Mom or Ma’am?

Mom, try these cookies I made”, said one of my students bubbling with excitement.
Oops sorry ma’am, I called you mom by mistake”, said my student, slightly embarrassed.

I am a teacher and I know that my role needs to follow a different trajectory than being a mother. However, this wasn’t just a slip of tongue. My student was definitely feeling at home and as a teacher that is a win for me. It is a great feeling to have your students connect with you at an emotional level, and this connect makes them open to new learnings and possibilities.

This article is a recollection of a handful of memories from my teaching days which is the truest gratuity of my lifetime and constantly motivate me to be a worthy teacher for my students.

Don’t worry, I got your back

I was kneeling next to one of my students in a one on one conversation when I felt a tuck at the back of my shirt. I turned and to my surprise I saw the naughtiest six-year old from my grade 1 class fixing my slightly skewed shirt. Caught in the moment, like any other teacher, I had overlooked the prim and properness of my dress. His gentle hands and caring touch said to me, “Don’t worry, I got your back.”

Ma’am you are so kind!

Ma’am you’re so kind”, said a student. “You are the kindest teacher we have ever met”, the others chimed in.

Is there any other way a teacher should be? Isn’t kindness a given in a teacher? I was not even a month old into this school and I was humbled but shocked to hear this. It was appalling that kindness was a trait, students experienced rarely. All, these 5th graders were looking for was someone who really listened to them, exhibited lots of patience and treated them with respect.

They made me feel like a celebrity!

After leaving the job, I revisited the school after a year and a few of my ex-students spotted me. Within minutes, my presence in school spread like wildfire and students from across the grades popped out from various corners and surrounded me. “Do you remember me?”, “Can you recall my name?”, “Why don’t you come back?”, “We really miss you maam.” They all chirped. In this moment I got carried away and completely forgot why I came to the school, a moment I wouldn’t miss for the moon.

While teaching pre-primary and primary children, it is not important what you teach them. Instead it is important how you make them feel and what kind of relation they develop with you. ‘BE A MOTHER TO ALL’ — an idea I was introduced to in a meditation exercise many years ago. As a novice teacher and a new mother, it was difficult for me to embrace every student as my own at that time. However, after many years of love, care and attention from my students, I now truly understand the meaning of this concept.

If you have had such moments of motherly exchange with your students, pat yourself on the back and wish yourself a Happy (Ma’am’s) Mom’s Day.

Also a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers at home who bridge the learning for our students while they are away from school, for us to pick from where you have left.