Friday, February 20, 2015

Not Another Brick in the Wall

It’s been 2 and some years that I started my teaching career and I have to say I’m loving it!

As a person who’s worked crazy hours on projects in a bunch of production houses, this career choice was most unlikely. I met a friend recently, who couldn't believe I was teaching. Why?!? Because teachers, to a whole lot of people, are strict old people with spectacles and a stern look in their eye. Some memorable, some not as much, but all by the book. My friend was very curious to know how someone like me ‘teaches.’ “Are you the stern type? Do you make them stand outside class if they don’t do their homework? It’s so much power right?!?”

It is a lot of power. Power because a ton of young people look up to you for not just getting knowledge and helping them fine tune their creativity (we are a ‘Creative Field’ institute after all), but also to help them believe in themselves. My ‘job’ is not to just impart knowledge and then walk out of the room. I need to be sure that every kid in the class stays on track and also stays engaged. My challenge is not just knowing the topic that has to be taught, but also how to make it so interesting that no kid ‘phases out.’ The days of talking down to the student are long gone. Interaction is the key word now.

And then there is the other role. The one of mentor, friend, confidant. To not just be a facilitator of knowledge but also someone who can be counted on. A shoulder to cry on. Someone who can help their parents understand that what they are doing is actually a valid career choice. Someone who can talk them ‘off the ledge’ when they feel disappointed about their work. Someone to be trusted.
It’s been quite a joy ride so far, challenging and exhilarating at the same time and I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds further.

[Ruth Mapgaonkar is a full time CG Animation faculty at FX School.  When she’s not teaching kids in classrooms, you can find her in the institute’s café competing on the latest Sony Playstation video games with the kids she teaches.]