The Watchful Teacher

Teaching learning forms the core of the classroom transaction. Teacher’s competence is often positioned on how well the children write, read and recognize numbers. I refer to the early years of schooling. At this point rejoice if you enter a class and see children perched on her/his knees and a couple sitting in close proximity. The classroom adult is displaying emotional responsive support to children’s anxiety of leaving the home for the first time. Children need to be happy, feel accepted with physical security.

the watchful teacher

A watchful teacher will not miss a quiet child or a child standing waiting to use a play bucket or engage in an activity where the equipment is limited. Waiting for your turn, sharing with peers are important lessons learnt in childhood. However, gratification is as necessary as learning to be patient. While you wait the time runs out and you need to enter the next cycle of classroom schedule. An alert teacher will not miss the ‘child who waited’. The announcement may be ‘all children except Mira come in, she will play with the bucket and come in five minutes later’. The time schedules are significant and instill a sense of discipline in children yet the present contributes to a sense of wellbeing.

A watchful teacher picks up children’s comments, engages in conversations, sharing the surprises children may display in their understanding of the social physical world. An enthusiastic young Prahlad working with tribal children in Arraku valley shared a child’s dialogue with awe-filled humour .

One boy kept chucking pebbles in the air. Each time he used rigour and increased force. Why are you tiring yourself? The child replied, “Well I want it to go high and not come back. Why should it fall back?”

the watchful teacher

Ordinary experiences bring out the extra ordinary. Children are explorers, experimenters and enjoy challenge. Let us adults, parents or teachers be sources of guiding light allowing children to feel safe, comfortable and free to engage playfully.

Dr. Asha Singh

Reader, Human Development and Childhood Studies.
Specialist Theatre in Education,
Lady Irwin College, New Delhi


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