How my mentor transformed me
I feel very fortunate for getting a mentor when I started my teaching career. My mentor was an experienced and skillful teacher who guided me, changed my perceptions regarding teaching profession, and later made me determined to be in the field of ELT.
The school I worked for (Tiny Seeds Pre-school, Kathmandu) had a system of assigning two teachers in one class; a grade teacher and an assistant teacher. I was selected to be her assistant but initially it was very stressful because I didn’t have any idea about “play-way” method. Being a student of Education, I knew how to make lesson plans in theory, but I didn’t have clear idea about how to make practical lesson plans and how to teach effectively in English medium.
On top of that, I didn’t have good communication skills in English. For instance, I used to feel scared when I had to respond to the principal. I used to feel difficult to answer even to the children. My heart would start racing when I had to speak in meetings. In the school, we were not allowed to speak Nepali inside the school premises. We had to tell stories in English every day which used to be the biggest challenge for me because I was extremely poor in English. Therefore, I could not tell stories clearly and make the students understand them.
Naturally, it gave me a lot of trouble and made me restive. Decorating the class, making lesson plans to match the learners’ level, being more creative, teaching through the play-way method in English medium became huge challenges for me. It was not easy at all to fulfill their demands and sometimes I would think of quitting the job instead of having unnecessary headache. And if it was not for my mentor, Kalpana Subedi, I would have left the job altogether.
It is not easy to teach young children because we (adults) have to match their level and interest. However, these things became easier for me later because of my competent mentor. She motivated, instructed, trained, and directed me and guided me through the beginning stage of my teaching career. Because of her, I succeeded to overcome those challenges and later I became able to handle all the ups and down very well.
Because of her helpful, cooperative and supportive nature, she became a source of inspiration for me. I cannot forget her in my life and I always mention her name when I have to talk about the person who inspired me to teach. She was the one who aroused the beautiful passion to teach and helped me overcome the difficult situations when I had to go through.
She not only inspired me to teach, but she was also provided solutions to my problems. She listened to me with great care and gave me right and valuable suggestions whenever I faced a problem. She was there for me when anyone tried to pull my leg. She taught me how to deal with such situation in a work place and taught me how to work in a group. It is common that in every institution, there are some bullies who create difficult situations for others and sometimes I had to face such bullies in that school as well. But Kalpana ma’am always alerted to stay far away from them.
Because of her, I overcame the problem of hesitation to speak. She always stood by my side and pushed me up by mentoring me on how to get the things done. She taught me a lot of strategies which we need to apply while teaching young learners. She used to observe me teaching and gave me positive feedback and that encouraged me to work. She had patience to tolerate my mistakes and ability to correct me in an encouraging way.
In addition, she would also give me emotional support whenever I got restless, hopeless and depressed. As a result, all the negative things, fear, anxiety, tension, nervousness, stress gradually went way after spending some time with her; and it would make me more confident than before and my own learning started to take place rapidly.
And thus, her unconditional and continuous support made me more skillful, knowledgeable, and more mature. As a result, teaching English became a passion for me once I started to teach in English medium and later I decided to become English language teacher. Transformation which she brought on me helped me to become an ideal teacher for pre –school as well as other higher levels.
Kathmandu University (M.Ed. ELT)
Currently in the Fourth semester