saata VOL: 2, ISSUE: 1 - JANUARY 2018 facebook

SAATA ITAA Conference-2016 team
Children… The Magical Beings… - Rajeshwari Bharath home
Kousalya-Karthikeyan I am Rajeshwari Bharath. I work as the Coordinator of a Preprimary setup, a passionate Montessorian at heart. I believe children learn when they are happy and feel safe and creating this environment is the job of every educator. Currently a trainee in TA education.

After working for 10 years at a desk job with very limited human interaction, I made a career change in my early 30s. I now work with children of the age group 2.5 to 6 years. In more ways than one, I was looking forward to this change yet was apprehensive about fitting in.  Becoming a teacher was definitely a new zone that was challenging to my old self.  My childhood and schooling days bring back not-so-good feelings and memories.  If I have to connect it to a TA concept, it would be that of my life position “I am not OK, You’re OK” and my belief was probably reinforced time and again.  Corporal punishment was present in my times and teachers thought it was their right to punish children or humiliate them to “fix them.” After all, education is also thought to be fixing or moulding children into what they “should be.”  The focus was so much on what I was NOT rather than ALL that I was.  My belief about myself was that I was not good enough.

As an adult, my only previous experiences of being with children were with my nieces and my own children.  I knew I could relate to them, understand them and be happy with them. When it was time for my daughter to go to school, she went to a Montessori close to home.  I experienced both surprise and joy when I first visited a Montessori classroom.  There were children happily moving about as if busy at work. Some children were sitting on the teacher’s lap and one was hugging the teacher from behind, while there were others who were playing or completely absorbed in their activity.  I was instantly attracted by the freedom children had, their independence, the mutual exchange of affection, the entire ambience and on that day I decided that I want to belong there.  I went on to do the Montessori course and became a Montessori teacher.

I joined the same school as a teacher along with my son when he was 2.5 years old.  After initial fears just like children, I settled down, little children running around, waiting for my smile or a nod, happiness in their eyes when I greeted them. I love my time at school with children.  It has been 8 years now and till this day, I look forward to Mondays just as I look forward to Sundays.

Doing well at my previous job, having concrete proof that I was really good at work, becoming one of the toppers in my Montessori course, earning the respect of my mentors and receiving positive feedback from the parents of children I teach was, slowly but surely the start of the belief that I am good and I am enough.  The counseling course taught me to love and accept myself.  The early days of my TA journey gave me an understanding of my life position, my injunctions, my drivers, my time structuring etc.  My journey of discovering myself continued in TA with so many “aha” moments.  What fascinated me the most was the topic of strokes.  Along with it came my realization of why I enjoyed working with children.  My stroke need was met when I was with them and I was able to meet their need.  I never wanted my children to experience me the way I experienced my teachers as a child.  I wanted my children to feel loved, accepted and appreciated for who they were.

“So many years of education yet nobody taught us how to love ourselves and why it’s so important” - unknown source. 

This quote helped me realize two things; what was missing in my years of education and what I need to take care of as an educator.

Within a span of 2 years as a Montessori teacher, I started receiving some very difficult children since my directress thought I could handle them well.  I was able to successfully help these children overcome some behavioral issues.  I was firm yet loving with all my children.  When I analyze what worked with them, it has been strokes – unconditional ones, acknowledging their presence, addressing them by their name, accepting them and not their behavior, loving them during their tantrums and trusting that they will overcome.  Children struggle with many things; could be spooning their food, writing a particular alphabet or working with a puzzle.  A high-five, a gentle hug or kiss, just sitting beside the child during that time can literally energize the child to try a little more and accomplish.  When they complete it, the joy they see in the teacher’s eyes gets them wanting to try harder.

Mutual exchange of strokes has built confidence in me.  Being around children gives new meaning to my life; inspires me to learn more. Children are magical; they are innocent and nonjudgmental, forgive easily, and are ready to please. I learnt and continue to learn from children to be present in the moment, to be comfortable with the person I am, to be authentic without fear or shame, and so much more.

I continue to struggle at times with a few close relationships (adult world) as I have set patterns and to change the stroke economy needs concerted, constant, conscious effort, I am at it.

arr MLL 2018
- Sarmishta Mani
arr The Rewarding CTA Journey
- Karolina Jovanoska
arr The Relationship Garden
- Sheena Yusuf
arr Children-The Magical Beings
- Rajeshwari Bharath
arr A Journey to Discover Self
- Tasnuva Huque

Creative Corner
Mental Health
- Jayashree Swaminathan

The plAyground
- Nandhini Thangavelu



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