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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our Children, Our Investment

Above me, I have a UNICEF year planner (calendar) and on it I read, "Our Children, Our Investment". Below this line, "A nation's future will mirror the quality of her youth- a nation cannot fool herself into thinking of a brighter future when she has not invested wisely in her children"- His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, King of Bhutan.

I stop to think about it and write few lines that wing my way because I am a father, a teacher and a citizen of my country and the World. These words ring so very true that I find my purpose renewed in life.

On the calendar I see pictures.

I see a young girl drenched in sweat but smiling like the flowers smile at sunshine. Her eyes squint as her face cajoles a beautiful smile that is full of hope.

I also see kids playing football, galloping with energy and in innocence, warming up for the future they are to give us. With pure energy, they exhibit undaunted spirit for our future.

Three children stand with smiles that are radiant and full of life. Their faces are full and show beautiful white teeth. In their stand I see their strength and in their shyness I see humility.

In another picture a group of children are eager and are crowded over a boy with his notebook. May be he is showing his friends how many 'goods' he got from his madam. I see the leader in him, strong and proud.

In the last photo, a father is washing cloths while the mother and the baby sit and watch. They are all smiling and the baby, who is younger than a year old, has a wide smile. Its mouth is widely opened and makes one feel the encouragement it is making its father feel.

They will smile into the future and will shine bright, but only if we nurture them.  

Very few joys in life can equal the joy that children give us.


     

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Without Internet and Television

I have no internet at home. When we first moved to our house I desperately tried to get internet and television connections. I bought a satellite TV receiver but the location of my house and the signal didn't comply. I and two of my friends from school carried the signal receiver and made rounds of my house and surrounding, searching for the TV signal but the signal was illusive and shy. My friend, the TV expert, concluded that the signal was blocked by a hill above my house. For the internet connection I requested a friend of mind, a Bmobile employee, and even wrote an application to the manager but my location and area was not on the Bmobile investment list.

So, the post I post on my blog are squeezed through little windows of time I find in my teaching schedule. Though I enjoy being able to post, I must say it takes away my time. The time that is meant for notebook correction and continuous assessment marking. Without the internet and television, me and my family, are ignorant of the happenings elsewhere. At home we don't know the outside world. We are in our own little world. To watch a big EPL match I need to drive or ride four kilometers from home. We listen to an old portable Phillips radio, from my college days, and it keeps us sufficiently updated at home. 

However, a home without internet and television has made it warmer. My wife reads to my son or tells him stories, rather than being on Facebook. We sit and chat over dinner. My son tells me about what he learnt at his daycare and which boy bullied him. I listen to my wife's happenings of the day and share mine. We do gardening and water the fruit trees. Without internet and television we are disconnected with the world but have renewed and found new connections at home.



Saturday, September 7, 2013

Being Alive in the Classroom

As a student I never thought how my body language, my facial expression and my participation in the classroom would dictate my teacher's enthusiasm in teaching me and my friends. May be it was because the teaching then was only about the teacher. The students had to simply listen.

I sometimes wonder how I would have been if my teachers had involved me in the learning. I was always a quiet boy in the class. Even when I knew the answer I would muffle my desire to speak out.

But as a teacher I cannot stand zombies in my classroom; there are few in every class. Their dreamy eyes droop like rich poppies, heads are supported in their cupped palms, loosely sit in their stiff wooden chairs and I can always tell who smells dead in my class.

It is sometimes interesting to have zombies in the class because they give you the excuse to stop for a while and talk about things other than the textbook. Everything is interesting but the text. But the teaching must go on.

So:

1. Attention on the particular student (primary)
2. Call them by their names (by their full names)
3. Ask questions (textbook help)
4. Questions that are not from the textbook can be more efficient sometimes; are you ok?/sick?hungry?/sleepy?/tired?...
5. Ask them to do something for you (makes them feel useful) and thank them
6. Crack a joke (always a good involver) if you can't ask a student to volunteer
7. Involve them: group task/whole class
8. Take a break