“It takes a big heart to educate little minds.”
This is a quote I always heard from one of my seniors in the education field who has taught children for more than ten years. At first, I thought of this notion as something ridiculous. I have always considered the words that come out of a teacher’s mouth as sappy, sentimental and melancholic. Perhaps even more so that I believe that they couldn’t possibly fathom the cruel reality of the outside. It was not until I became a volunteer teacher in a village in Indonesia that I realised the quote at the start of this article couldn’t be more accurate.
I was offered this opportunity by one of a friend in a particular organisation. My task was to become a volunteer English teacher for a group of students who were “interested” in learning the language. My first meeting with the students was unbelievable. There were around 50 students inside the class ranging from elementary to senior high school. They were excited to get free English classes. I was also excited at first until I realised that their English skill was next to nothing. Most of them didn’t even know how to spell or even sing the alphabet song correctly.
“Oh Wow. This is gonna be one tough class to handle.”
I tried to console myself by thinking that it would be an excellent experience for my CV. So, for weeks I was one of those people who went to work just because they were afraid to look rude if they suddenly stop. It was also clear that the student’s excitement only lasts for so long. The class that once held around 50 students dropped to approximately 20 students. When I asked “Why?” they had thousands of reasons. I thought of resigning from this place until I had this conversation with one of my seniors.
She listened to the whole story and pointed out what went chaotic.
“It is because you put no heart in teaching. You did it out of pride not out of love.”
Ouch! That felt like a hard slap to my conscience. I realised that all this time I was teaching like a robot. Education needs human touch and leadership, and I was precisely the opposite of that this whole time. It was around this time that she also said the quote at the start of this article.
My takeaway on this is that we shouldn’t underestimate our teacher. At first glance, it seems easy, but it takes more than knowledge. It requires a heart that doesn’t give up even when it appears dire and unfruitful.
If you want to be an educator, my message is “use not only your brain but also your heart”. That way you’ll always be able to lead them in the right direction.
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