I like photography and there is a simple yet very significant element that determines the quality of a picture. It is called exposure. The right amount of exposure helps you get the perfectly lit photograph. I feel this stands true not only for photography but human beings as well. Especially, the people we closely work with at school.
Now you would be wondering if I have any evidence to support it. I would answer that with a big “Yes”. As a School Transformation Lead, I have been working in a low fee private school where I am supposed to work with around 25 teachers. Unfortunately, out of the 25, I could work with only 4 teachers in a span of 3 months. The reason was very simple. The other teachers did not believe in the things that I had to offer. For them, it was an idea that did not apply to their classes and why should they? They have been using these teaching strategies for a really long time now. I soon realized that I am trying to get their buy-in into something that they have never seen and what credibility do I have to present it to them? While I was struggling to find answers, a wonderful opportunity came in called TCheers!, a fest solely dedicated to celebrating teachers. It proved to be a game changer in my school.
We had to select 5 teachers from each school. The teachers chosen from my school went and experienced something they had never imagined. They got an opportunity to interact with teachers who come from the same kind of schools but have been doing amazing things. They met some distinguished personalities in the education space. This pushed them to re-think their role as a teacher. To summarize, they got an exposure which lit up their sense of possibility. Here are some glimpses of the event…
I went back to the school 3 days after the fest and I was completely bowled over by the response that followed. The other teachers who usually ignored my presence, started coming up to me and asking why I had not asked them? This was the result of the teachers coming back and telling others about the event. One of the teachers came to me and for the first time asked my qualification. Till now all the conversations were limited knowing my age and comparing that to the number of years they had taught in the school. As a person, who has been struggling to get a face time with the teachers, I felt like a star with everyone reaching out to me. All I could think of the things that could happen going forward. It was one of the best days of my life.
All of this would have never been possible had the school Head Master not believed in what we do. It was her who not only pushed the teachers to go but also accompanied them to attend TCheers! She was also waiting for an opportunity like this where her teachers would see what lies beyond the boundaries of the school.
At the end, my biggest learning was that it is impossible to sell an idea to someone if you are unable to show them what it will lead to. Exposure is not only the key to a great photograph but also to a shift in a mindset that has been plastered with the paint of an experience of many years. I am looking forward to more such opportunities going ahead!
-Written by Ms. Poonam Shukla, School Transformation Lead, Mantra4Change