Teacher of the Week: Aparna Nair, Sharjah Indian SchoolNovember 20, 2017, 5:30 am GMT
SHARJAH INDIAN SCHOOL
Why and how did you get into teaching?
I think teaching has been always in my blood. My mom was a renowned teacher and her role as a teacher has always inspired me to be a better human being. I am professionally trained as an architect, but I figured that as an individual, I have more to give in shaping young minds than being in the corporate world. I fell in love with teaching the very first day I was assigned the role of a class teacher.
How long have you been teaching for?
I have been teaching for the last two and half years.
How did you find your way to working in the Middle East? How long have you been in the region?
I have been in this region since I was born. After completing my studies in the UK and when I felt that my calling was to be a teacher, I got in touch with the school I went to – Sharjah Indian School. Teaching in the same school you studied in is a vibrant experience in itself. I am glad that they were more than happy to accept me into their esteemed organisation.
What is exciting about your role?
I think the best part of the last two and half years in my career is that I have learned a lot from the children. More than their teacher, I think I have been their student. I have been teaching Grade 1, 2 and 3. Their minds and the way they think fascinates me. I strongly believe that they took me back to my innocence, and I don't think any other job can give you such satisfaction. The tangible results to my efforts are almost immediate and children are quick learners.
What is challenging about your role?
Aside from the normal challenges that are there in the classroom such as ensuring that every child's potential is maximised, I don't think there are many. I feel there are more challenges outside the classroom and I feel that teaching profession is highly undermined.
What's the biggest myth about teaching?
That we get a lot of holidays. Most of us are preparing and working even on holidays to ensure that our lesson plans are well scheduled.
Who has been your inspiration throughout your career? Why?
I don't think I can point out one person who has been inspirational throughout my career. From my mom's relentless sincerity in teaching, to my teachers, principals, vice principal, my students, and their parents, everyone has played a significant role in my career so far. The best part about teaching is that everyone around you inspires you in some way or the other. One of the greatest thing I learnt from my teachers and my mom is that once you are committed to teaching, your role doesn't stop in the classroom. Every teacher of mine has continued their grace even outside their classroom. Unlike most of the other jobs where you can shut out once the office doors close, teaching wouldn't let you do that. It becomes a part of you that you tend to nurture overtime and in turn develops you personally to a large extent.
What would you say has been your greatest achievement over the course of your career?
I think my biggest achievement was when one of my media club students, who had already graduated from school and was at university, visited the school and told me that I was a reason he chose to study visual communications. The fact was that he had great potential in photography, but was choosing to study in a field that he thought would yield him a placement in an accountancy firms. I advised him that with his artistic skills he should explore his potential in the visual communication field. I am glad he took up my advice and even more glad to know that he is doing extremely well in his field.
Tell us one way a particular student has impacted your life or teaching philosophy
I find something unique about every student that I teach. But if I were to point out one, I think it would be this time when there was a class assignment set on the topic of happiness. Students were asked to draw something that made them happy. A seven year old boy drew a picture of a bird being let out of the cage and captioned it "happiness is about being free and it's about having the right attitude". It just surprised me so much that had a totally different perspective from that day.
How do you get students interested in the subject you teach – have you found an innovative way to engage students?
I teach art and value education. Luckily, students are already into the subject because kids generally love to paint and draw. But I don't limit my classes to painting alone. I try to make them dance and paint. We have varied assignments in class where we try to sing dance and paint. They have so much energy that they find it very entertaining. I also try to integrate other subjects into my teaching such as stories behind art work, the science of different colours etc.
Are there any specific goals you would like to achieve in your career?
My mom was and still is an inspiration to many, and I hope to be an inspiration to my students. More than anything, I hope to instil a sense of creativity to think outside the box. I would also love to make students understand that art is not just about plain symmetry or neat colouring. The ability to think itself is an art form. I want them to know that we all are artists at the end of the day.
How do you look back on your time in the region so far?
I absolutely love it. We are given the liberty to be free thinkers in our careers and use innovative techniques rather than following a regime. This region has been focusing on providing high quality education and that inspires us to be better teachers.
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