful way to address this. Instead of giving me talks on how should I be planning etc which she knows that I am already aware of, she is going to give me a one-hour walk-through planning session  on how can I be more efficient and plan more effectively.” I thought

Next she gave me walk-through on the lesson plan she observed.  And we had a good discussion on
the content I delivered.

I walked out of the meeting room completely energized. I was glad I have got a program manager who understands exactly what I need and how I need it. As much as she was sending message across about my areas of improvement, what I like best about her is that she is doing it by extending 100% support and not judging me at my current struggling level and believing (not pretending) that I can improve.And more importantly, making me believe that I can perform at a better level.

“High expectation is a self-fulfilling prophecy” I murmured quoting it directly from the material Teach for India had sent to us before our training began. Once again, at Teach for India, I found an example of practicing what is preached.

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