What Makes A School? -Sharon Philip

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Classes, Offices and Hogwarts- What Makes a School?

One might assume that learning only occurs in classrooms, where a teacher, with chalk in her hand and a board behind her, goes on academic and literary adventures. However, something about this notion has created an idea many will agree with. 

Learning in a school never ends. Be it the mighty management or the tenacious teachers, the ones behind the desk, or the ones who clean up, there is always something, someone, somewhere on a quest to learn and grow. 

Close Your Eyes...

There are many intelligent answers that one can give when asked to think of five words that come to mind upon hearing the word, school. 

I, as a teacher, always try to ask questions that boggle the minds of my learners, so when I was asked to do this word-association, I took it as a challenge. Here’s what I could come up with- 

  1. Hogwarts

  2. A stage

  3. Library

  4. Desk

  5. Magic

The first is based on my childish wish to receive the letter from Hogwarts the first time I saw Harry Potter. If a Genie popped up and asked me what I wanted, this would be my one sole wish, to become the professor of Transfiguration. 

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The second and third words are things I believe every teacher should relate to and rely on. Every lesson is no less than a theatrical performance. Your emotions, your ideas, your expressions, and your aura, define you. As for the library, I truly believe in the quote from Harry Potter, ‘When in doubt, go to the library.’ I have never come across a book that has not taught me something. Libraries are like hospitals for the mind.

The fourth word takes me back to my life as a student. I never enjoyed my time in school as a student. Be it my inability to understand by we have to solve equations to find the value of x or the hesitation to do as my heart bid, I did not have happy memories to go and visit down the memory lane.

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As a teacher, I plan to rectify that. As I too, am a learner in this setting, not in the same capacity as that of students, but a learner nonetheless, I will grow and learn to follow as my heart leads. I hope to teach my learners that following their hearts, growing in their own beautiful way, and growing together as individuals are as imperative as any other task that needs to be accomplished by any other stakeholder.

The solving of equations, one may wonder, shall remain an undealt issue of the past. The reason for the fifth word will be revealed at the end. 

Lights Camera, Action!

Many say that the functioning of a school is like an engine, or a body of flesh and blood. I think of it as the making of a movie. Let me explain. 

Imagine that the director has envisioned a scene in a movie where he needs the heroine’s hair to fly in a certain direction that will allow her reaction to be caught in the camera at the best possible angle. For this he needs a fan, an operator, a camera, a cameraman, and he, the director himself,  to approve whether the scene is the best possible version of his imagined outcome or not. 

Every day we set out to open our classroom as movie halls with different lessons like different screenings of movies. Just as a director plans his scenes, the teachers plan their lessons. Whether it’s going to be a blockbuster or a flop, all depends upon the stakeholders of the production/school. 

If the camera is placed at the wrong angle it can ruin the entire scene, similarly if the hair does not fly in the desired direction, the reaction will not be recorded. 

So just imagine, if even on a single day, the members of the school commune fail to do their bit or play their role in an insufficient capacity, what will happen to the functioning of the school? 

An unclean, littered class, a class with no boards, a class with no teacher, or a class with no design or thought, all these become points of dissent in a cohesive learning environment. 

To conclude,

In the hallowed halls where knowledge gleams,

A symphony of minds, a realm of dreams.

In the tapestry of learning, each thread plays a part,

A school's vibrant life, a work of collective art.

A school, a community, where each has a role,

A collective endeavor, a shared soul.

In the tapestry of learning, threads interlace,

Creating a masterpiece, a school's embrace.

So here's to the school, where all hearts unite,

A beacon of knowledge, a haven so bright.

With every member, a note in the tune,

In the symphony of learning, we all commune.

I feel...

‘We teachers are rather good at magic, you know.’ 

~Professor McGonagall


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I feel magical. 

The trust that we create, through our wisdom or our experience, or by simply cracking a joke to break the tension, we hold the magical power of becoming guides, or mentors. We become their channels of encouragement and faith. I tell you, the feeling is no less than magic. 

By Sharon Philip
Gyanshree School, Noida


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