– By Bindu, Teacher at Tejasvita Trust
It is the beginning of another academic year- a new start and a new window of opportunity Though we teachers equip ourselves with elaborate training and relearning/unlearning, the children do not fail to surprise us, every now and then.
As we Tejasvita teachers spend only a limited amount of time i.e six hours a week with the preschool children, it becomes very important for us to make this time very effective. Sometimes, this “limited time” aspect can be stressful on the teacher, as we would ideally like to deliver all that we have planned within this time. But thankfully, since the children are oblivious to all these “limitations”, very often they teach us the important lesson of going with the flow, through their playfulness. This happened to me recently during “Circle Time” with the children.
We always begin our session with “Circle Time”. This is the time we use to transition children from their conventional classroom scenario to our Tejasvita ambiance. And during the beginning of the academic year, we ensure that children get comfortable with us and the transition, by singing out their names, using puppets and giving a personalized greeting. We teachers also get to know the children and their names during this time.
In a pre-primary class, we sometimes struggle to differentiate children if they have similar names, since children at this age do not take their names as seriously as we adults do. But this year, our challenge became a tad more challenging – we have two identical twins in our class , Vaishnavi and Vaibhavi and nobody in school, including themselves, could tell us one from the other. We tried calling out their names frequently to see who responded first, thereby giving us a small clue. But this effort yielded different results every time. Totally confused, we went to their class teacher hoping to get some help. She told us that the only difference between them is that one of them wears an earring in one of the ears. But was the girl with the earring, Vaibhavi or Vaishnavi, we still had no clue.
So, one day after class, when I took one of them aside and asked her if she was Vaishnavi, she said no. “Vaibhavi?”. She again shook her head in the negative. As I wondered how a child could not know her name, I got an idea. This time I asked the child what her mother calls her at home. I was in for a surprise when she told me, “Vismaya”. “What about your sister” I asked. “Vinaya”. I then realized that these were their “pet” names at home. Now I know the real size of the challenge that we were facing. Four names for two identical children with only one earring as a clue.
Not willing to give up, the next day during Circle time, I called “Vaishnavi” out of turn to see who will respond. The twins who were chatting and playing with themselves till then, looked at each other, passed a naughty grin between them and looked at me simultaneously. It was as if they had a silent pact to keep this identity crisis, unresolved.
As I closed the attendance register, I could not help smiling at these two naughty faces. “Letting Children be” is an important part of our Tejasvita philosophy and these twins reminded me of that, once more. And they also reminded me that, logistics could always wait.
If life could be interesting as an identical twin, it is more so for a preschool teacher.