I am a JEE coach, and sometimes, it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I see the fear and anxiety in the eyes of my aspirants, and it breaks my heart. They are so young, so full of potential, and yet, they are reduced to mere numbers, a means to an end. It is hard not to get emotional when I think of the pressure they are facing, and the toll it is taking on their mental and emotional wellbeing.
I wish I could tell them that they are more than just their marks, that their worth as human beings is not defined by their scores. I wish I could hold them close and tell them that they are loved and valued for who they are, not for what they can achieve.
But the reality is that I am bound by a system that places all its emphasis on academic success. I am pushed to push them towards a narrow view of academics and life, to encourage them to take the safe route, to prioritize their marks over their passions. I worry that I am making them excellent analysts, but not excellent experimenters. For life is all about taking chances, and exploring the unknown and it tears me apart inside.
I see their struggles, their fears, their tears, and I want to do more to help them. I want to lift the burden from their shoulders, to give them the space and freedom to explore their own paths, to make their own mistakes, to learn from them.
But all I can do is try my best. To be there for them, to encourage them, to support them, to infuse in them the values of hard work, learning from mistakes, and perseverance. To remind them that success is not just about the destination, but also about the journey.
Sometimes, I feel like giving up, like the weight of their struggles is too much to bear. But then, I think of the satisfaction of knowing that at least I am trying. That even in the midst of this rat race, I am instilling in them the values that will help them become better human beings.
So I keep going. I keep pushing them to be their best selves, to dream big, to take chances. And even though it's hard, even though it makes me emotional, I know that it is worth it. For if I can make even a small difference in their lives, if I can help them become resilient, empathetic, and determined, then I know that I have done my job well.