So I have a new career path: becoming the best teacher I can be, through Teach For India (TFI), and working towards solving the educational inequality gap in India. To be honest, when I applied for TFI I wasn’t really sure about it. I mean I was familiar with Teach for America, had read up on TFI, and was also aware of the inequality gap, but wasn’t sure if I was in a position to do something about it. One of main things that attracted me to TFI was that the fellowship (where you actually become a full-time teacher at a low income school for two years) is also about personal change and growth. That was probably the top thing that bought me here.
Institute, which is a rigorous 5 week training that all incoming fellows undergo, started three days ago and yes, it has been overwhelming with various sessions, community visits, and team building activities, but I also feel like I really only now have had the chance to do a very simple, yet important, thing and that is reflect. Reflect on my actions, my struggles, and feelings. Reflection is one the core values of TFI and on surface it sounds quite simple. I mean I can reflect! I know how I feel, why I feel a certain why, etc. But do I really?
Over the past three days, TFI has forced me to reflect on some the simplest to post profound experiences. How it felt to connect with a child when I entered a low income community. Did I really experience teamwork? What has been a problem I have been struggling with for a while? Why do I hide the way I feel at times? Who is the most important person to me?
These answers might be easy. However, when one has to peel back the onion and really think about the mindset we operate in, the reason behind that belief, and how do we not judge ourselves or others, the reflection isn’t as easy. I have experienced a wide range of emotions over the past few days-those of hope, fear, nervousness, gratitude, belief, confusion, and joy. I think these reflections have forced me to sit and analyze why I behave or feel a certain why. I am not saying that now I know the answers to it all or have a complete understanding in the power of reflecting (to the extent that TFI does), but it has opened the door to thoughts and feelings I probably didn’t let come out before.
TFI truly believes that reflection will help us becoming better leaders and professionals. We should do it frequently so we can constantly improve and give back to our students. I am sure that reflecting upon myself as a teacher and individual will be difficult, somedays I probably won’t want to reflect at all, and may be when I do, the thoughts and answers might be confusing and that is okay.
It may sounds weird, but when was the last time you sat and really reflected upon yourself?