Soliloki

Prosaic soliloquies performed by a quixotic person

Posts Tagged ‘bozo the clown

A Learning Teacher

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‘And class, that what is of the meaning phrasal verbs is…of…um…means.’

Never cease to amaze me how naturally eloquent I can be at times. Simply amazing.

My first gig as a tutor started last year, and truthfully, I was terrible. Initially, I’d reservations about teaching kids; be it primary- or secondary-schoolers. And simply because, teaching means talking to kids, and I’d never been good with them. Like, really bad. Not Michael Jackson bad, but the other kind. Any sort of communication with the much-younger MTV generation made me feel nervous and very awkward. So naturally, questions that the masses might think silly but I deemed of the utmost importance, kept lingering in my mind: Should I address myself as Ms. Sharifah, or simply Cikgu? How should I react if they get unruly--tell them off (but that’d make me unpopular in class), or act cool and go along with them (this is so middle-aged-men-who-are-fifty-going-on-twenty-one)? How can I make the subject interesting, and would playing hangman or charades be a good idea?

I remember my very first class, and it was English for the upper-secondary level. I was feeling pretty pumped up and nervy at the same time, and this proved to be a bad emotional combo, because what I did and how I portrayed myself in the class was an epic fail. The kids were perplexed by my overly-upbeat persona (imagine: doped-up Bozo the Clown) that they kept glancing nervously at each other probably thinking, ‘Is she for real?’

Bozo the Clown: HI, KIDS! HOW ARE YA? I’M MS. SHARIFAH, Y’ALL’S TUTOR FOR THIS YEAR! ISN’T THAT EXCITING? OMG, I CAN DO MAGIC TRICKS, YA KNOW! LIKE, TOTES MAGOTES! YAY!

Class:

But oddly enough, they seemed content having me as a tutor and didn’t request for change of class. And there was quite a number of new students enrolled for my classes even. So I supposed I was pretty alright…or perhaps the new kids were just plain intrigued by word-of-mouth anecdotes about a teacher-turned-circus-clown. Personally, I’d like to think the former.

I’m not sure how good a teacher I am now, but it seems the students like me enough. As much as I want to be well-liked and respected by them, I’ve now come to realize that popularity should be treated as a minor variable in the equation. And it’s not about trying  to be ‘one of them’, it’s just about being myself. As banal as it sounds, there’s undeniably some truth to it. The road to engaging with and inspiring students to rise to their full potential can take many twists and turns in a lifetime. Teaching can still be awkward and challenging for me sometimes, even after a year of teaching students. Even though I’ve come a long way since I started teaching, I still have a long way to go. Yes, I’ve got the hang of things now, alḥamdulillāh, but I’m still a work-in-progress. And I don’t mind being a WIP…after all, aren’t we all?

Written by SZA

19 March 2013 at 11:01 PM

Posted in Work

Tagged with , ,