'Age no bar'

inspiring Young teachers find it challenging to train students of their age group.

They are young professionals who have recently passed out of college. It was not long ago when they were all sitting on the same bench, listening to lectures with rapt attention. No sooner did they pass out of college, they strode into teaching.

But what happens when the age gap between teachers and their students is not much? Do they find it difficult? On Teachers’ Day, Metrolife talks to young professionals who teach in various fields on how they feel being young teachers.

Considered as a noble profession, teaching is something not everyone can do. But those who have taken up the responsibility to impart knowledge have found this to be the most satisfying of all.

Boby, a teacher at the Indian Statistical Institute, explains how taking up the teaching profession happened all by chance. “I was more interested in the consultancy aspect of our profession. Later, I found out that training others in these skills was equally satisfying and enjoyable,” says Boby and adds, “it’s the support and encouragement I got from my students that has motivated me to become a good teacher.”

Some teachers observe that varying age groups among students have a good and bad aspect to it. Teachers do come across students who are much older to them. Robert Lourembam got into teaching the moment he passed out of college and then he moved on to becoming a language trainer where he trained adults in a corporate institute.

Having tasted both sides he says that training adults has been more relaxing but he does miss out on the light moments he spent with youngsters.

“With youngsters, one has to maintain a certain amount of discipline in the class, but when training adults who are either of the same age or older, the ego is bound to come in between,” says Robert and adds, “I come across students who don’t even speak to me during the training but that does not bother me much, because I share a friendly relationship with most of my students. We are friends outside the class but in class we maintain a strict student-teacher relationship.”

Boby too agrees, “Right from the start there were students older to me in the class. But it is not a big issue. The real challenge was to make statistics, a subject considered as boring by many, interesting and instill confidence in students. In fact, many of my students are better skilled than I am and it is great to have students who understand a teacher’s limitations.”

That’s not always the case. Many young women teachers not only face the ego issue, at times they also have to ward off admirers.

“When you come across students who fall in your own age group, they fall under the misconception that they know you better or some even start to admire you and try talking to you in a friendly manner. At such times, I just put my foot down and make sure they know that I am just a teacher. Initially, it was difficult to handle such situations but as time passed, we have developed activities that break the barriers and make them understand the situation,” explains Sheetal Mohithe, Corporate Trainer (soft skills).

Despite the challenges they face in their profession, they say it’s like any other job where one has to face problems initially. “It’s only at the start one feels this way. But once the class begins, everybody gets interested and starts enjoying,” says Boby.

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