I, Yashwant Sawant, from Mumbai done B.ED from ST JOHNS HIGH SCHOOL (Goregaon west) and HSC from SNDT UNIVERSITY from (Malad), land here in this field of education, since last 20 years, actively involved in the education sector.
Why and when did you decide that you want to be a teacher?
I am a passionate learner. At the age of forty-six, I am still learning to explore newly occurring issues/topics further. In the process of learning, what I realize is Teaching is nothing but co-learning. Learning passion formed me into a teacher. I always think about how I raise the self-esteem of a child while teaching and learning.
Were there any difficulties in selecting the field ‘Teacher’ in the beginning?
New teachers face various challenges, especially during the first few years. My challenges started when it seemed like an unsupportive environment. With new ideas to explore in classrooms confrontations with the issue of curricular freedom and lack of resources. I am an English Language Teacher. I found that students lack an environment where they can communicate in the English language. They were more exposed to reading/writing skills. They have less exposure to listening and speaking skills. I started working on Oracy Skills with the inclusion of inquiry-based learning. I introduced different pre and post-activities in daily learning. These activities built up the interaction within students. Students started taking the initiative to discover answers, to find evidence to support or disprove their talks. I was able to develop their critical thinking awareness, self-directed learning. It gave students the confidence to ask questions and come to conclusions about their own experiences. For students, these were different from ‘sit-and-get’ teaching and learning compared to a new approach of flexibility and their powerful engagement in the learning process.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
Pandemic Year 2019 has affected educational systems worldwide. All physical activities had been stopped. Thanks to the digital era we all were still connected on digital devices. I had started online communication skills sessions for Teachers who teach English as a second language. Throughout the whole academic year, I could enrich their teaching skills with online zoom sessions.
What advice would you give to those who want to become teachers?
Mindfulness involves better learning. The new aspiring teachers ought to explore their creativity. With practice, teachers embrace the opportunities to improve their skills. Keeping things in perspective they should involve the power of collaboration with other teachers. It will strengthen their reserves and increase their knowledge. Drawing from the wealth of knowledge and experience of colleagues helps them to grow and to succeed. The last call will be “Be excited, but not naive.” Best wishes to all aspiring Teachers.