A Teacher’s Experience

In the photo: Tara Pulami Magar participating in the activity for the Nurturing empathy, critical thinking and considered action workshop. The workshop was facilitated by the Word Warriors, Canopy Nepal and Project Sarangi.

A teacher is a person who helps others acquire knowledge, competencies and values. She is the one who drives education and encourages the striving for greatness. Most teachers love what they do. For me personally, teaching is the best job because I have gotten respect and status in my locality. I enjoy every part of my job. It has its ups and downs but on the whole it is fulfilling. I help youngsters complete school with decent grades and know they have a brighter future waiting for them.

Teaching is not an easy job as people outside this profession perceive it. It is a highly complex task. Schools with quality education bring together different minds from different background to fulfill big dreams. There is a thin line between innovation and imposition when it comes to classroom teaching. Teachers ought to teach children by understanding their psychology. Teachers need various resources and ideas for giving knowledge and enhancing their skills to fulfill the students’ dreams. If they don’t get resources according to the demand sof the times, the teacher feel frustrated and might even have to resort to changing their profession. I’ve felt this way at times during my five years teaching.

I decided to be a teacher when I was in grade six. I noticed how important a teacher’s presence can be in a student’s life. I thought if students become proactive, they will be able to memorize what they have learned and use the knowledge and skills practically. Personally I was not content with my teachers and their teaching methods back in my school days. I don’t think any of my teachers ever went for teacher development trainings and so their teaching methods also never improved. Therefore, I was determined to be a role model teacher and teach my students with proactive skills and knowledge after finishing my higher studies. I finally started as a lower secondary level teacher when my BA classes were still running. As a teacher of English and Social Studies, I utilized all available resources to help my students bloom. But in some corner of my heart I began to feel dissatisfied with my teaching. In my opinion, bookish knowledge and rote learning is not enough to teach students. To make them a good human, we the teachers, need to keep making innovative efforts.

 

In the photo: Tara Pulami Magar attending the ‘Learning begins at home: Making education relevant and meaningful’ workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Book Bus, Nepal Picture Library, Habeli Outdoor Learning Center, Niranjan Kunwar and KU Center for Art and Design.

My career began as a lower secondary teacher at Gorkhali English Boarding school in 2066 B.S. I gained a lot of skill and experience from  that year. Later, I joined Valley Public School in 2070 B.S. and taught there till 2073 B.S. The school used to invite various facilitators to provide trainings to their teachers. In one such training, an Australian government educator named Julien Howthrone taught us ways to make our students more creative and imaginative. She gave us the idea to teach by dramatizing the content. I have used that technique in my classroom many times. It always works with the children. Julien also taught us about letting our students hypothesize what the title and the lesson is about before the getting directly into the lesson. This helps build curiosity and makes it easier to get them to focus.

Currently, I am a teacher at Swarnim School and I am still utilizing the same ideas. I believe it is helping my students engage with their studies. Just a few months ago, the principal of Swarnim school sent me to participate in the Innovation in Education Fair 2018. There, I took part in three days of teachers’ training. I found it was a wonderful platform to explore creativity in the classroom.

Creativity is critical to solving complex challenges. We need to build a culture that sparks inspiration and collaboration. IEF was a platform that supported teachers by focusing on innovative practices that can be incorporated in a classroom and aimed at building better relationship between organization and schools. The Fair strives to make teachers more capable to tackle everyday challenges of the classroom more creatively.

IEF focused on fostered learning environments. For this purpose we needed to be involved in such platforms. The Fair provided trainings through skillful and well experienced professionals working in the field of education. I recommend all the teachers and schools to partake in future editions of Innovation in Education Fair. The experience encourages you to think creatively through the workshops given by interactive facilitators.

The inquiry based learning method to teaching and theater workshops were highly appreciated. Literature and language teachers can follow these methods to make their class interactive and fun. The STEAM workshops provided in the fair aimed at making teachers proactive. I liked all these ideas and have started to follow them in my classes. My students have become more energized and I believe such exposures builds their confidence. I hope in the coming days IEF will share more skills and methods to make me more active and more responsible. Moreover, it has given me a lot of ideas to tackle the challenges of my job through its workshops and presentations from different professionals.

In the photo: Tara Pulami Magar participating in the activity for the ‘Learning begins at home: Making education relevant and meaningful.

It is also very important that the teachers have a good sense of humor and the ability to think like their students. They must also be comfortable dealing with a wide variety of personality and ability but at the same time treat all the students equally. It can be challenging but when we witness the difference we make in a child’s life it is really one of the best rewards we could ask for. But also, the school itself and some organizations should conduct some motivational training or send their teachers for training which can make them better in their jobs.

Sometimes teachers can get frustrated and stressed when dealing with difficult students, large classes and heavy workloads. They sometimes even have to deal with unruly behavior and violence from students. In addition to this, schools in inner cities and poor communities are often run down and lack much needed resources. I have learned a lot about myself as a teacher both from getting experience in teaching as well as from participating in training like Innovation in Education Fair. I feel more confident as a teacher.

On my first day as a teacher, I was uncomfortable even speaking in front of small groups despite my childhood determination of becoming a teacher. I could remember very well as a child studying in grade six, my father had opened a boarding school in our village area where I used to go for my breaks and helped teach small children the A,B,Cs. I had felt very happy to be able to teach them despite being a shy kid. I used to observe the teachers teaching the kids and I used to come up with ideas on how the teaching could be better.

Now I am happy being a teacher. I am better able to multitask while lecturing. I am able to dynamically interact with my students in both formal and one-to-one interaction. But I still want to improve and be more creative when it comes to designing alternative assignments. I am excited to grow and learn as a professional teacher for many years to come. Teaching is definitely a learning process.

In my opinion, teachers should strive to build strong communication with parents in order to make their students more creative and practical. Teachers should use modern technology for improving their partnership with parents to support student learning. But unfortunately many teachers have not been trained in nor are they practicing proactive communication with parents and students. So I actively seek opportunities like the Innovation in Education Fair. I believe if a majority of the teachers get similar exposure our country can develop faster and move towards prosperity.

Written by Tara Pulami Magar. Tara is an English teacher in Swarnim School for Grade 6 and 7. She attended the three days of Innovation in Education Fair 2018 that was open to educators.

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