TODAY -

Letter from a governess to parents discussing holistic approach of learning

Chinglembi Shagolsem *



M.K. Gandhi once defined "Education as the process of training of hand, head, and heart. It is all round drawing the best in child's to man's body mind and soul". Also, the famous Greek philosopher "Aristotle'' stated that "Education is the process of training man to fulfil his aim by exercising all the faculties to the fullest extent as a member of the society''.

The definitions of education keep changing over the decades but the objective of learning seems to remain the same as it is to target the holistic development of the children and bring out the best from them in any field by using different pedagogy and adopting different tools and techniques of teaching.

And in such cut throat and techno-savvy world, I believe the important role of the teachers remain the same and also they play an important role even though nowadays we can learn so many things within a snap of the finger by using electronic gadgets.

So, the important role of the teachers should not be ignored and their teaching profession should be considered as a noble and humble calling. That is why, in the developed countries like United States teaching is kept at the highest pedestal of the society and they are given immense respect and value because the country knows that it is the teachers who take the vital role to harness the human resource for their Nation.

Sadly, the pictures seem to be gloomy in our country and Manipur is not an exception. Here, through this article I would like to convey my message to the parents and the relevant authorities to value teachers and give their salary on time. I believe many of our teachers in the State rely on their profession as the only source of income to run their family. It is very hard for them to manage without getting salaries for several months.

And I wonder what would be the situation during these pandemic ? I myself had been an assistant teacher in a Government school and a private tutor in many homes for years. Hence, I am speaking with experience behind my back.

Here, I will attempt to write in the form of classic English writing inspired by Jane Eyre. By the way, the very idea of writing this piece came up while I was teaching my niece, the poem, 'Mr Rabbit'.

In my story narrative, I had imagined myself as a governess (teacher) who is not working in a fancy mansion like, Mr. Rochester's house in Jane Eyre's novel. And I am writing a letter to Mr and Mrs. for not paying attention to their children's education as they took it for granted.

They left everything to the teacher, without checking the performances of their children and not even consulting over the phone or physically visiting the school or at home but they expect their children to be the best. Here is the letter to them.

Dear Parents,

It's a sincere and honest letter from a private governess (tutor) who has the best intention for your children and make sure that they become the best of themselves. So, here is the new poem for your child which I am going to teach tomorrow. As a young and energetic damsel, though from countryside, I have been very passionate about teaching. I do not want your children to follow the same conventional method of teaching. Before teaching the poem, we make lesson plans at night to teach your children the next day like the teachers in our State. Here the poem goes...

Mr. Rabbit

Mr. Rabbit has a habit
That is very cute to see
He wrinkles up and crinkles up
His nose at me
I like my little Rabbit
And I like his little brother
And we have a lot of fun
Making faces at each other.


So, I have come up with a new idea to teach my students tomorrow. While I teach the poem, I am not just going to recite the poem for parrot learning rather I want them to expand and broaden their mental horizon and see the world differently. Also, I want to expose your children to the different pedagogy of teaching which we had learnt and read over the years. For e.g. when we teach them the poem, "Mr Rabbit"

1. We want them to find out what the scientific name of the Rabbit is and what are the different species of Rabbit ...Helping them to improve their scientific temperament.

2. What are the names of the pets of your children and how is their relation with the pets... to inculcate empathy.

3. We will make them read aloud and write down the poem ….to have command over the language.

4. Ask them to draw the favorite sketches of their pets….to ingrain hobbies and check their artistic skills.

5. Ask your children about their manners……to mould them in a correct way.

6. Sometimes, we can include skits as a part of the curriculum that's how children find learning more interesting and fun.

By the way, these are some of the ideas that we are sharing with you. We have lots of new ideas that are mushrooming in our mind. I believe that learning is a never ending process till our lifetime.

But the creative and resourceful mind of teachers get discouraged and demotivated if the teachers are not appreciated, recognized and do not get their salary on time. Many teachers have opted for this profession and as a contribution to the society. Moreover, it is their only source of income. Like many others, teachers have their family who are dependent on them. And the expectations are more on teachers. .

Sometimes the teachers are stuck in the dilemma between societal expectations and the expectations from their own parents or partners.

So, it is an honest appeal from a simple governess to give the salary for teachers and recognize their work on time. And I believe it is a humble idea to extend empathy to my fraternity during these harsh times. So, we would like you to ponder and draw attention to your children as they are going to be the pillars of the Nation and the future assets of your family in the coming years.

Lastly but not the least, I urge once again those parents who neglect their children's education. Please do not ignore your children's education for that would be a big mistake. Moreover, if you want to see your children come out with flying colours in any field, please value teachers and take feedbacks about your children from them.

By the way, we can be considerate to those students whose families cannot afford as we are always ready to help them.

Thank you for your kindness and patience for reading my long letter and l believe it might have highlighted some of the grievances that the teachers are facing now.


* Chinglembi Shagolsem wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on August 23 2021.



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