Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The impossible said I am possible

It has been six months when I became a teacher. I was imperfect with everything I did. My delivery never matched my planning. My planning never matched my ambition. The teacher's job was the hardest job I have ever done. I classified myself at novice in Teaching As Leadership rubric. I would be anxious in the classroom, sometimes without answers to my own questions. I would go to city conference and wonder how much more I have to do when I was still stuck with getting  basics right. I fell behind from my own ambitions.

My co-fellow Nakul who teaches grade 3 and I would discuss and try to adapt ourselves to the new challenges of everyday. Sometimes our efforts were wasted because of our short-sightedness and sometimes we will just take too much pressure. But we were dreamers all the time. We had chosen as one of our qualitative goals to  help our students appear in a National Level Exam. We found one exam in which both grade 2 and grade 3 students could appear. We saw a snapshot of sample paper and we enrolled around 50 students from both the classrooms in NSTSE. We believed in equal opportunity so we allowed all students to enroll despite being aware of their preparedness for the exam - few of them were not yet ready.

This was month of October during which we started reaching out to all resources for helping our students to prepare for the exam. The exam was on 4th December. When we saw the previous year paper, we were shocked. We thought we had done a mistake. I remember saying to Nakul that even brightest child in my classroom cannot score more than 3 in this paper.

The impossible was right in front of our eyes. We were expecting students to find out a three digit smallest odd number when they just recently learned about a three digit number and not even began to learn Science. We faced dilemma of improving chances of brighter students or taking along everyone and improving little by little. We were sometimes faced with impossible choices of teaching progressively or teaching with high expectations prophecy. 

But we forgot that our students are dreamers too and they proved us wrong. They worked hard. Their parents worked hard. I would spend morning assemblies standing out of the school listening to parents’ stories about the disciplined schedule students have created for themselves. This was thrilling and it motivated us more. It inspired Nakul and me to collaborate better. We will sometime shuffle enrolled students in extra classes so that students who have a steeper learning curve are in one classroom - Nakul's or mine's and we provide adequate intervention to others. I will spent a working day to teach students who were not enrolled in the exam and Nakul will teach students who did. Those were hard days. We were insomniac, starved and exhausted. But occasionally the thrill of receiving awesome responses from students kept us going.

The day which surpassed every thrill was the day just before the exam. Students were giving us answers to word problems that we never thought we will even teach them. From statistics to science, students were ready for everything. This 5th Jan, results were out. The lowest marks in our classrooms is 10 and highest 51 out of 75. Most of the students have scored around 40-60%. This has been an impossible outcome for us! :-)