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Friday, December 2, 2011

Punakha; the Heat, and the Sleep.

Picture courtesy : Google Image 

Experiencing the cold now astounds me thinking about how hot Punakha gets during the summer.

During peak summer the real challenge a teacher in Punakha has to stand up to and compete with is sleep, which is induced by the heat. When the temperature soars 35 ° ,the fans simply fail to serve their purpose. During the summer a teacher has to also eat well so that he or she is very loud. We lose more energy in the form of voice when we compete with the noise of the fans swinging their never tiring arms. But if you think that a loud voice is all you need to keep your students alive and awake then you are wrong.

So, I resort to few things to keep them awake. One very effective strategy is cracking jokes. I am good with nonvege jokes but they are not appropriate in the classroom, so, I improvise. I use what ever I can to make them laugh and keep them alive.

One hot afternoon sleepiness was in the classroom when I entered. I could feel their exhaustion; the heat draining the last fresh breathe out of them. I started my lesson but my loud voice was like a lullaby it seemed for they started drooping like rich poppies one after the other. I saw Ngawang in the front row, struggling right under my nose, with his chin cupped in his palm supported with his arms resting on the desk. I could see his eyes gaining weight and slowly losing the strength to fight the onslaught of the sweet comforting sleep. I shouted at him and it brought him back but instantly thought, I had to do something about the whole lot before the sleep spread like an epidemic.
Picture Courtesy: Google Image

So, I improvised.

‘‘Hey everybody Nagwang was busy digging gold nuggets in his own little world and when I shouted at him, he immediately took his fingers out and subbed them into his mouth’’

I showed them how he was resting his chin on his palm and his fingers were busy up his nose. And how he took them out when he heard me, only to put them back into his mouth.

It worked very well; the whole class broke into a huge wave of laughter and came to life.

I hope Ngawang will forgive me. I still share about that afternoon in my classes with my present students whenever I find them drowsy.    

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Jackal, My friend

‘’Why do we sometimes write about ourselves and expect people to be interested? Because our stories are usually not about ourselves. It is about everything, and everyone, around us.’’ – Within the Realm of Happiness, Dasho Kinley Dorji.

I first met Sonam Gyeltshen five years a go when I first came here to Punakha HSS as a teacher.
We were new to the school only as teachers having been here as students before. He came on transfer from a middle secondary school but it was my first placement as a teacher. He got a transfer, I later found out, because he had some problem with the principal who according to him was not so nice.

Sonam Gyeltshen AKA Jackal is one of a kind and like any nickname-story he has his story too. When studying at Zhemgang High School he danced to a Michael Jackson song, and he got the name Michael Jackson. Over time Michael Jackson became Michael Jackal and by the time I met him he was only Jackal.
Jackal is an interesting man, someone you would call a straight guy. Once right after the winter break we were behind the kitchen smoking and I saw a fresh scar right in the middle of his forehead. I asked him what happened and he said his wife broke a mug on his forehead. I didn’t buy it at first but then I saw he was not kidding so I asked why. He said he was flirting with a madam from Thinleygang MSS and had some messages in his phone, which his wife saw. His wife brought it up during dinner. He didn’t give in to the accusation and failed to dodge the mug.

I used to often see Jackal busy engrossed in chat rooms. Once he met a girl, he told me. She told him that she was a divorcee running a shop at Wangdue. His Jackal ears sprang up. She seemed unrealistically interested in him and wanted to meet him having already seen him before. He could not believe his luck.  To me he later said, “I was a tsagay (idiot), she was too sweet to be true”
They agreed a time and later that evening he told his wife he was going out to attend a farewell party for one of the out going teachers. His wife didn’t say anything, but when he was about to reach Wangdue his wife called.

‘’I know where you are tchaytola (sex maniac) come back home or else…!’’

The girl he met in the chat room was his wife.
Was there another mug thrown at his forehead? I didn’t ask, may be I should.

Once in his class, in order to revise the previous lesson he decided to have a question-answer session. He asked a boy, “Wrong answer!” so he knuckled his fore head. He continued asking the same question and he received the same answer from almost half of the class. He went on knuckling all of them until he stopped to think and then realized that the answer was right. He was wrong.
The Jackal at the school dairy farm.
To me, with a smile he said, “We are lucky to teach in Bhutan, to have students who would just laugh and forget about something like that.”  

But all said and done, Jackal is a good teacher, above all he is a good person and a good human being. He is the SAP (School Agriculture Program) coordinator in the school and with his effort the school has received numerous recognitions and awards.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Size

Picture from Google Image.

People say size matters and this line literally exhibits me or, you may say, is exhibited by me. I am short, skinny, and tiny and I am a teacher with students who are all bigger than me. But, I do find some use for my size/height.  I crack height-jokes in my after noon classes to shake off sleep in my students.
I talk a lot about my wife in my class and my students ask, ‘‘isn’t she taller than you sir?’’
I say she is, and she makes me feel like Tom Cruise. When I slow dance I rest my head on her soft bosom and that I have to be on my toes when I kiss her. They laugh and I continue my lesson with students who are more awake.

There have been many instances where my size deceived people.  But my favorite is the one I share with most of my friends.

It was sometime in 2010, beginning of the year when the class ten results were out. The previous year I taught in class ten so I wanted to know how my students did their exam.
There is a grocery shop in the building next to the building where I live. The owner of the building and the man who runs the grocery is the father of one of my students.  The boy is an average student, not someone whom you as a teacher needn’t worry about when it came to results.
So, one evening I was in the shop buying some grocery, just to enquire, I asked the old man,
‘‘Uncle how is Namgay’s (my student) result?’’
The reply was, ‘’ the tsagay (idiot) didn’t qualify! Did you qualify?’’
I told the man I was his son's teacher but he didn’t seem to be convinced, so, I told him to ask his son if he didn’t believe me. It was quite embarrassing at that time but seems funny now.

My size/height is something I use a lot in my class, like I said before. At one time I was talking about the importance of making characters credible in stories. Like most times, I took my own example. I told them that if I were a character in their story, and if they wrote that, ‘with just one punch Nobu knocked out Sir Bhim’ (Mr. Bhim is huge and the biggest teacher in school), will I, as their character seem credible? ‘‘Noooo!’’ They laughed but then I told them my character could become credible if they made me ‘spider man’ or ‘super man’ and their story would be a ‘super hero story.’ They laughed more and I continued my lesson.

Once I was trying to explain the size of a grizzly bear to my students. I didn’t have a picture and most of my students hadn’t even heard the word before. So, I told them that if I were the local black bear then the grizzly bear would be as huge as Sir Bhim. ‘’Imagine that!’’ They laughed, I knew they were imagining me in some funny bearskin, but then they had some idea about the size of a grizzly bear and I continued my lesson.

So, being tiny is useful after all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the chill and correction

The chill curls around my bare knees like a pussy cat. I shiver with the intense smooching it gives me and struggle with the correction that is before me. I think about going out in the sun but I am so used to working on my table that I can't make myself leave the familiar setting. So, I continue.

The variety of the hand writings, the ideas, the errors and the presentations always overwhelms me. So, before I begin I make sure I am in a good mood because I want to be fair and mark what they(students) deserve. But I am only human, so sometimes I can't help but lose myself to anger. Anger is destructive   and it manifest in my restrain in not wanting to tear, crumple, abuse and destroy the answer script before me. This happens, and I feel ashamed of myself for losing my cool. One may say this is natural and it is only normal. But, I know they are wrong and so am I in becoming angry with the paper before me.

English paper correction is the most challenging. I know most teachers will agree on this, especially when we consider the strength of our students in English. And there is also the nature of the answer to validate my claim. While correcting essays/stories the teacher needs to have full presence of mind and follow the logic of the writing with a coherent conscience. It is in short, mentally very tiring. Following words on end strains the eyes and if one continues it induces headache and dizzy state.

When it is correction time, in our school's case; group evaluation, faces frown.

The thought of having a Correction Machine always intrigues and excites me, but I know that is the escapee in me conspiring to slow me down in my correction. So, I continue my work cursing myself and the cold.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Punakha Dzong

The Dzong during the Royal Wedding
Like a Maiden the Dzong smiles.   See
Her laughter swells and falls with the river’s song.      Hear
The fresh breeze I gulp down,      Taste
As the sweetness in the air plays upon my nose,     Smell
Excitement beats like a drum within me,   Feel
As I watch the glorious Dzong before me.  Do
My imagination makes me happy,   Imagine
Coloring my dreams and giving them life.      Dream

A poem written during the creative writing workshop.

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Epiphany

Nicole Pluss
For the first time in my life I find clarity with what I want to do with it and the happiness is so overwhelming that I find no words to describe it. I want to write and I want to develop my craft slowly and softly so that I don’t rush things.  I want to take time and do this one thing properly and fully. Nicole Pluss says, ‘I know I have a mountain to climb but I also know that there are people who will try to pull me up,’ I don’t know if she felt it but she was that hand that gently stroked me to wake me up from my slumber and pulled me one step up the mountain. I would like to thank her for helping me see clearly. After the two days workshop on creative writing I now realize I had already started my journey but I just didn’t realize it myself, this journey up the mountain.

Writing is not easy and it will test my passion and it will test my dedication. At this moment I feel I will get through the ordeals, I just need to follow my dream and be ready for disappointments I will face. I know the struggles that I will have to undergo and I also know the discipline that I will have to bring into my life. But if I don’t give it a shot I know I will never be happy later in my life.  

Most people say that they want to write but later they don’t, because they are not able to commit themselves to the long-term dedication. I see writing and embarking on this journey up the mountain as doing something worthwhile but also as bringing discipline to my life and committing myself fully to something I value in my life. But more than anything I hope to become a better person through the writings I write. I have always regarded writing as a ground for reflecting on my feelings, opinions and thoughts. Writing will give me the moments to contemplate on myself and better myself as a human being. I hope I will find my purpose met with the writings I will write.

My father always tells me to specialize in something that I have keen interest in, to set some long-term goals and start working towards them slowly. Till now I could never think of anything I might do but the answer was right under my nose. It had been staring up at me all this time but I never looked. I want to learn and teach creative writing and if possible I want to write, I want to imagine and I want to dream and see my dreams take shape with the images I will draw with the words I choose.

I don’t want to worry. I want to take it easy but at the same time I want to do it sincerely. I want to forget time when I am doing it and I want to make myself happy by remembering the time when I am not doing it.  I am writing this today because I want to commit myself to the journey I will take, to remember this day many years from now when I may look back and smile. When I will be again looking up at the mountain, but that time I should have finished climbing it, I hope.

8th October 2011, time 2:37 PM

Friday, August 12, 2011

Poems For the Royal Couple by my students.

The Day We Waited For - Tashi Choden XI Sci A , Punakha HSS

The day that we waited for,
The moment that we longed for all these years,
Has finally come,
Has finally blessed us.

I, like the rest of your people am excited,
Yet, cannot express my feelings.
I can only feel deep within myself,
The warmth of the occasion.

So, I just want to wish you happiness,
May happiness forever be yours with her by your side.
May the two of you shine together and grow in love,
Wiser and fonder of each other as the years unfold.

With this beginning of a new chapter in your life,
May you live in each other the dream you always dreamt.
May the two become one and grow on each other.
Undying, undaunted, unwavering and undulated.

The people’s Queen will be crowned.

 My King’s Queen – Kelden D Tshomo XI Sci C, Punakha HSS

Love and marriage go through,
Like a horse and the carriage.
One needs to give the best,
At the very first choice.

As the farsighted King,
Has chosen his little bride,
Happiness is blowing in the wind.
Celebrations surround us all.

October 13th , he announced,
And there was excitement everywhere.
With the lovely bride-to-be.
We wish you a Happy Marriage.

Happiness for My King. – Dawa Norbu XI Com, Punakha HSS

When once the sun shined,
For the karmic cycle of Ling Khesar.
The flowers bloomed with sweet fragrance,
And the rainbows embraced the Earth.
From her Highness Ashi Tshering Yangden Wangchuk,
The Dragon’s Heir smiled.
As the heavens gazed down to bless
The People’s King was born.

The Gods keep him close,
The angels hold him dear.
And today an angel has become dearer to him,
She has won a special place in his big heart.

She is my King’s love,
My country’s mother,
Our people’s prayers answered,
And my King’s true joy.

If other leaders and kings behold her,
For her they would battle and gift diamonds.
And if beggars and poor men behold her,
They would sacrifice to win her.

But nether to beggars nor to other kings,
Belongs my Ashi Jetsun Pema.
But to my adorable King does she belong,
Who is the most capable of holding her hand tenderly.

The Heavens will gather to bless their union,
The people will sing their heartfelt songs which they have been saving,
The universe will conspire to unite them,
And, I will sing my poem as a song for them.

To My King and Queen – Tshering Tashi, XI Sci A, Punakha HSS

The moment I heard the news,
I emptied my heart, and filled it with happiness,
For I could not help but feel overwhelmed,
For I could not help but feel sheer joy.

Your Highness Ashi Jetsuen Pema,
Thank you for making my King happy.
Thank you for holding his hand,
And thank you for being kind to us.

You are that new light,
That will further brighten my King’s World.
The World that the two of you will nurture together,
In happiness, in love, with compassion, and with maturity.

My King has made his people happy,
By deciding to give us a Queen.
But he has made us more happy,
By choosing Ashi Jetsun Pema.

On the joyous auspicious occasion,
The Gods and Goddesses will come to Earth,
For Heaven then will be on Earth.
When our King will take his bride.

I wish I could express all the joy that’s in my heart.
Join my hands and smile a contented smile.
A smile like a smile at the end of reading a fairy tale,
For I see and know the pair will live, ‘Happily Ever after’. 

My King is tying his Heart – Pema Norbu XI Sci C, Punakha HSS

Oh, My King!
I salute, I bow,
To you and your greatness.
We owe you our happiness.
A King you are,
Yet so simple, so humane.
You in truth are the People’s True King.
My lavish but true praises are in your honor.

Your love for us is boundless,
For your heart is wide like the mighty ocean,
For your first love is your people.
But I beg you to let us be your second.

For now, to help you love your people and country more,
Your Love, Ashi Jetusen Pema will take your side.
You will rest your tired head on her lap at the end of your day,
She will steal you away, and sooth your tired shoulders.
She will listen to the words from your heart,
And you will find in her your wishes fulfilled; your dreams come true.
So, may you fall in love with your Queen,
Every morning, every new day, again and again.

We hold our hands as one,
And our souls together to pray.
A toast to your love and joy,
Warm Good Wishes to both your reign.

Happy for My King – Sonam Yangchen, XI Sci C, Punakha HSS

Always a bright smile on her face,
Pure light shines in her eyes.
Gentleness and gracefulness; natural for her.
Above all, virtuous she is.

I saw her once upon a dream,
Shortly this dream will become real.
My heart sings for my King,
As I know he is happy.

The wedding sounds sweet,
And we long for it sooner.
Our hearts beat impatiently,
But beat with joy.

I know a similar beat beats in my King’s chest,
I know he is also impatient to make us happy.
He is also counting the days and dreaming the day,
When we will celebrate his love for his Queen.

So I am happy for my King,
For I know he is happy.

 The Priceless Moment – Shabnam Thatal, XI Sci C, Punakha HSS

The moment of joy is on its way.
A moment to be cherished and a moment to be remembered.
A moment like this comes once in a life time,
I know this, so I write my heart’s desire.

Every time we talk about the royal wedding,
Smiles flair up and brighten many faces.
Hearts become light and float like the cotton clouds
High and euphoric becomes our state.

The moment that will unfold will be marked in history,
Engraved in our hearts, printed in time.
Our King is marrying a beautiful sweet Queen.
May they forever be in love.
May they pour into each other their hearts and souls.
May they forever be young  and never grow old in love.
May they climb the ladder to higher goals,
And may they live in each other their dreams.

I join many of my fellow citizens,
To wish our King and Queen,
To pray for their happily-ever-after,
I wrote this poem.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Yeshi, Yuden and Rita.
I teach with faces
I learn innocent faces
So wear happy face

Monday, June 6, 2011

GNH in the Classroom, Experiences from the classroom

‘’It is with the heart that one sees rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’’
                                                                                             ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY,
                                                                                             The Little Prince

If I am not wrong, in simple words, GNH in the classroom means how I manage my young boys and girls without any conflict and in complete harmony. If the relation I share with my students is that of mutual respect, professional challenge and collaborated harmony, that relation is a happy one. A relation like that will sprout learning so spontaneously that learning would be the most natural and likely thing to happen.

For a classroom to become a GNH classroom there are many elements which should be placed within the classroom. Some of the important are; the physical ambiance of the class, the conducive mental atmosphere that should be created by the teacher, encouragement and reinforcement from the teacher is very crucial, infusing values in the daily lessons, reflecting and linking the lesson learnt to the ten core life skills and a class that allows free thinking or in other words doesn’t reject imagination.

Mental Health of students is very important and realizing its crucial status in perusing GNH, the Ministries of Health and Education have trained focal teachers and these focal teachers are assisting and training their colleagues in making the school a better place for our students. The Life Skills, which are at the heart of the school Mental Health is about Emotional Intelligence. A student who is intelligent and does well in studies will not always do well in life, but a student who is emotionally intelligent will do well in life. Emotional Intelligence includes skills, with which an individual learns how to cope with his or her emotions; it includes self-awareness and impulse control, persistence, zeal and motivation, empathy and the ability to motivate oneself, according to Daniel Goldman in his book, ‘Emotional Intelligence’. He says, ‘these skills can be taught to children, giving them a better chance to use whatever intellectual potential the genetic lottery may have given them.’  This is exactly what the Life Skills are focused on; making our students emotionally intelligent.

GNH in the classroom is beyond the fallacious classroom appearance created by the glossy teaching aids on the walls or a clean classroom or a classroom with disciplined students how only know how to respect their teachers. GNH in the classroom is a free space for Powerful Learning. Powerful Learning is possible when the class management is tolerant of learning through critical thinking and is open to suggestions, in other words ‘critically friendly’.
The other significant element for Powerful Learning is the teaching strategy which should reflect values. There is no need to have separate value classes, values can be taught through subject lessons. However, these two entities can also be seen as one, as their objectives are same; to promote Powerful Learning. A classroom where Powerful Learning takes place is more than the classroom where the conventional learning takes place. Powerful Learning is powerful because the students are equally involved in the teaching because, they critically think, confidently share (their view), energetically argue, and happily learn. When all this happens you are sitting in a GNH classroom.

During a visit by His Majesty the Fifth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty said, ’Learning to learn is the Greatest Education’. Our students should learn how to think; being imaginative and creative are important and what should come after it is more important; that is voicing their thoughts. 

This is where the teacher comes in. Our children are raised to be obedient, and respect their elders, so because of this they do not challenge their parents or teachers and most hesitate to share their views in the classroom or question the teacher. But a teacher can make all the difference, a teacher with the right attitude, motivation, and encouragement for the students can help his or her students learn how to think and learn how to learn.  

Most students who do not voice their answers or views in the classroom, are the ones who need the maximum support from the teacher. With the right attention, encouragement, reinforcement and emotional support they are likely to do as good as any other student in the class room. For this to happen, a teacher is more than someone who teaches, he or she is a friend to his or her students. This rapport between a teacher and his or her students is at the core of happiness in the class room. When such an amiable relationship connects a teacher to his or her students, happiness is the most likely thing to happen in the class room because students learn how to learn on their own by thinking out of the box and getting the platform to voice their opinions without fear of getting criticized or rejected. 
 It makes the job of the teacher livelier as students actively participate in the class room discussion. For the teacher this is job satisfaction and job satisfaction is the key factor in our pursuit of happiness as an individual. A teacher who finds job satisfaction in his or her teaching profession is hundred percent sure to deliver happiness in his or her class room, for he or she is a happy teacher teaching happy students in a happy school, in a happy country.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

His Majesty's Visit

On 30th April His Majesty the Fifth Druk Gyalpo visited my school. It was a pleasant morning and everyone in the school was very excited. The atmosphere in the multipurpose hall where we waited, I felt, was intoxicatingly intense with everyone eager to meet His Majesty.
His Majesty came to school and only talked about love. When asked by one of the students, what he as a king expected from an educated Bhutanese, he simply told the student and all the other students to love their husbands and wives in the future. His Majesty said charity begins at home, so happiness should also begin at one’s home and then extend outwards. It was a morning filled with His Majesty’s laughter, the atmosphere in the hall was lively and everyone/thing was gay.

It was also on that fine auspicious morning that His Majesty announced that he has decided to marry. A suitable person who will be his better half has been found. And there was love in the air.

I was simply amazed to watch how effortlessly His Majesty connected with the students. His Majesty didn’t mention a single word about studying hard or serving the nation but simply talked about Love that morning.

And I thought, 'We are so lucky to have His Majesty.'

Thursday, April 21, 2011



AP-school agriculture program has been instituted in almost all the schools and Punakha higher secondary school is no exception. It was initiated and reinstated as part of club activity in the year 2007 under the guidance of Mr. Bal Krishna Dungyel and the principal  Mr.Kinley Gyeltshen.
Today, this club stands as one of the most successful clubs with 30 members and two co-coordinators along with SAP committee members.“Students learn by doing. They learn to respect dignity of labour and also value community service,” is what Mr.Sonam Gyeltshen, the club coordinator has to say. “LEARNING BY DOING,” thus stands their motto with the vision, to realize the concept of GNH through educational process by imparting values of dignity of labour, in mitigating rural to urban migration of youth and thus ushering balance development in the country.

The SAP area includes a small demo garden for the members to learn how to grow a variety of crop. The SAP covers the school agriculture house gardens, and horticulture too.
The school has a dairy farm surrounded by the fodder cultivation. There is a cowshed with two milking cows and two small calves. Am Prasad of class x along with his friends milks the cows twice a day. The milk is sold to the teachers and the staff. The milk makes revenue about 6000-7000 in a month.
The SAP club members work every Wednesday and Saturday and other days of the week subjected to the needs and demands of the work.  And each of them has different experiences to share joining the club. “I learnt many values, can share common interest with friends and I learnt mushroom cultivation,” is what Sonam Penjor, (XC) has to say. There are other students like Yangchen, Amrita, and their friends who are very happy working there learning to value the dignity of labour and gain knowledge on cultivation of variety of crops. Nicholas Rai, a class 10 student wants to work hard to achieve the medal as the best RNR student.
The SAP committee members plays a bigger role in creating awareness and providing opportunities in Agriculture, plan the house agriculture activities as per the SAP action plan. They assist house parents in providing technical and other necessary support like seeds, manure and the methods of plantation and growing crops. The organic method of growing crops is practiced. The EM compost and vermin compost are the top priority.
 As a recognition and motivation, the SAP committee award medals to the best RNR students and certificates to all the members. The awards are from The Council for RNR Research of Bhutan under the Ministry of Agriculture. It also awards prizes in the form of cash as incentives to the houses based on their performance.
SAP has plans to start Bio-gas plant. The proposal has been already submitted to the Ministry of Education and the club is waiting for the approval. Once the proposal is accepted, it would spell success for the club as well as the school. The bio-gas produced can be utilized in the School Kitchen, which can cut down the expenditure incurred in the usage of Electric rice-cookers and  firewood, and thus help the school achieve one of the pillars of GNH i.e. ‘Preservation and conservation of nature.’ The club has also plans to start a  Green House for raising early nurseries to meet the requirements of house gardens.
 The club has already started with Shiitake Mushroom Cultivation and Straw Mushroom Cultivation on trial basis to provide education on Mushroom cultivation. The straw Mushroom is already a success.

The SAP started in  schools in Bhutan in July 2000 as a joint venture between Ministry of Education and Ministry of Agriculture with the sole objective to provide basic agricultural education and provide a platform  to practice the improved methods of modern farming in an integrated  approach( organic way of vegetable growing and livestock)  to produce green fresh vegetables to supplement nutritional values of boarding students  and to gain   awareness of self employment opportunities in the RNR sector in the near future. Thus the SAP in the Punakha higher secondary school provides the forum for the younger generation to consider farming as a viable occupation.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Of Journals and Correction.

Lately I have been very busy because I have asked my students to start writing journals. My students write three journal entries for one week and they have to get it corrected from me and rewrite again. The journal entry can be on anything they like to write about. It can be describing the tree outside their classroom, or guesses about why the teacher was late, or describing their friend or the can be about anything. Anything, as long as it is not personal. 

I have started this so that they will improve their writing skills, express their thoughts better. I have also asked them to borrow/use the words and phrases they come across in their reading to express their own ideas and emotions in their journals. Like other classes my students don't maintain writing portfolios but they update their reading portfolios by writing the book reviews. I don't know where will this will take us, but am hopeful that it will result into something positive. 

The only problem, on my part, lies in getting the journals corrected on time and handing them back. At the time when i asked them to write, i didn't realize the amount of correction i would have to do. I have three classes, in each class there are more than forty students, a total of hundred twenty six students(126), each one of them writes three times in a week, which sums up my correction work of three hundred seventy eight(378) journal entries a week. May be I have bitten off more than what I can chew.

My table, my journals.
One journal entry by a class eleven girl reads, ''No one is allowed to gossip during study hours, so some students who love to share their feelings feel very frustrated for having to keep quiet. Some who cant control speaking, murmur to their friends but when the murmurs slowly turn to loud noise, the captain stands up from the corner and shouts loudly, 'Girls'. With no option left and having to obey, all gossip lovers pause for a moment. the study hours are exclusively for studies but some other activities can be seen around. Some can be singing, some chewing, some sleeping, some plucking hair from their heads and some yawning. Some of the students can be seen looking time and again at their watches to begin the count down.

Another boy from class eleven science writes about what his mother advised him, '' Smile can make your life different, it will cost you nothing, this was what my mother always told me. i followed her advice, though at first it was very hard for me to smile at every face. But slowly I was able to do it. Now I do it always and I like it. I gain pleasure as others smile back at me. Like my mother told me, I am experiencing a different world, this world is beautiful with flowers in every eyes. I use to see serious faces before but didn't realize that it was not them, it was me. Now I will smile every time to be happy and share happiness.''

Friday, March 18, 2011

“The Bhutanese Democracy-Gift from the Golden Throne” An Essay. BY; Ngawang Tobgay, XII SCI ‘B’ Punakha .H.S.S, 2010

Bhutan the ‘Land of Thunder Dragon’ for a complete century has been under a wonderful system of Monarchy. Through good and bad times alike, she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideal which gave her strength because of the farsighted kings who led her. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, and opening of opportunity to the greater triumphs and achievement that await us with its change to be a Democratic nation.
His Majesty the Fifth King said ;
“The highest achievement of one hundred years of Monarchy has been the constant nurturing of Democracy. This has culminated with the first sitting of Parliament and the start of Democracy, where my father the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and I, hereby, return to our people the powers that had been vested in our kings by our forefathers one hundred years ago. We do so with absolute faith and confidence, offer our complete support and prayers for the success of Democracy”
Bhutan enjoyed long, unprecedented peace under the benevolent and dynamic leadership under our Monarchs. Bhutan has remained a sovereign ,independent and a happy country throughout  its recorded history , not through mere good fortune but because our great leaders  and forefathers greatly cherished and valued our way of life and our unique national identity, with their selfless dedication and hard work for the happiness and wellbeing of the people. And moreover with their utmost concern in the service of the country, the dynamic Wangchuck dynasty has not only gained the great love and loyalty at home but respect throughout the globe.
The move towards a Democratic constitutional Monarchy form of government in the year 2008 can be track back to the reign of Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. He introduced revolutionary political reforms to empower the people in participating and decision making with regard to governmental affairs. These political reforms started with the founding of the National Assembly of Bhutan in 1953, which culminated in the formation of Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogdu (DYT) and Gewog Yargay Tshogdu (GYT).The devolution of power and the writing of the Constitution during the reign of Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The first two Kings consolidated the sovereignty and security of the nation, while the Third and Fourth Kings decentralized powers to the people gradually leading to the Democracy in the country during the time of the Fifth King.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people”.  Therefore, in a Democratic form of government, it allows each and every individual to exercise their right in participating and decision making with regard to the governmental affair and the right to vote and elect the right person to the power, whereby the citizens of the country can efficiently contribute to the developmental progress in the country. The fundamental rights which are protected and ensured by democracy for the people is of utmost importance that we the people exercise these rights selflessly to ensure we contribute to support the government. There by democratic form of government can become the best form of government if it enjoys the peoples support and contributions.
In most countries Democracy did not come easy, there were lots of social violence. The people had to overthrow governments and leaders to have democracy. In Bhutan it is amazing to know that after a century of Monarchy, the transition to Democracy came without any conflict. It is with the complete selfless dedication, genuineness and the brilliance of our Fourth and Fifth Druk Gyalpo, which let this transition to be an extraordinary success and achievement. Our kings gave up power for the sake of the people.
In a democratic state the people have to be actively involved in the developmental policies to make the government effective. We have the right to raise voices against injustice and atrocities. Democracy gives us this height and opportunity. Democracy is better than other forms of government because it emphasizes to give individual freedom, freedom of speech and expression. But, to what extent do we as good citizens use these rights well is of utmost importance, because in exercising our powers do we have to realize our responsibility to our country and the expectations of our beloved kings.
It is with this notion and view that our wise and benevolent kings have planned for this valuable transition even before we knew what was democracy. One very important attribute of Democracy is that people are given ample opportunities to become strong and self reliant and it reflects the will of the people in the governance of the country.
In our country Bhutan, it convincingly appears that the nation will achieve greater heights with the new form of government as our leaders have cleverly initiated the foundation of constitutional Bodies such as the Election Commission, the Royal Audit Authority and the Anti- Corruption Commission for the smooth functioning of the newly introduced Democratic government.
Dawn or Dusk? ...Your perception.
It is the farsighted and enlightened leadership of our Druk Gyalpos that Bhutan’s transition from Monarchy to Democracy could take place without social upheavals. In doing so, our leaders have proven themselves as enlightened rulers of great vision, wisdom and extraordinary courage. The transition to Democracy is indeed, a remarkable Gift from the Golden Thorne!
We pray that we may be worthy of the unlimited goals and opportunities that our leaders have bestowed upon us. And hope the Land of Thunder Dragon will bloom with utmost magical flowers of prosperity, peace, and happiness along with the fulfillment of our ideal of GNH in this most awaited new era of Democracy.
Palden Drukpa Cholay Namgayel!’

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Principal. Update from Punakha HSS.

Mr. Yesh B Ghaley

(This writing may not be of much interest to people who are not related to Punakha HSS.)
You hear words and you form images in your head, bits of colors, vague outlines and broken figures come together like pieces of puzzles to give life to your interpretation of the person. You try to form a picture as close as possible to the real man from the information you gather. It’s an interesting game and you may marvel at the many pictures you form and reject in your mind. This is what I did when I heard that my school was getting a new principal.

I heard his name, ‘Yesh B Ghaley’, and instantly images started forming in my head. Later I heard more about him, a little from here and a little from there, the picture became clearer.

Like one of the supporting staff described him after seeing him, ‘very hansom’, very true, he is hansom. But beyond the good looks, I found him overwhelmingly powerful. I don’t know if my opinion will remain the same but his first address to the students and teachers in his first morning assembly speech surely was. One of the madams said she was now his fan.

The stereotypical definition of personality is greatly dominated by body fat or physical size in our society. The quintessential boss in the Bhutanese mindset is fat because of the dominant role that the boss should play. However, this is changing and I do see flickers of that promising change in my new principal. My new principal is not fat, he is tall but he is not huge, yet he has such a compelling personality. He is not feisty but composed. Some one said this is the first time that Punakha HSS got a tall Principal.

My old principal, when he was leaving the school, told us that he was passing us onto better hands. At the moment I don’t doubt his words and am hopeful I will never get the chance to doubt him.