THE ABCs OF BEING ‘ALIVE’ AS A TEACHER!

A. Attitude, wear a happy positive attitude. Be open to your students thinking and behaving in different ways. They come to you with multiple intelligences and their learning styles vary. Accommodate every child in your class.

B. Balance in all that you do. Balance your work / home life. Do not allow a heavy spill over all the time. You need family time and ‘me time’ as well.

C. Calm, it is only a calm inner ore which will help you handle things. The distance from heaven to hell is actually just a single thought. Whether a glass is half full or half empty depends on your perspective. So stay calm! If you find things getting to you, sit up comfortably on the floor / chair, close your eyes, relax your muscles, place your hands on your lap, palms turned upwards and take deep breaths.

D. Discipline, to channelize and not to control. Your intention is to get the best from each child, it is not to punish. Use disincentives, such as ‘no games’ ‘no other activity’, but do not abuse a child. Say ‘no’ to the act and not ‘no’ to the child.

E. Escape. Take a 5 minute ‘mental escape’ to catch up with your breath and calm. Just don’t do anything, shut your eyes or look out of the window.

F. Flexibility, be fluid, keep flowing, do not be rigid in your ways. Look at the things from the others’ perspectives. You will see two sides to the coin. Sometimes letting go is an act far more powerful than holding on to things.

G. Grow, do something to expand your mind, body, spirit – a physical, mental and a an activity you do, that you thoroughly enjoy will get you there.

H. Humour, learn to see the funny side of life, don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh with your students, unwind, let them see the ‘fun’ teacher. Start your class with ‘A joke of the day’ instead of or along with ‘A thought for the day’.

I. Interest, develop an interest in life around you. Students are smart. Get to know what interests them. Relate your lessons to their interests – Make reference to sports, music, films, books, people….

J. Joy, maintain a ‘Joy Journal’ of the wonderful things that happen in your day. If you list the small joys of a good deed, a helpful hand, a thoughtful concern… they add up to quite a bit.

K. Knowledge, you simply must know or make the attempt to find it. Work on your reference and study skills. Learn to be savvy with google and the net.

L. Listen, to yourself and your students, communication is a two way street. Be an intuitive listener. Pay attention to the emotional needs of students. Their EQ is more important than their IQ.

M. Meditate, take 10 – 15 minutes to just breathe easy and for quiet reflection. Shut your eyes and start by listening to outward sounds, your inner noise will slowly fade. Focusing on one thing is meditation after all.

N. Neutralize, stay neutral in your thinking, try not to have extreme thoughts and views. Accept that the many people you know, think and feel too.

O. Organize, note down all that needs to be done, both personal and professional. With much on your mind, you can give many things a miss. Keep a handy note pad, where you can jot down all the things, both big and small – even to pick up veggies. That clears a lot of space in your mind.

P. Plan, your pre, while and post classroom sessions. Note down,
‘What do I need to do in preparation?’ ‘What do I need to take to class?’
‘What is the flow of my class from the time I enter till I leave?’
‘What do students do as homework/assignment/activity?’
‘What is the follow up work to consolidate on what they have just learnt?’

Q. Question, for a change, allow children to question. eg. Take the first line from your English lesson – Alice was sitting with her sister on the river bank. Ask students to frame as many questions as they can, show them how.

a. What is the name of the girl?

b. Who was Alice sitting with?

c. Was Alice alone?

d. Where was Alice sitting?

e. What is a river bank?

f. How many girls were sitting on the river bank?

g. Who was sitting on the river bank?
This small activity gets students in the habit of framing and answering questions. This will prepare them to actually think deeply and laterally.

R. Read for the sheer pleasure of it, anything that you enjoy, but read, please read. The more you read, the more you know. Knowledge empowers you and widens your horizon.

S. Socialize, not just on networking sites, but go out and meet people. Meeting people helps you have fun, interact and exchange ideas and also build a network of like minded people.

T. Time management, make the most of your day. Make time for yourself, don’t forget. You don’t need to always put work, family, the universe before you. Airlines advise you to administer oxygen to yourself first before you do so to others! Of course managing your time at work and home is crucial. Be aware of time wasters and robbers.

U. Utilize all the material and inputs you have around you, let your horizon grow. Collect resource material as you come by it, build a resource pool and draw from this pool.

V. Voice your feelings and opinions, express yourself. Do not bottle them up. You can express almost any thought, feeling or emotion that comes to your mind, provided you do it in a way that is acceptable to both. Voice your silence.

W. Walk for recreation. Don’t carry mobile phones, just immerse yourself in nature. Be aware of every step you take, your breath, the sky, the vegetation, the trill of a birds song… stay with the things around you, do not unwind conversations in the mind.

X. Xercise. Dedicate time for your body, it will help you with your mind and spirit. A walk to the fridge or kitchen or in the course of house work is not considered exercise. You need to dedicate atleast 20 – 30 minutes a day to this.

Y. Yoga, that brings your body, mind, emotions and energies together.

Z. zzzzzz, get a good night’s sleep. Follow A-Y and you can zzzz like a baby. Nothing is worth it if you cannot get a regular good night’s sleep.

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