How long does it take to build a relationship? Decades? Years? Months? Weeks? Days? The answer depends on the two parties developing this relationship. It also depends on the kind of relation to be developed. And finally it also depends on the indulgence of each party towards one another. I start this conversation here because today I experienced a wonderful relation to have germinated between me and 42 fellow people. I talk about my undergraduate students of Civil Engineering of my workplace.
The students I teach are the ones who unfortunately had to spend their almost first 1.5 years of college at home due to online classes. I too began their classes in an online mode only. The online classes were not just a challenge for understanding the subject but also a challenge against social development of the students. Teachers are no robots. They deliver their lecture with words embellished with tone modulation, humor and random stories. These things form an essential part to connect during any conversation, even a conversation pertaining to delivery of a classroom lecture. Since these are more of social skills that require expressions and body language, I was very skeptical about the fact that whether I am even able to connect to these students or not?
Thankfully after a month long online classes, the University came with the policy of 100% offline classes. The two parties i.e. students and teachers had finally the opportunity to come into unison. I as a human believe heavily on the wonders of social skills on development of self and the people I am around. I was thus determined to reach out to my students and contribute as much as I could to make them develop a bond with their subject. Somewhere I was confident that I will achieve the goal as 5 more months of the semester were still left. But after only a month of offline teaching, I got a big career boosting opportunity knocking my door. It was something that I could not reject. Thus the bond which I had desired since forever to develop between my students and in turn make them better and confident young ladies and gentlemen, again became hazy.
But today, as I gave my last lecture to these students, I was unexpectedly blown away by the immense love and respect they showered me with. The smiles, the words, the efforts, my students had put in to show their gratitude has made me speechless. It has also made my conviction more strong that it is only through empathy that we can build bridges between people and make a much stronger world. I am even more convinced today that the efforts you put in, will always roar. These students inundated me with their thank you and farewell messages. But alas, it is me who is filled with gratitude towards each one of them. They have made me a better teacher and a more humble person than I was yesterday. I am very grateful my dear second year students. May you rise and shine and succeed in your life in terms of health, accolades, and happiness.