LISTEN before FITTING them IN (Reflection Series #14)

Bhawana Shrestha
3 min readOct 5, 2022

--

8:30 am Wednesday(October 5, 2022)

It is a unique experience to be a teacher from one part of the globe (that can only be noticed by mindfully pointing out that dot on the globe) and sitting in a room or a virtual group that keeps on highlighting the significance of the role of teachers.

As I place myself at the table and look around the conference hall, be in that zoom meeting and see the list of participants, I go through a mixed feeling of both happiness and sadness. As much as I celebrate my presence, I mourn the lack of seats that teachers who are working in a context like mine but are missing there. As much as I feel honored to be in the discussion where the global leaders from multiple sectors are glorifying the role of teachers, my heart aches for just a month back I talked to the teachers who were frustrated about not getting their paychecks on time. Can you believe teachers in a public school in Nepal are waiting for three months and more to receive their remuneration? How can I ask them to focus on the emotional needs of the children when they are going through their own emotional turmoil? Basic needs are not being met in your work as a teacher.

It is always a struggle to find that seat in a discourse, to get that invisible mike to share your voice, to be a part of the platform that lets you share your story. But to be the one and only one in the room to represent a thousand stories of the teachers feels heavy on the shoulder. The joyfulness of being able to be that voice comes with a deep sense of acknowledgment that the voice should represent everything that is going on. I see teachers from other parts of the globe extremely confident in sharing what leadership they have displayed in and out of the classroom and I question when the teachers of my country will be trusted as leaders.

Last week as I got an opportunity to talk to Belinda Archibong and Carol Graham and those conversations just swept me off my feet for the depth of knowledge they had and the plethora of resources they could provide you on a go. The conversation motivated me to be like them and contribute further. But I also think of the limitations of logistics and the resources and the need to work on it. More than that talking with the teams working on multiple aspects of education, I am slowly realizing an urgent need to strengthen education sector databases and integrate qualitative as well as quantitative data. The conversation with the Millions Learning Team made it further clear. A recent blog from them highlights the same.

So as we celebrate the world teachers day calling them to be valued, respected, and empowered, I am just looking at it from how about seeing them as humans and thinking of their basic rights and listening to their narratives. Most importantly giving them a space to share their narratives but not fitting them into an already created narrative.

--

--