On my way to school, I was using my phone intently. A 9 year old Boy turned to me at the traffic crossing and asked, “Are you playing Pokemon GO?”
I smiled at the question.
“Nope, sadly I don’t. You?”
“I caught 74 Pokemon so far. Sir, you know I wanna be a Pokemon Master.”
That statement blew me away a little. Why? No, not because he completed the PokeDex in a day. But the fact that this Boy has a dream. Yes, his dream may appear small and insignificant to many adults but to him, it is ginormous, and he is well on his way to catch em’ all.
I am an educator. For many years now, my dream is to fulfill the dreams of others. Youths today do not need a sage on a stage, but a guide by the side.
To my fellow teachers, I think we should all start playing Pokemon GO! …Urm, I mean we should all learn to listen to the dreams of our students. Homework, projects and exams wont get them there;
Our students are like Pokemon. They need someone to catch and train them. Our students want to win battles and earn gym badges.
They have their strengths and weaknesses (e.g. fire-type is super effective against grass-type). Not all of them are good in Math and Physics. Teachers, give them room to fail. It is okay. Stop expecting a Bulbasaur to beat a Charizard.
Sometimes they lose. It is our job to bring them to the Pokemon center to nurse their disappointment (e.g. not performing for N Levels).
They level up too. Some evolve faster than others; others take a little more time. Some, like Pikachu, do not even know how to evolve until you give him a moment of inspiration (i.e. thunder stone).
Over the years, I have seen so many teachers throw away students like Magikarps. Yes, they do not seem to be very capable initially. But with much patience and love, they soon become Gyarados – strong and fearless.
Teachers, we are visionary leaders. We do not predict the future; we create it.
As an educator, I choose to see my students as Eevees. They have the freedom to become a Flareon, Vaporeon or Jolteon. Lawyer, plumber, architect, or whichever so long they serve Singapore with excellence and integrity.
Question: Am I catching my students’ hearts and training them to become their very best?
P.S. Not every student can be a legendary Pokemon, and that’s fine