Category Archives: Education

teacher and kid

A teacher’s day starts with the alarm chiming early in the morning. She shuts it down so that it does not jostle other family members fast asleep beneath warm comforters. She has a lot to accomplish before getting ready for school – it begins with collecting the newspaper and milk from the doorstep, making breakfast and lunch for the entire family and scrubbing the kitchen platform clean before gulping down some coffee and cold breakfast.

In this super marathon, she even manages to pull out an attractive dress to wear for the day, streaks her eyes with the remaining stub of the eyeliner – it needs to be replaced. Fixes stray locks of hair as the elevator descends and sometimes also takes time to smear the lipstick she carries in her ‘Super Purse’. Super, because it holds anything and everything one can imagine from pens, lipsticks to staplers! As she reaches school, there are duties to discharge and classes to take.

This is my usual morning routine too!

As I entered the staff room, I checked the timetable and made note of my classes. Then I casually walked towards the staff room notice board.

Surreptitiously, I checked the notices making sure there was no one around me.There, it was pinned right on top. This was what I had been dreading. ‘My class’ had earned the designation of being the ‘Dirtiest Class’ of the week.

 Again.

This was the seventh consecutive week it had been declared as the dirtiest class in school.

I walked back to my place with a heavy heart!

Everything had failed. Talking, counseling, mentoring and as the last resort, imposing penalty for littering the class with pencil shaving. Everyday, there were masses and masses of them. In spite of many warnings, someone was deliberately and relentlessly sharpening pencils and leaving all the shavings – fine wooden ones with coloured edges of red, blue, green and orange under the desks.

It was innocent mischief I knew but I didn’t know how to identify the culprit.

He or she was obviously very smart. And class unity was so strong that nobody revealed to me who was responsible for our class being nominated as the dirtiest class in school, week after week.

Every time I asked, ‘Who is doing it? Why don’t you dispose the pencil shaving in the dustbin of the classroom?’ The answer was, ‘Not we. It’s someone from the other class!’

This happened when I had to go to take lessons in other classes.

Fortunately, that day I didn’t have a class in the first hour and thought of some way… I could find the mischief-maker. I racked by brain….

Was there no way I could find my mischief-maker? Peacefully?
Is it possible to outsmart my little ones? I asked myself, almost pulling my hair.

And then I decided whatever had to be done, it was that day.
But, I didn’t know how I would do it!

I had a class in the second hour and I knew my naughty pencil-shaver would get into action after my class was over.

That day, I didn’t as usual tell my students to keep the class clean.

I didn’t say a word. I didn’t make any comment.

During the lunch hour, I peeped into the class when it was empty.

The shavings were back. They were all there, scattered in abundance under most of the desks.

I collected all the shavings, wrapped them in a piece of newspaper and kept it in my bag.Then I left, keeping my fingers crossed.

After lunch I went to my class, with a sheaf of white paper and announced that they weren’t going to study Science. Instead, they were going to draw and colour something very interesting for a competition.

The class was ecstatic… so thrilled they were that they did not even guess that something was wrong.I was so excited that I had trouble controlling my smile.

As the class started drawing, I pulled out the crushed paper from my purse. I placed it on the teacher’s desk and spread it out so that I could see the pencil shavings clearly.

And then I walked up and down the aisle, carefully scrutinizing every student colouring the picture they had made very enthusiastically.

The first one was colouring with red. It needed to be sharpened. It wasn’t him.

The third one was outlining the leaves with a darker shade of green. It, too, needed to be sharpened. It wasn’t her.

I walked past four more. And then I found my little culprit…!

He was a little fellow with the face of an angel!
His red pencil was sharpened very well.
Then I picked up his blue, green and orange pencils. They were all freshly sharpened and quite small in size.

As I stood next to him without a word, he looked at me innocently.
Giving me a huge smile, he said. ‘Hello Miss! Aren’t my mountains the highest in the whole world?’ he asked running a finger over one mountain peak proudly.

‘Yes, your mountains are the highest. But don’t you think the lines could be neater if your pencil was sharpened? The pencil point needs to be sharper. Don’t you think so?’ I asked looking at him expressionlessly.

‘Well, yes. I think you are right,’ he said looking at his pencil.
I noticed everyone had stopped drawing and were looking at us curiously.

‘And please use the bin when you want to sharpen your pencils and not the classroom floor.’ I said gently as I walked further down the aisle.

‘How did you find that out,’ he asked in bewilderment.

I controlled the smile again. He hadn’t realized that he had revealed the secret.

I turned to look at him with a secret smile.

‘Because once upon a time I was a student too!’ I said smiling wider. ‘Use the bin the next time and let’s try to win the Best Class award next month,’ I urged.

‘Sure Miss. Why not?’ he replied smiling back.

A look passed between us. There was respect and admiration in those eyes.

I celebrated that evening because I had been able to solve the mystery of the pencil shavings.

When everything fails in classrooms, teachers have to learn to think like students! And also listen to inanimate objects in the classroom.

Everything talks in a classroom from a blackboard to a chalk piece. We just have to learn to listen to them – like the way the pencil shavings told me who my little culprit was……

And the result is sheer magic!

Special Thanks to Kavita Bhupta Ghosh , teacher of DPS, Bangalore South, for sharing her thoughts. This Guest Post has been written by Kavita Ghosh.

teacher and kid

Peekaboo with Teacher

technology teacher and taught

I believe that we teachers live in the most exciting of times EVER. From lesson plans to content and the way we transact the same in the classroom can be different for every section and for every class that we teach. My teachers however had to depend on a few books and their notes which were handed down from generation to generation.

The student today, no longer has just two sources of information, the sage on the stage (us teachers) and textbooks. She has this boundless space called the Internet. I remember my days in school when getting a project or an assignment done with extra information was nearly impossible. Everyone waited for the few reference books/encyclopedias in the school library . Assignments done with parental help got the grades while those coming from less privileged homes had to resign themselves to lower grades.

For this and many other reasons, technology has come to be the great equalizer. Research after research from different corners of the world (my favourites being Dr.Sugata Mitra’s TED talks –A hole in the wall and A school in the cloud) has shown that all children can learn !!!!!

Now isn’t this the BEST news for someone whose vocation is teaching and for someone whose prayer every night is for her/his student to achieve their highest potential. While it is often thought that teachers perceive technology as threat, my experience leads me to believe that increasingly and at quite an astonishing pace teachers are adapting and adopting technology (in their classrooms and their lives).

The excitement with which I see teachers, both urban and rural using whatsapp, viber, youtube and many other apps with ease is heartwarming. Similarly in the classroom the teacher and the taught are sitting together learning with technology. Video conferencing or a Skype IIT JEE session in a remote village, SMART classrooms in towns, individual tablets/Laptops in cities and the Smart phone, everyone is using technology to LEARN and that is a FACT.

As technology evolves and gets embedded with accessibility features, it also becomes a Universal Design Platform. Assistive Technology will ensure ‘No Child is Left Behind’ in the true sense, which means that the future of India and the world will have more human resource than ever before because the marginalized will join the mainstream and walk together hand in hand into a brighter world for mankind.

This Guest Post has been written by Manju Balasubramanyam, DPS North Bangalore Principal

Read Manju’s other blog: Technology and me … and the learning continuum 

technology teacher and taught

Teacher, Technology and the Taught

Indian Education System

The Indian Education System is definitely a highly developed system that offers a plethora of avenues for students to pursue their preferred creative and intellectual courses. However, like with most other education formats, this system too has a mixture of loopholes. There are still various parts of the country where the quality and standards of education are absolutely abysmal. There are also a series of other inconsistencies of the education system. Due to such hiccups, students fail to secure their desired jobs even after scoring great marks in their academics. The schools, colleges and Universities have been reduced to mere examining bodies. Thus, it is pretty evident that our country needs a complete reboot. Take a look at the following aspects that help in this reboot.

Improving the quality of Education

When most parents force their kids to study engineering, management or medical, there’s something seriously wrong with the system. Yes! There’s a huge lack of creativity in our educational system. Besides a few top notch institutes, almost all the institutes want their students to fare well in the examination. Thus, ‘examination oriented studies’ are imparted to the students and the students too are quite satisfied with learning and studying the probable questions that may come in their upcoming examinations. This is creating a huge skills gap between the educational and the professional world. Instead of learning the soft skills or the basic communication skills, these students are pursuing education which is not education in its true sense. This can be evaded only when the quality and standards of education are improved.

Changing the syllabus

One of the major shortcomings of the Indian Education system is the syllabus that has not been updated for long. Most school, colleges and universities still follow the archaic syllabus which hardly has any practical or modern day application. Thus, instead of confining the books with theories practical applications should be incorporated whenever possible.

The syllabus should be made relevant enough for the present day. It should stress more on holistic learning than on examination based studies. The courses too should be made more diverse. These features will collectively make the educational system of our country, one of the best systems of the world.

Embracing technology

In order to reboot the Indian education system, we have to embrace technology. Instead of confining the curriculum of the students to books, emphasis should be made on incorporating technical modes. For instance, audio visual methods of teaching turn out to be way better than the conventional method of cramming books. Here, the students come closer to their subject and they also get to grasp a better insight on it.

What the Indian Education system needs today is sync with the developed countries, and it essentially doesn’t mean aping the west. Every education format needs to develop, better and take the good things for blending a complete system that works for the youth and young minds. That itself needs some governmental and school level changes, with clear on distinct goals.

Indian Education System

Indian Education System Needs a Reboot for Future