Memoirs of Teaching Assistant internship…
When I was at uni (2nd year), I saw it on the notice board that the govt. is running a teaching assistant internship scheme wherein uni students can go and work as a teacher assistant in a nearby school. They could decide the days and subjects with the school. This was all to promote graduates to take up teaching as a career for there is dire need of (good)teachers in schools.
With me, I had always been in and out of teaching as a “profession”,if you would like to call it. As soon as I finished school, two of our neighbourhood kids’ moms dropped them at our place and told me if i could just teach them while I wait for my Year 12 results and before I join uni. I was cool with it. While they used to struggle to even clear the passing score in their exams, they’re aceing it now. This not only made their parents happy but I loved the fact that they’re both enjoying studying now on their own and didn’t need me anymore.
So, going back to the advertisement on the notice board, I applied for it straight away without giving it a second thought and I got through. I started working with a local school & took Maths and Computer Science as the subjects which I’d like to assist with.
One day, we’re showing a presentation on Pandas in a computer class to the kids. One of the little girl goes “Aww, if they are dying, I am going to tell my parents to adopt one of them on my birthday this year so we could save it.” I was standing there overhearing this conversation between them two friends and I wished her innocence always remained intact like this even when she grows up. (Even as grown-ups we always have something to learn from the kids.)
Then I had Maths class with Year 4 or 6 (i can’t remember exactly) and then another one with Year 9.
There was a group of friends in the Year 9 class. One of them would not pay any attention to the class at all, would not do any of the tasks given. So, one day, I talked to her to understand what’s wrong. She goes “I don’t want to study..As soon as I am 21, I just want to marry and have kids.” I was like “ There is nothing wrong in getting married and having kids but you want to be a good mom who can guide your kids and take care of them. For that you need to be well-educated.” She goes “But i don’t like this Maths teacher, she always shouts at us and is never caring towards us.” Somehow I just managed to convince her that I’ll help her with Maths and she doesn’t have to worry about that teacher. She actually started studying in the class after that. I made sure she had all the attention and help to get things done. Such is the power of little bit of love and care. Infact, when it was my last day of the internship, I made her promise that she would study.
Now comes the story of these little angels from Year 6. It was three of them friends. One of them was just “mini-me” and she always reminded me of how naughty i used to be in my school days and I used to be a favourite of all my teachers. Infact, they’d let everyone go without punishment if i was in the group of discipline breakers, that’s how much they loved me ;) …#goodoldschooldays.
Among those three girls, there was one who always looked lost and found lacking confidence because the pace at which she finished her work was way slower as compared to the whole of the class. So, I started working with her. Setting small targets which were not same as the entire class. This gave her sense of achievement and down the road she actually started getting involved with things in the class. She would get up to distribute books and other things in the class. I really wanted to see this happen before my internship finished and it did happen. I was so proud to see her achieve that.
There was a funny incident as well which happened in one of the classes. The girls were like “Teacher, we love you nails (and long hair).” I was like “shush and pay attention to the lecture.” Probably the teacher heard and he thought I was distracting the kids and told me to assist the other teacher instead (lol!) #memories.
While all these experiences taught me a lot about how schools (read as teachers)can shape the life of students and nations, it also gave me a good friend. I became friends with one of the Computer Science teachers.
…this is not where it stopped giving back. When I nailed my internship interview with AXA Investment Managers later on, I asked my manager what made her decide I was the right candidate. She goes “You dealt with kids(teenagers) at school…. and if you can handle kids, you can handle anything in this world. I am a mother to two teenage girls and I know what it is like.”
PS: Teaching has always been my hobby. Even though I could never take it up as full time profession, I keep practicing it in different forms in my other jobs.