My Student Is My Teacher

Ankita Pokharel

The dynamic of a teacher-student duo is commonly characterized as a partnership where one instills knowledge while the other acquires it. A teacher imparts a spectrum of knowledge, ranging from broad to a level that aligns with specific standards. For an individual serving as a teacher, one requires meticulous planning, different ideas and persistent efforts in order to instill the desired knowledge among the students.

Having instructed students of higher secondary to middle level in this last 15 years of my teaching experience, I’ve garnered substantial experience in successfully guiding them to accomplish tasks following my meticulously crafted plans. In fact, it has instilled me a sense of pride and accomplishment within me. Effective instruction, ensuring a clear understanding of the underlying motives, and thorough planning and successful results have been instrumental in cultivating the “I have been doing well in the field” attitude in me. Honestly, the pride within me grew as I stood in favor of commendation, symbolizing the qualities of a good teacher. Ultimately, the surrounding world deemed a good teacher as someone capable of instructing students effectively and guiding them to meet the high standards set by the education board.

I’m not precisely aware what factors led me to decide to teach elementary-level students. It never occurred to me that I would choose to teach at this level as I had surrounded myself with a notion that teachers who instruct at the higher school levels wouldn’t compromise their established images by teaching elementary learners.

I would call it the influence of cosmic forces. I decided to present myself in the realm of elementary education. It emphasizes the point that being an elementary teacher is a significant challenge. It demands immense patience, and diplomatic skills to engage and satisfy the innocent, yet eager minds; ensuring they grasp the intended lesson. Most importantly, it involves immersing oneself in the world of those little ones while maintaining a relatable presence. Sound as it looks within words; I am unable, right now, to express the exact feeling of owning the place. What words do I choose to explain the situation when a rapport, built with significant effort, can quickly shift, necessitating a new strategy to maintain momentum and proceed with the task? The simplicity of a question like, “Ma’am, why can’t it be the other way?” prompts me to engage in brainstorming, ensuring I provide a valid answer that satisfies and motivates the little brains as expected. Those indescribable warmth and joy that come from genuine and affectionate interactions build a special connection that transcends words. The heartfelt eager hugs I receive upon entering the classroom create a welcoming atmosphere that words struggle to capture.

My perception of a teacher changed as soon as I accepted myself to become an elementary teacher. I moved beyond the perception that teaching solely involves imparting knowledge to enable students to achieve success on certificates. It was a stark reality check for me when I realized that assuming my 6-year-old kiddo was merely learning the alphabet and his teachers did not require much of an effort, was a misconception, akin to a slap on the face!

Meeting the needs of eager learners, navigating various parental expectations, and aligning oneself with the ideals of an exemplary teacher posed a considerable challenge in establishing a harmonious balance between each factor that catered to the students within the school.

In the current moment, as I assign tasks to my tiny ones, I occasionally ponder on my evolution from a teacher who merely assigned a pre-planned task to one who brings a task to life. Upon concluding the scheduled session, I find fulfillment in introducing something new to my students. There’s a profound satisfaction within me, believing that I am among those who contribute to shaping lives.

If I choose a single student to symbolize the total cohort: my student has shown me the true essence of teaching. In this dynamic process, I take pride in reversing the roles of the teaching-learning dynamic, as my student transforms into my teacher.