Paradox: Students Become Teachers


Teaching today isn’t just limited to classrooms. Members of the youth, who are not qualified are taking to NGOs and even the streets to spread knowledge. While it isn’t an uncommon phenomenon, it certainly has gained momentum over the years. Priyanka Iyer tells you more about it

Mahatma Gandhi once said,“The best way to find yourself is by losing yourself in the service of others.” But what service can we students do? Giving back to the society helps nurture compassionate, caring and considerate people that will work for the welfare of others and the betterment of the world. Yes, we know. But what exactly can we do?
Since we have spent most of our lives studying, all our knowledge is fresh in our mind. Just like a sponge, we have absorbed a lot of knowledge and are ready to squeeze it all out and share it with others. The only difference is, we retain our knowledge if not deepen it as we teach and share our learning with others like less privileged people who are unfortunately not exposed to the excellent opportunities available. Not only does it help with resumes, but it is an invaluable experience too. Going with a positive attitude and the determination to help others is imperative when teaching others. Students have the potential to be great teachers, and can really help make a difference to someone’s life. The juxtaposition in the idea of students becoming teachers makes it a very interesting topic. How would students approach teaching? What changes would there be in the methods of teaching? Where would they teach to take the maximum experience? Students and teachers generally have different mindsets due to the generation difference. But, when students become teachers, the entire approach to teaching would be different.
Teaching isn’t limited to children. Teaching underprivileged children can greatly affect their future giving them chances to work at better paying jobs in the future, letting them live better lives. However, teaching handicapped or disabled adults who never got the opportunity to receive a proper education is also a possibility. Moreover, teaching people in the low-income bracket will help their livelihoods and simultaneously benefit the country’s economy. For instance, in Shanghai, China, an organisation known Home Sweet Home teaches disabled people and also gives them proper living accommodations. They also give them work opportunities in other schools and in making clothes, bags and other accessories so that they can earn a living. Many people from Home Sweet Home have now got proper jobs at institutions and companies. Home Sweet Home is affiliated with many schools and the students of the schools teach the people from Home Sweet Home utilising the school’s facilities. There is an abundance of people who wish to learn but were never given the opportunity.
Education is a right. Teaching English to the kids is absolutely necessary as simply being able to communicate globally opens many doors to jobs. The basics of the language and grammar can be coupled with classic literature along with modern novels, making the teaching more interesting and appropriate. Teaching other subjects such as mathematics, the sciences, the humanities, the arts and sports will also be helpful for the children in the future. Letting children learn life skills, computer skills, and other skills will be useful in getting a job later on. Integrating a digital aspect to the lessons can make the classes more entertaining and more practical. Presenting these underprivileged children with good quality education is our responsibility. Every student has experienced the boredom of sitting in a classroom and the pains of waking up early to  travel a far distance to reach school. Teaching in parks and gardens makes learning more exciting and also provides space to play games and sports.

It may be more suitable to teach in classrooms near slums so that the kids from the slums aren’t required to travel that far. It is recommended to try volunteering at NGO’s and charities that work for these causes to gain the experience of teaching and help those in need. For instance, an organisation called Teach for India teaches underprivileged children all around India. It is affiliated with many schools around India and has impacted many people’s lives. It teaches in many classrooms situated in places ranging from slums to schools, providing the kids with basic stationary and facilities. Like Teach for India, there are numerous other organisations that reach out and fight for different causes that we students can volunteer for.
As a student, the dream is to travel the world and encounter new cultures. During a year gap or the holidays, students can fly abroad and teach in another country for a few months to a year. Teaching abroad also presents the opportunity to travel the area and learn more about the place’s culture. Furthermore, interacting with people with different backgrounds is a unique experience in itself. Going to developing countries and teaching benefits to the people also adds to résumés. People from abroad have also come to India to teach, especially to volunteer in NGOs. For example, Volunteering India has many programs where people from all over the world can apply and volunteer helping kids learn. Education is made global as people from around the world teach and interact with people of a different nationality.
Often university programs offer chances for the students to become teachers or teaching assistants. For instance, in many universities students who have taken a course and done well in it can act as a teaching assistant for that course for the juniors. There are also some programs in universities where they offer you a proper, legit job of teaching, where you can earn a salary as well. Universities tend to expose you to many work opportunities, allowing students to become teachers.
The paradigm shift of students becoming teachers will affect the way of teaching. The youthful exuberance versus the conventional wisdom will affect the methods of teaching. In the current digital age, when the youth become teachers, the great innovations of technology are effectively used. Implementing the use of visual aids can give a realistic demonstration to children who haven’t seen the world. Going on field trips and using Google Earth and the satellite transmissions to learn in Geography compared to the drawings and pictures in textbooks would be much more effective. Students can teach courses online and connect with underprivileged people from all over, reducing education costs greatly and making good quality education more accessible. However, providing proper technology and teaching them how to use it will need student volunteers especially as the youth now have the expertise in using technology from a young age. Students who become teachers should implement technology to aid them in their teaching, with a more futuristic approach.



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