Reflections of a young teacher
For a student who always used to keep his teachers on their toes during his school years, it’s ironic that I became a teacher. I would never have thought of doing this job. But life works in mysterious ways. You can only imagine what the pandemic has done to a struggling rock musician who runs a recording studio and a practice studio. As it was really difficult to spend my days as a musician, I started looking for a “real” job to pay the bills.
I came across a school that was hiring a visual and performing arts teacher. When I found out I just had to get the job because I would have the chance to teach little kids the magic of arts and music.
During my school years, the arts were my favorite subject. It was liberating because I had the opportunity to practice my freedom of expression through ink, color and brushes. I used to wish my other subject teachers were away so the art teacher could cover their lessons.
When I got this job I knew I had to be the art teacher I never had. The school I joined gave me the opportunity to explore and design my own lesson plans. My goal as a teacher is to make sure my students can express themselves and solve the world’s next big problems. The two subjects I take, visual arts and performing arts, can help a child gain self-confidence to express himself and to transform his ideas into tangible and intangible reality.
My students are between 3 and 10 years old. Because they are so young, I see them using their artistic skills to navigate their daily lives. For example, students don’t just say âsorryâ if they need to, they make an apology card to express their emotion of regret. No ego, no hate, just pure hearts. Labor sometimes feels like therapy.
The hard part of being a teacher is navigating through children’s mood swings. Their innocent minds are growing and learning, I don’t want to put a place there through neglect or rough behavior. I just don’t believe in punishing a child. Mistakes are learning experiences that I don’t want my students to miss out on. I think there is no such thing as a “bad student”. We teachers have to find the right way to teach.
An interesting fact about my teaching experience is that I also discover myself every day. I assess myself in each class, I continue to strive to improve my communication and teaching skills. As a person, I explore the enriching side of my personality. As I come from a different professional background, I used to have a different kind of work-life balance. Teaching has certainly given me a lot of room to breathe. Now I have time for my personal life and other priorities.
I am also a freelance creative service provider and musician. But since teaching is my primary profession, I mainly spend my time teaching and preparing for the classes and challenges ahead. Being around children motivates me to focus on my dreams of being an artist. Kids usually stick with a certain thing once they think about it no matter what happens and that’s how you can actually achieve something. We adults tend to forget and compromise our hopes and dreams, children would never do that and it is something very powerful. Ultimately, my students are also my teachers. We all dream of changing the world, but being a teacher helps me do that because I help develop future leaders and problem solvers.
Farhan Labib Ahmed is a teacher specializing in visual and performing arts at Springdale International School.