Have you ever seen the wonderment with which a child observes a butterfly, a bird, a rock or a flower? Everything is a new and exciting experience for him. They are eternally fascinated and delightfully spontaneous. They do not analyse and work everything out. They are just busy “being”.
Teaching has given me the opportunity to be re-acquainted with the magic of childhood. There is so much to learn from children. I admire them for various reasons. For one, they know how to laugh. They don’t need much to laugh at. Sometimes they don’t need anything at all! Then, they are very accepting. A child is not concerned by your religion or your politics. He accepts you regardless of whether you are pretty or ugly, fat or thin, rich or poor, black or white.
They accept people or circumstances until we teach them not to. We adults are the ones who complain about everything; the weather, relatives, colleagues, bosses, politicians—and just about anything. Then there are times when I’m stunned and envious of their honesty. “You are getting grey hair ma’am. Now you are old!!” Or, “You had promised us a free period but you didn’t give it, you are a liar.” I don’t remember when was the last time I could be so brutally honest!
As a teacher, I observe senior children working in teams, giving suggestions, coming to a consensus even if it means giving up their original idea. They share everything, their English notes, lab coats, sorrows, joys and lives with so much ease that I feel elated and disconcerted all at once.
There are times when they question our hypocrisy. The other day a senior student stunned me: “Ma’am, since our resources are limited, why can’t we share them with others? Why can’t our school premises be used in the evening for classes for the less fortunate children?” I, a so-called ‘advocate’ of conserving and judiciously using our resources, had never thought of it. I did not have the magnanimity to say “yes, why not?”