I was very nervous. I didn’t know if I could handle my role effectively. I felt as if I am too small to take up a responsibility as huge as teaching. I feared if I would stand clueless midst of a sea of kids. What if I could not convincingly make them understand the concepts? What if I turn out be a boring teacher and see children yawn in response.
Taking classes for grown up children is never easy. It is even more difficult when most of them would only be 2-5 years younger to me. There may also be some pupil who are as old as I am; at times, even older!
I rehearsed my opening line. I almost mugged it up. I wanted my first impression to be the best. I practiced by addressing an imaginary crowd. Sometimes, I stood in front of mirror to see observe my body language and gesture.
I had plethora of doubts. Should I speak only in English or is it alright if I use the local language too? Should I be friendly or be strict?
Choosing the suitable outfit for the day was even more difficult. A crisp cotton salwar would be too formal; I may end up looking serious and unapproachable. On the contrary, jeans and kurtha may make me look too playful and one among peers. Finally I settled to a Kurtha and leggings – A rather semi serious type - I concluded.
I carry a long History of always being late. I was late on the day of college admission. Ins spite of my Head of the Department’s warning on admission, I was late to class on the first day of college. Yes, I have always been late to classes, exams and office. No, I don’t boast this habit. But, I am just saying that I am habituated to being late. In spite of such a short-coming, I reached my class five minutes before. Though my plan was to be there ten minutes before!
I thought that my students would not have reached. But what would I do? They were not like me. Majority of the pupils were already present. On seeing me, they welcomed me with “Good morning, madam”. I was not prepared for that. I was taken aback.
The presence of students sent shivers through my body. All through my school and college days, I have been trained to do public speaking as a result of which I never fear to address a crowd. I have always been confident enough to talk on any random topic that would be thrown on me.
But that day was different.
I had prepared. I knew my subject. I had rehearsed. I was pretty sure about the opening sentence and the sentences that should follow for at least next half an hour. In spite of that, I was scared like a little mouse.
I looked at the faces of my students. It carried eagerness to learn and to know about me. I stood in the middle of the classroom with around two dozen pairs of eyes staring at me.
I took a deep breath. I smiled. And I said, “Good morning”. And the eight hours that followed fluttered with ease. It was a kind of magic.
And I knew that I have managed to get the best of teaching genes from my mother and paternal grand dad. I knew that I was finally enjoying my profession!
I also knew that it was just a beginning.
After all, as I always say…. Miles to go before I sleep!