Monday, July 7, 2014

It's July

World Cup madness...Neymar is out, Brazil is still in the chase; soup kitchen blunders by our ever ready to shoot-themselves-in-their-own-foot politicians; a missing plane; political maneuverings, uncertainties about water rationing, instigations from the mouths of leaders..... the never ending effort to ressurect the ghosts of May 13...

Just came out from another round of activities. I made it to the papers too... in a paper I don't read and a language I am painfully lacking in. A feature article... Lol! Made my mom proud though. At this age, I still feel kinda good that my mom felt a little sense of pride. Mom is hardly one who will heap lavish praises. But still, it's just a 'paper appearance'... Lol! Prints fade, paper disintegrates. Today's news is forgotten after a while.

My classes are finally on the 21st century bandwagon. Started using the Chromebooks in class this term. It's slow going. Thought the students were tech savvy enough. Turns out, digital literacy is something which needs time to teach too. I run my class from what used to be an unused computer lab. It's a nice and comfy class for teacher and learners. Schools ought to have classrooms like this. In this spate of humid and warm weather, it is a wonder that our students can still stay alert after half a day of slowly being 'grilled' in the class.

I have no one to guide me in this area. So far it has been a trial and error run. Time is something which never seems to be enough these days. I would start a lesson and then discover that the students don't have the skills for what I have in mind. I have been doing a lot of adapting, modifying and changes on the spot. Sometimes I switch topic totally. Teaching language affords me that. It has been challenging. But in all that chaos, I think I sense an increased interest among students. I find it fun too. I started off ambitious, wanted to do a PBL. I scaled down to just teaching students how to use Google almost immediately... Lol. But we are making progress.

Time is the one thing that I lack. Too many teaching periods. Too many students in a class. A Victorian production mill we still are. Individualized learning... I think we are still far from that. Students look and feel independent enough but they are not. The challenge is not to equip them with the necessary skills or change the way we look at how technology can best be used in education but to inculcate the love for knowledge. It's not that kids don't get excited over knowledge. It's just they have been dulled by the rigours of rote. The chase for A(s) has killed the ability to love knowledge. Sad. More of everything though, I think the level of ignorance has remained almost the same too... throughout the ages. Seems like the graph is hard to change.

There are always other duties that stand in the way of teaching... and other things that crop up that need our attention. I wish teachers be left alone to just teach. And there is always the personal domain too... One that demands our attention as well. Work and family - they remain two areas in a working woman's life that continually put her into a conundrum of sorts. I find myself not just wishing for more hours, more energy but sometimes a release.

Social conditioning... Pavlov's experiment on conditioning. Been many years but of late this topic has caught my fascination again. A recent video highlights this very aptly...
Undoing a stereotyping or reconditioning? 5000 years of written history and for the most part women have been told they are not suitable or capable of many things. Women are set into a lesser role, to serve. Over 26 million hits in less than a fortnight. One thing for sure out of this though.... education is definitely on the roll here. 8) It would have been impossible to reach this many in such a short time, even as recent as 20 years ago! I watched my students as they laughed through the comic of the first part and then the silence. But many could not catch the message too. 8(
One thing I learned though. Many things which we feel are set or unquestionable, we actually have no certainty of the truth. One thing that feels certain is that the human mind is an active cauldron... one which is capable of 'cooking' up many things.... it's just we label them differently.
It's July... and it'll go away soon. August is waiting....

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