Tanya Shah recalls the preconceived notions she had about teaching and shatters some of the myths

When I first decided to start teaching to be very honest my incentive was to try something different and fun. I thought it would be a nice change. Wow did I have a skewed idea of what teaching is all about ? crying children with constant colds, lice, annoying parents, politics, waking up early, constantly being on my feet physically and mentally, and finally being utterly exhausted the rest of the day.

A job for a bored housewife?

Surprisingly though those were not the really bad bits of my day. When meeting people socially the comments made by aunties and uncles, work colleagues, and friends who were all supposedly ?extremely knowledgeable and educated? were the most shocking. ?You?re just wasting your time,? said one. Another insisted that ?Babysitting little toddlers is for bored housewives who want to take it easy.? Attitudes such as these towards education and teachers surprised me and made me explore why I wanted to pursue education as a profession.

The lack of respect shown for educators by the most ?educated? segments of society is confusing. After a child?s parents, teachers are the people who interact most with children and play a large part in his development. They are very important role models. Being a teacher is most definitely not about being incapable of finding another job or wanting to take it easy. We put in great thought into our work and plan on a daily and quarterly basis. We have to be knowledgeable about children?s development and keep up with their energy levels. And these are just a few of the requirements that one must fulfill in order to teach. The formative years of a child?s life are the most crucial as this is when they are developing physically, socially and emotionally. As a teacher not only do you have the power to shape a child?s life but also to impact the lives of their parents and caregivers.

Be the change

Education as a profession is not a waste of time or just a way of passing your day. It is a means to create a better life for each individual student, shape how they think, broaden their perspectives, introduce them to different cultures, experiences and worlds along with constantly learning more yourself. To be a teacher is not a little thing, we are the vehicles of change for our society, impacting how our future generations speak, conduct themselves morally, behave and think.

Tanya Shah teaches art to children aged 3-8 years at the DHA Early Learning Centre. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Design from The Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, and a certificate in ECE from the TRC – Institute of Early Childhood Education.