Wednesday, 30 December 2015

You were always there…

Kids are rolling in line, and you are stationed still-still like an old lamp post.  Your stern eyes are glued at them; You began to scan them as they passes by, checking their nails, hands, hair and dress.
If offender is primary kid, you stage a stunt-depending upon the frequency of the offences particularly committed to this parameter.  You are soft but have to do something about it-it’s for him/her that you are doing it-so for the this kids you grunt pretentiously and remind them to fix it informing that tomorrow you will meet him/her at same time-same place. And if it’s a young teen, you oil it at times and say it respecting his/her self esteem but with meaning assurance that he/she would never do it again. 

Yes buddy, you are a class teacher-you are a master tactician-as good as some of the top class football managers of EPL.

 Checking the class attendees, maintaining a class profile, sticking a red inked flashy class room rules on your newly painted wall  and diligently handing a progress report at the end doesn’t really limit you there as a class teacher-you know it’s beyond…  

Rules are intact-well oriented and the setting gets A plus. There is corner for each student to imprint their dreams and aspirations. With an overwhelming physical ambiance-there is already a mood.  Then, standing tall, you shout out loud and clear, “it’s time-lets show the world what we are!”

As a class teacher you know you are the first person to whom the students look up to. You are their superhero-a friend to whom they share their immediate problems-you are the guardian away from their parents-you are everything my friend-everything! You fight for them, you protect them-and you often yell into their head, “No matter how many times life makes us to fall-we have a bad habit of getting get up! We try, we try, we try until we die!”

Your classroom becomes a safe haven, and within this four walls you celebrate perseverance, passion, endurance, beliefs, hope and glory with your kids.  Along the journey you also get an opportunity to deepen your understanding of their concern, frustration, weaknesses and their personality as a whole. The insights you get through them is too overwhelming…

 You know, you are the stage provider, you create a cool podium and behind the curtain you savour your kids' magic and wonders. It is never you-it is always them that is what you keep telling to yourself but there were some itching moments where you too took the centre stage because your kids love you having fun time with them in the middle…

Just Like a soccer referee, you are there but it’s all about Messi and Ronaldo.  It’s there show and all you did was you sail them through the match smoothly till the final whistle. During the game, spot light is onto them-and you-you are happy to hop around and quietly you fade away allowing the players to express their talents and skills.  When things go little muddy, you jostle around with your signature smile and you talk, “Let play good-that’s how it should be-just stick to the rules!”  

As class teacher, you are indeed a top class manger in your own right-a dynamic leader up front who inspires and give them the courage to dream big. You have messy kitchen at home to be put in order, a sick and feeble mother to look after, a staggering debts to fill and above all a pestering hemorrhoids, yet you know you got to have your signature smile. 

Dude! At all cost-you are a hero to make more heroes because you truly stand by what John Wooden had said: Young people need models, not critics…


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Teacher telling a story…

It was never a design-never calculated!  I had to do it; kids were on their knees-their hands clasped and they went on pleading.

“Please Sir!  Story! Story-” 

Class one kids-you just can’t do away with them.  Once they stick to their plan, they have to pull it out-you will hear desperation in their voice, their body language goes frantic and their eyes-it was all anxious.  It’s really funny to see those small kids feeling extremely distress at my call, “Nope! No more story-it’s a maths class!”  

Whining like those lost puppies, it was all mayhem. 

Sometimes- it is nice to see kids so resilient and so focused in their operation irrespective of the subject matter.  It is indeed a moment where you get to see their unity and their swift collaboration and ability to read the situation just to fit in for their yearning.

It’s was a late gloomy afternoon.  I zoomed in for our maths class.  Those dirt soiled boarder kids were buzzing and when I saw their eyes it was lighten and they were chuckling.  Instantaneously I read their minds-these kids want me to tell a story again!

I had an issue then but I couldn’t take this issue forward to them-they were little brats and of course I didn’t want that afternoon to turn into one big mighty mess.

I would hum and haw for some time knowingly that I have to give in just like I did last week.
I know that telling a story is no big deal but for this class one- narrating a story is like standing on the edge of the abyss; you can’t narrate the story that you know-no matter how interesting it might be.  In fact they will give some characters and you have to tell the story according to their instruction.

“Sir, tell us a ghost story and the ghost should have three eyes and the hero should be a little boy. No sir, tell us story of tiger called Panday –no Sir, about dragon-about handsome prince-about beautiful princess-about…..”    

 It’s all mayhem again and after some more arguments, we resolved the differences by voting.  However the general consensus is that the story should include all the masalas-bit of romance, bit of comedy, bit of horror and mind blowing thrilling experiences. And moreover,  you got to believe it-I have to include a song in the story.

 It has to be damn dramatic and you are one hell of standup comedian type!  I can’t simply sit and deliver-for them it’s too old fashion for them. They want spicy-action packed sort of stuff.

With a long deep sigh, I yell, “Okay then, here I start-"

I started the story like some back packer travelling and travelling –unsure of the destiny…

Amid my narration, I started to fumble…the conflict of story should be very direct with few incidents in the story.  Besides, I was wondering when to inject the song and I had no idea about the lyrics and the tune. I felt very sweaty-I had the pressure to maintain the flow…

Suddenly Beowulf struck me and I took few shots from there and incorporated in my story.
Piercing through the eyes of monster with steel sword, I yelled, “Ugyennnnnnnnnnnnnn!”

Kids were glued and I saw the time…I got roughly a minute to wrap up. I had stretch quite a long and now I was scrambling to assemble all the incidents back.

Finally I had to kill the monster because I saw Lopen Sonam walking for his class; it seems we all were so lost in our world of imagination that we hardly came by the school bell.

 I collected all my stuffs and I pompously I asked, “Hey! Liked it?”

“Nice Sir-But you forgot the song!” 

I looked at them teasingly and said, “Yea, I know, but the boy called Ugyen in the story doesn’t like singing.” the whole class burst out laughing.

 It was five years then-now- they must in class six-and today I wonder whether those smelly kids still have that kind of wild craving for the stories...

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The taste of your own medicine…

You are in good form and you keep going.  There is total intensity and you start to believe that you are one of the coolest teacher ever on this planet-but suddenly out of nowhere you see some teens in you class smirking and finding witty words in the middle of your intense delivery which you feel is brutally unwelcoming at such juncture yet you try to go easy upon it because you too were-once-twice like that. 

“Face off isn’t good for all…let it be…kids are not bad they are little more restless-that’s all.” You  shy away and stick to overhauling them back to the lesson.

Your class has to be interesting; you know your class cannot be one way traffic-so you throw them some questions to make them stay with you-you honestly believe in having very interactive classes. So you roll your sleeves and jostle through.

But all your brainstorming and probing tactics get muddled up because of some clever acting kids who has got all the answers in the world. They start picking at you with amusing remarks that somehow relates to your lesson but never helps you to fulfill your lesson objectives. 

 So here you are-In a flash, all your rhythm starts to fade  and you have no flow whatsoever because you find your kids chuckling and now you know you have lost your entire grip over them.  Your kids indeed had interesting class but you-certainly not!

“Oye! Oye! Am I becoming some sort a laughing stock here?” You are forced to be self conscious. Your nervousness clearly hangs on your face and since you are teacher you feel intimidated and that's where your ego gets battered. You feel provoked and now instinctively you transform into a devil like.  You eyes pop out and goodness me!  You are one perfect Dorjee Drolo!

 “Let me show them who is the boss here!”

You lash out. “Do it again and you are a dead man walking!”  Then you turn over to the rest, “ And here on, no body talks! No body laughs! I say “Talk”,  you “talk”,  I say “Laugh!” you “Laugh!” or else it WARRRRRRRRRRRR!”

Your kids are surely jolted-now everything seems sound and settled.  You hate silent classes but today you need it.  You know they have screwed it up and so you did!  Your class goes on and you know it’s not normal.  The bell rings, you collect all your stuffs and you stare at the dandies and then you walk out muttering to yourself.

“Pests! I will get you all one day!”

And I believe you had a very good taste of your own medicine…

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Some kids they really don’t seem to deserve any criticism…

Sometimes you fail to hold back yourself knowingly that you have to be calm and collected.  You try hard to summon yourself and start telling to yourself, “Buddy you got to be positive-don’t ever think of it-they are just kids-they will grow man. Patience-keep faith and keep working. Remember you are teacher-a very good teacher!”  

It is my sixth year in teaching and I have always talked to myself positively when I have one of those off days in my English classes.  Moreover, I also pump up myself by listening and watching to motivational videos and speeches which can be instantly downloaded from the YouTube. Talking good to yourself helps immensely and so does with motivational videos and speeches. 

Despite the fact that I have such reinforcements, Sometimes you lose it all-can’t seem to hold back- Instantly you burst out at them, “What is happening with you guys huh?  Are you all planning to tag me as an under performing teacher this year? Is this what you want me to be at the end? Is this how you are going to pay back to me for teaching all the good things in life?” Emotional blackmailing takes the center stage.

“No Sir…” The response would be very feeble which would further emphasize my irritation.  Madness would run all over me and my voice would thunder, “Say something! Am I talking to the walls here huh? Am I?”

“No Sir!” This time the respondents would be loud and clear-all in one unison.

Twitching my face to reveal sheer disgust I would wildly look around and keep throwing all pots and pans, “Look at your English-my goodness! Subject Verb agreement has received no respect from you all and now it seems you have let it go down the toilet-look at your handwriting-your spellings-you don’t want to be educated-you want to be like Wild animals. You all will fail at the end and I will laugh at your failure!” 

“No Sir!”  A girl would get up, “You can pin point to those- I don’t accept what you are saying and I am not going to fail! I am going to make you cry by passing.” there would be flare-confidence and sweet innocence which instantaneously melted away all my grievances. 

“Obviously I wasn’t referring to you.” I would be stunned and think why is she so serious when I am not even talking about her.

“But Sir you said-you all” she would smile, look bit anxious and still unconvinced-still apprehensive.
Unable to make up myself, I would scramble for words, “I meant it for few of our friends here-you are a fine student-"

“What about me Sir-am I not a good student?” one more kid will get up and then another-then another…

“What about me Sir? What about me Sir?...”  the uproar would ring inside out to add on to my helplessness…

“Okay guys! Let’s stop it.  I am saying this again-I meant it only for some-not all-you understand now? Not-all!” I would be forced to stress on the last two words of my statement.

“If you were not referring to all then Sir you have to reveal the names of those with whom you are not happy.”

Some kids would lower their heads and blush-feeling extremely uneasy.  I know I have to decide here but  Before I could decide upon my response-

“Please Sir-name it-please!” pleading would be so intense. Their heighten curiosity to know who are in my hit list would be explicitly exhibited in their whines and groans.

Then realizing  I have fifteen minutes left for my lesson-I would play “You fool! What were you all thinking huh? How can I name the students –it is impossible!”

They would look at each other in sheer confusion.

Then wearing wide smile all over my face, confidently I would continue, “Yes! It-is-impossible-for-me-to reveal-the-names because this-I said it to some of your friends here in class ten early this morning.  So there is nothing wrong with class six here”

“Sir has made it up! No Sir!” There would be kind of harmless jeering for brief seconds.

"You Have to tell!" 

"Too much of negativity Sonam-Not good-not good!" I would tell to myself and shake it off.

“Shall we start our lesson then?” turning towards the green board I would signal my gateway.  

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Inculcating Positive Discipline through Youth-Police partnership

Advocacy of laws to the students and motivating them to partner with police and other stakeholders can be one more step towards propagating of positive discipline among our students. Such awareness campaign led by Police experts or law makers have the ability to authenticate and established a firm credibility among the youth about the entire mechanism of laws.

Nature of such holistic campaign is certain to reinforce our youth about their roles toward complying with the laws and moreover it helps to dispel their exhibition of ignorance and naivety pertaining to the laws. Therefore, when the students are well informed about the implications of coming in conflict with the laws-they tend to recognize their civic roles-held themselves accountable for civic engagement with laws and its stakeholders.

Today, at a school, all the schools need to have a serious law Club to help kids understand the system of laws and its implications. Media and other information centers needs to cater towards youth about laws in much more amiable ways-in fact all the concerned bodies need be more charismatic-empowering our youth can be best done by ensuring to educate them about laws.

Cementing Law literacy among the youth is a masterstroke and it helps youth to understand Laws and Police in much more friendly attitude, and further helps to draw youth towards stable community building.  Thus, it gives shape to positive discipline.
Many juvenile crimes are rampant but with such robust advocacy movement of RBP backed by teachers, parents and communities with various agencies-we can surely help our youth to retire from committing unlawful acts. Lets us all make our kids conscious towards law and help them to realize their roles with the laws. This movement needs to vibrate far and wide.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Religious Discourse and Positive Disciplining
Exerting power creates disgruntlement-and at times leads to power struggle; nobody can imagine about being docile today. The word, “control” should be given a low profile especially in a classroom setting because today-nobody wants to have a feeling that he/she is being controlled. However, it is very important that he have firm grip on our kids in a given situation and today’s challenge as teacher, as a parent is-how are we going to keep our kids in so called good shape without making them smell that we are governing over them?

Let’s accept this-at times it looks extremely laborious and tend to form a shape of nuisance when we explain everything about our intent and conduct towards kids. They tend to brand as preacher and above all-it’s perceived as an exertion of power against their will.  
One thing is damn sure-lets work on the attitude building.

Among many positive disciplining approaches towards positive attitude building-religious discourse can be one medium to promote and consolidated positive attitude in the lives of the students.  I mean any religious discourse that spreads secularism and values of humanity should be encouraged in various learning institutions and working organizations.

Amid so much of academic pressure and that intense urgency to deliver the expectation of parents and teachers-kids are constantly hammered onto their psychological well being and ultimately drains inside out.

Besides we also know that there are another breed f kids who are misfits-they feel they are enforced to fly when they know they are like a fish. Some they can’t stick to the school norms and some they have problems beyond the walls of school campus.  For such kids they need situation where they can connect with spiritual tinge in their life to make him do kind of soul searching.

 Conducting religious discourse is one such activities that can help kids to understand themselves and become self reflective about their thoughts and actions. Moreover, seeing a spiritual leader sharing his realization can arouse that sense of duty towards oneself, family and the communities around them and ultimately giving them positive outlook towards life.  Besides, it also can also ignite faith-devotion and human spirit that knows how to handle himself through every thick and thin.

Kids need direction but how we direct them is what it matters.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Singing to learn English

If you are stuck somewhere in far flung remote school and you find weird English then it’s time you sing along with your learners. 

“No more “chilli eating “and “head and shoulder” I want you to sing-One Direction, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars… Now go out in the world and get some songs here!”  Stumped and dazed kids would look at each other and 
pop out that unsure smile to one another.

 “Get down into your writing portfolio-then practise! Practise!”

“Sir! No sir! I don’t know any English song”

“Well that’s good! If you need some marks you better-”

“Sir!” Their twitching face fun watch!

“Every day, before the lesson begins, I want two-two of you to come before the class and sing!”

So every day, before the lesson starts, two kids will show up to sing.   At times there are moments where children listen in complete silence-awestruck and at times there are also moments where class roar in laughter including the singer as singing turns into kind of  stand-up comedy.

Nevertheless, singing continues…

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Graphic novel is the call
Why should we be astonished to see a young boy who hardly reads is glued to a book that has picture and story together in it?  Graphic novel can overwhelm kids especially those who finds words filled novel excruciatingly painful to read.  Considering our reading culture, we should not be too cynical and jeer at if graphic novels are encouraged to our kids.  Graphic novel can be instant hit in promoting reading habits of our youth.
A book with flashy images of high flying heroes and ghostly looking villains-monsters and muscled warriors, sexy princess and colorful clowns in every flipping pages can makes reading too savory.  It is arguably true that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Imagine, marriage of images and words naturally fitting the missing puzzle of our long quest for healthy reading culture.  Kids tend to relish comics and image laden magazines over wordy novels because it is tempting-evokes instant curiosity and makes reading direct-effortless hardly confusing them.   Therefore, graphic novels flooding in should not be seen as cheapening move rather a move with an intention to cater to a section of kids who still shy away from reading. 
 Graphic novels can serve as fresh and alternative choice of reading to our kids; a child who hardly reads can easily deal with assigned book reviews and book talks.  Images there-will help them in retention of series of incidents and characters; ultimately end up fattening their comprehension level.  Moreover, such books have that ticklish characteristic which would summon the reader again.  
Imposing kids to read can be frustrating for both the parties-reader nor can imposing man smile at each other. So, how about going win-win status for both with graphic novels. First, that willingness has to get into the head of the kid to read and introduction of graphic novels can be timely rather than ringing his ears with lethargic lectures of why he needs to read. Enthusiasm is synonymous to graphic novel in our journey towards reading.