I have always been inclined towards the languages for as long as I could remember. Yet, like many of my contemporaries at a major crossroad in their lives, I chose the ostensible certainty of science over the fuzzy intricacies of language. Pragmatism prevailed and I distanced myself from the arts, believing that it would close many doors for me later in life.
While the years spent learning science and conducting research certainly shaped my perspectives, there was always a vestige of “what could have been”, a faint, lingering song that beckoned for one to find his tribe. Heeding the call, I returned to my roots in theatre and rhetorical arts.
This period proved to be a pivotal point and despite being halfway through a rigorous programme in my field, I made the switch to teaching media literacy courses in Secondary schools. The interactions with them made me realise that there were many creative young minds with the desire to learn. Beyond that, they needed to find that balance between meeting their academic expectations and finding a creative space to express themselves.
In the classroom, I have truly experienced what it means when people say that teaching is both an art and a science. Teaching English, in particular, bears out this truth. I try to imbue my classes with these two elements – the science of argumentation and the art of literary flair. We often talk about the workplace of tomorrow, but recent global developments mean that tomorrow is already here. English — the medium with which we think cogently, write fluidly and speak persuasively — remains evergreen even as the hard skills needed to thrive in the global landscape evolve over time.
Well after graduation, they may not step into the same river as I did, but the skills they learn here will enable them to chart their individual path.