Teacher's Corner

Cassandra Clare (the famous American author), “One must always be careful of books and what’s inside them, for words have the power to change us”.

So lets us celebrate the spirit of love, brotherhood & friendship for World Peace!

This month the library invites one & all to read some good books on love & friendship...


Teaching is no less than having a great superpower. The profession is demanding, inspiring and fulfilling in various ways. You touch many lives over the years and leave an impact that is hard for any individual to match. Yet there are days when one feels like almost giving it all up. Why? Because kids today are irrelevant, the pay is insufficient or the passion for the profession doesn’t exist anymore. How do you keep yourself inspired? Sometimes revisiting the reason and qualities that brought you here in the first place gives a certain amount and within-reflecting on one’s work brings back the focus.

For example, do you remember the first day of class when you were brimming with passion and energy? One of the most important qualities of a great teacher is that he/she is passionate about teaching and working with children. There is excitement about influencing student’s lives and understanding the impact. But this starts with deep understanding of children. One should ideally make the attempt to know one’s students-really care about who they are and what their needs include. Stephen D. Brookfield in his book The Skillful Teacher writes: “we may exhibit an admirable command of content and possess a dazzling variety of pedagogical skills, but without knowing what’s going on in our students heads that knowledge may be presented and that skill exercised in a vacuum of misunderstanding“.

Understanding students also means adapting to their ways of being today. Teaching the new generation of digital natives means constantly updating one’s own knowledge. While teacher might have started their professions without the need for knowing the world of computers, Google or Smartphones, one has to stay in touch with technology to reach out to students. Using youtube videos in the class to elucidate a subject or encouraging a facebook group to stir a discussion become new forms of pedagogy that teachers can engaged in.

When it comes to getting to know your students, patience is crucial. There might be one student in the class who is really slow to learn but what if the student suffers from some learning disability? In the process of completing the syllabus, one might over look a student with a learning disability, but take out the time to give special attention for such student. Teachers should give them the correct tools to learn and advice the parents of the student as well.

Reinventing the pedagogy of your subject can also lead to the renewed sense of purpose. Innovation is it with newness. As a teacher who deals with the pattern that seems comfortable a familiar. But the material may not be relevant anymore or you might need a certain twist for a particular class/student. You could innovate in your pedagogy or just introduce new exercises in the class to make it interactive.

Every profession has its own unique set of challenges and teaching is no different. At every stage of being a teacher, the challenges are different. When you are starting out, the challenges could be being overwhelmed with the demands on you by the students and the school management. At a latest stage the problems could be about lagging passion, boredom or a sense of disillusionment. When these issues arise, one could speak to fellow teacher or older one who have already gone through this phase and can give you some practical advice.

Most of the time, teaching is an act of giving. So it can get pretty exhausting to be the one giving time, knowledge, care and advice. Sometimes it can be overwhelming too. So take that time out to reflect on the impact you have had on your students and learn to value what you have contributed to society.

Firstly, why does a parent find it difficult to say NO to a child? I wish the answer were a simple one, ‘s/he loves it and w to be wants it to be happy’. Those who have children or interact with them known that this is not the case. I would like to propose that the main reason why a parent cannot say to no to a child is lack of will. The child is going to protest and the parent does not have the energy, time or will power to encounter it. When a child makes a reasonable request or demand it is a natural that we adult consider it with a respect and attention it deserves and either gratify it or express regret in a polite and civilized way. Just as we would offer an explanation to an adult, we owe the child one too. The same is applicable to teachers.

Treating a child with respect is essential for a healthy relationship. If we hear out the child and understand the demand, we can engage in a meaningful dialogue with him/her. An outright NO can be as harmful as an immediate YES. If we are able to explain why something cannot be bought or given at that time, or in future, the child is likely to understand. It is actually useful to make an inventory of wishes that can or cannot be fulfilled. If this list is explained and shared with the child, things will be easier. Negotiations on how the demand can be adjusted so that it becomes a reasonable one, are also useful. To illustrate, if a teenager with a newly earned driving license wants to go on a long drive alone, understandably, there will be parental anxiety, but a deal can be struck whereby s/he can be given the wheel on a family trip or on a short trip to the grocery store. That becomes a modified response, neither an outright yes nor a no.

If we regard children as independent entities who have their own place in the world, we will see that they need to be respected and given their freedom. This attitude can guide our actions, as early as possible. Feeding an infant on demand must lead to letting a teenager decide a quantity of food he requires. This is not to be mistaken for a complete lack of regard for nutritional needs. Once again, negotiations and discussion of what food is both tasty and nutritious can ease the tension that so many parents face. However, the sad fact that is few parents have the time to spend on such transactions with their children. Schools can bring in clarity and awareness on this issue, thus empowering parents.

In India the situation is grim, we have more cases of youth slipping into depression, suicide, personality disorders yet there is a denial of mental health problems. There is a huge need for creating more awareness for mental health and set preventive processes and institutions to reach out.

We don’t think twice about seeing a doctor for physical pain. Why should our approach to treating emotional pain be any different? Everyone at some stage in their lives, is likely to be faced with life challenges and situations that seem overwhelming. Being in this situation can have a debilitating effect on your emotional and physical well-being, leaving you feeling lost, isolated and unable to cope with work, family, relationship and life in general.

At first, many people feel reluctant or embarrassed to make the first move in contacting a counselor for help. They feel afraid of being judged negatively and therefore, continue to feel helpless and isolated. However, when a person experiencing emotional pain turns to a Counsellor for help it shows they have the courage, honesty and intelligence to look after themselves and get the professional support they need.

Disorders that are being diagnosed more frequently and have gained attention:-

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Autism
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social Phobia

In this article I would like to particularly talk about most common mental health issues in young people.

Depression can affect anyone, but some young people are more likely to become depressed if: a close relative has suffered from depression or they have suffered a major life stress or several stresses. Major life stresses can include family separation, loss of a parent, child abuse, bullying, academic failure, relationship break-up or moving school. Depression may also be triggered by something that seems relatively minor or occur for no obvious reason.

Signs of Depression
A young person with depression may show some of the following signs:-

  • Loss of interest or enjoyment in usual activities.
  • Changed eating patterns with weight gain or weight loss.
  • Sleeping problems.
  • Low energy levels.
  • Poor concentration with school work or other things.
  • School refusal
  • Loss of interest in being with friends
  • Not wanting to go out.
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless.
  • Being sad or tearful.
  • Being angry or irritable lot of the time.
  • Feeling guilty and to blame for the things going wrong.
  • Increasing drug and alcohol use
  • Self-harm
  • Not taking care of appearance or hygiene
  • Constant headache, stomachache or other physical pains
  • Carelessness about physical safety
  • Having thoughts about being better off dead or that life is not worth living
  • Preoccupation with death and suicide
  •    What caring adults-parents or teachers can do

When young people are suffering with depression they are not always able to ask for help or may even refuse your help at times. This can leave you feeling helpless or rejected.

It is important that you:-

  • take time to listen .create opportunity for this to occur and show that you are available fo them.
  • Take their feelings seriously, particularly talk about society.
  • Show your support. this doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything your child does or wants to do, but young people need to know that you still love them no matter who they are or what they do.
  • Encourage them to seek help. provide a list of contacts for them to choose frome
  • If they won’t agree to see someone and you are really worried, go by yourself first and get some advice about how to do best handle the situation.
  • The first aid in such situation would be counseling and guidance

Counseling provides an opportunity for you to progress towards the most satisfying and resourceful way of living. it opens the door to understanding personal emotional problems and conflicts.

The national institute of mental health (NIMH) has made a substantial commitment to research designed to discover mental health issues, its causes and improved diagnosis and treatment.

Some proactive steps to be taken by school and colleges to improve mental health:-

  • Set up a positive psychology counseling centre in school.
  • Train a group of teachers to be pastoral counselors
  • Conduct psycho-educational workshop for parents

We see it in the parents who would do anything for their kids, but who often fight their mental health battle alone-afraid that reaching out would invite judgement or reflect badly on them. And we see it in tragedies that we have the power to prevent. It is time parents and mental health professionals join hand paving the way for prevention, recover and cure.