When You Teach… you learn!!

At times we don’t realise why certain things cross our path. 

In my journey of being a peaceful person today, inspite of all ups and downs in life, Indian Language School has played a very important role. There are certain learnings I got to learn from my favourite place, where this school is located. 

‘How can you like a place like Lagos, it’s so mediocre. Your choice should have been something like – Australia, Canade,USA, etc ‘. Most of my friends kept telling me this, when I told them how I loved my stay at Lagos( Nigeria) and how I wish, I would still be there.

What is it that I loved so much. What is it that I miss so much. Definitely not the climate or the scenic beauty. It was something beyond that. 

It was my friends!! 

But here today, I would like to make a special mention about my friends at ILS and my journey as a teacher there.

I had never expected to meet some wonderful people in my journey during my stay in Lagos, who loved me only for being me and not labelled to any role that I was playing in life. 

I play many roles in life- a mother, a daughter, a trainer, etc anything. But the fact is the best role I like to play, is being myself. 

I still remember the first time, when I was given the honour of being a judge for a fancy dress competition. The way I was introduced on stage, gave me chuckles in my stomach. After a long time I had heard about my own achievements and qualities.  Until then, for many years I was just about the roles I played. That was the first moment of truth to have realised inner happiness.

Best part was, I met some- out of this world women, who made me feel that there is more to being a woman than I knew.

My first extraordinary moment was to meet the principal of the school, when I had applied for a job. Mrs. Suman Kanwar, a woman I was completely awed to meet.  Her personality was like that of a President, who could handle an entire country, and here she was handling a school. Her vision and mission had helped to manage the school successfully for decades. 

Then I got a chance to work with a very humble lady, who was the first leader in my tenure. She had a serene calmness about her. Even in her warnings, there was a remarkable amount of respect for her subordinates. Mrs. Bajaj is how we used to address her. It was a pleasure to work with her. Sure enough, there were other colleagues too, who guided and inspired me, but Mrs. Bajaj was the most approachable and accommodating. 

Later I got transferred to a higher section of classes. I was very reluctant to leave my space of comfort and my humble boss. But rules said, we had to be a part of the team where we were most required. So I joined the grade four English department which was in the building next to the one I was already working.

There was one best part of being a teacher. No matter which class you teach, you are loved by your students. This actually gives you courage to cope up with other colleagues and policies of school. Especially when students start benefiting from the way you teach. 

Hence, I was still feeling fine to explore this new venture, but sure enough I had this nervousness to associate with new colleagues. 

I still remember meeting Mrs. Tandon. A young dynamic and a sheer beautiful woman. I wondered how she would be managing such high egos of higher section teachers. But the moment she called out my name, I just knew she was a confident mature diva, who knew her job very well. She was not only a boss, but became a very dear friend too. And so is the case today. 

Even today, when I see her pictures, I wonder if I would ever be half as perfect as she is. Young at heart and young in looks. Her mantra is, ‘Live and let live- be happy’. 

Later I was introduced to other teachers, some of them teaching different subjects and some of them teaching English. It was a very cool ambience to work. Very competitive, but an ocean of knowledge. It was all going very well.

But life got better, when I found Manisha. Manisha was one of the very rare, loving and honest species ever to be seen.

Though in the beginning I often felt, ‘This cannot be real!’ There was nothing great about me, then how could someone like me so much, the way she did. But it was true. She not only helped me to understand the basics of teaching but also helped me overcome my fears about making question papers and assessment sheets. 

She was the most helpful, intelligent, straightforward and secure person, I had ever met. I was seeing all of her- her wit, her humour, her artificial fights with me for the last bite of tiffins(was best to relive my childhood again), her humble self versus her quality to stand for herself and of course, some times for me too. She had all perfect qualities of being a successful woman.Inspirational!!

In fact, even today I can say, she is one of the people who never give up on me, even when I give up on myself. 

Life gives us so many choices- to make friends, to choose professions, to choose our partner, to choose the location we want to stay and many more. It’s all about whether we are able to take the right decisions at the right time.

Usually, we are driven by our intellect and feelings. But at times, decisions just happen, even when we are not ready to take them. But if we do the best to our efforts, all decisions eventually prove out to be right.

Amongst any other journeys of my work life, this has been the most memorable and educating one. I completely realised, that even as teachers we learn, as we teach.