Somewhere amidst the rat race we cross the boundaries of healthy competition. This is when things get nasty and about time we call it ‘quit’. Until sometime ago I had been chanting ‘B-E AGGRESSIVE’ rather solemnly too. With all the grade pressure I hardly felt the need to participate in extra curricular activities and sometimes even easily gave up on academics. We all know ‘tiger mom’ strategy, it was how we were brought up and by the looks of it, it is here to stay.
Last week an old classmate visited me. He had definitely grown a lot more and looked more stressed out than I could ever remember seeing him. It turned out he was struggling with the grade war, SAT and college application hunt simultaneously. One look at the gravity of of the situation and out went the healthy competition. His shudder of sheer disgust from getting’ ‘lowly grades’ (as he classified every result below A) is a common student nightmare.
Despite the stress to indulge in athletics or sports, once the PE class is over the real race begins and rather too furiously this time too. Yes, the competition is cut-throat but exactly when you thought it wasn’t all about being studious, you learn that its exactly what one is taught about!
So we caught up and by the time we came to current occupation, he had totally lost me. By the summer of 2010 I’d begun tutoring my first ever group of students while studying for my A levels.By 2011,I was securing far better results and had successfully evolved from a shy studious girl to a person with more pragmatic view towards academics. My teachers commented on how my participation in class had sky-rocketed within a span of a year. Not surprisingly my social circle took a head start and varied to a whole lot of people from different age groups. Even better I understood what it meant to see the real side of the picture too earning money and teaching are strenuous tasks.
While it took away my leisure time it gave me my very own earnings, so from being a slack to financial savvy it was an arduous but fruitful ride. Now instead of being elevated from latest gadgets saving schemes interest me comparatively more.
Everyday our world is becoming a more competitive planet, where there is no place for errors and efficiency is the only guaranteed recipe against being sidelined, shy and faint hearted are not given any extra privileges. Apart from part-time assistance in money terms, it made me recollect all that had long been forgotten! I revisited world history, science and algebra all over again. During these three years I met other young tutors like me, out of the 5 I met,3 pointed out timeflexibility and complete control as the best pros of tutoring. When asked why they actually liked teaching, nearly all said they preferred it over other vocations because they could invent a whole new way of a how a person can study and aid them to do it better. Once again, there are no bad teachers…just a successful teacher though. I guess that would be anyone who can make studying turn out to be more than just a contest for grades with a fun side to it.
Each year as new students welcomed me I was met with surprised glances, students perceiving me not as old as they might have had thought. They left the class, refreshed and with hope, taking up inspirations to achieve the best individually rather than just best on whole.
A student of mine once remarked as we discussed teaching as a profession,’ which profession other than teaching can give pride as it does twice fold?’ I guess she summed it best for all those who take inspiration from many young teachers like us.
Along with a nod of encouragement I highlighted the extra benefits of this vocation. For instance, I no longer procrastinate my studies because with the responsibility of teaching, one understands the need to study.
But the ride initially can be rather bumpy, your parents may not always be buttress and may be severely critical. Nevertheless, nothing that cannot be handled since my parents who had criticized me in the beginning supported me as in time they saw the person I had become was for better.