31 May 2011

Teaching the Digital Natives

 Teaching is soon going to be a very embarrassing job, with learners knowing far more than their teachers. The kids born in the digital age are exposed to hundreds of information sources through hundreds of technology, which we teachers may not have heard of even. We seem to be happy with how well we can explain the textbook and we are proud of our chalkboard skills, but things are changing so fast that each day a page from our textbook gets outdated, and kids find it hard to believe that there is no icon to click on the chalkboard, forget about 'save' option.
There were times, whole family will scream if a kid runs to touch the video deck, but now without your child's help you will scream at your new phone. Kids walk with Google in the pocket and you talk to them of what you learnt 10 years ago, what do you expect? Yes they are bored with you!
I have joined Bhutan W.I.R.Ed project three years ago to make sure I can always be useful to my students. The Singaporean project pioneered the used of Information Technology in Bhutanese Schools. However, three years couldn't make any difference in the way teaching happens in Bhutan. There wasn't so much energy in the young idea to push through the old mindsets.
However, NIIT offered EPICT Certificate course for the forty Chigphen Rigphel teacher trainers, to be completed in next eight months. Everything about the course shall be done online. At the end of the course, it is expected that the spark of Bhutan W.I.R.Ed project will glow on to become a huge fire of revolution in the way learning happens in Bhutan.
The First Forty- in Samtse with NIIT Staff
Teachers mustn't excuse themselves from learning technology, while the pace is still slow, there will come a time when the chance of coping is far from possible, and that's when you become useless for your students. Being awarded the best presenter during the course orientation I am fully motivated to remain ever useful to all generations of learners.

26 May 2011

Paro Dzong at Night

This was the shot I was attempting to get the last time I visited Paro, but because of the cold or may be my hand, I landed up getting blurring images. This time I made sure I came with my tripod so that I don't have to blame anything if the picture still came out wrong. And here is it!
Glowing Paro Dzong

Like a Diamond in the sky!

24 May 2011

Ghajini Awards goes to My Family

Some years ago, I used to be surprised and even annoyed at my mother's forgetfulness- there would be towel on the gas stove, plate in the toilet, ladle in the closet, leave the stove burning, ... she would laugh out loud and say, "O, I forgot it". I would beg of her to be mindful, "Mother, Please, please don't forget." But she would forget again. When I insist too hard to be mindful, she would ask in irritation, "How could I help? It happens, I don't intend to." She deserves the Life Time Ghajini Award.
It has been a few years since I became forgetful too, and then I came to realize what my mother meant. But my wife won't believe me when I say, "I can't help it." I even forget my car in the school and reach home on foot, thank god I reside near by. It would be Best New Comer Ghajini Award.
"Have you seen my phone?" is the question I hear from my wife twenty times a day now. My wife has joined the Ghajini gang too. And now she would realize how forgetting happens. But compared to my brother and son, she is nothing. Yet I thought she deserves the Most Promising Ghajini Award.
My brother forgets everything, every time, and when asked he would giggle and say he has forgotten. Amir Khan must have worked damn hard to perform that good in the movie, but if it were my brother he would have done so naturally. No one can snatch the Best Ghajini Award from him- swear!
The Ghajini Family
Next in line is our son, who at this very age forgets everything he doesn't like. He forgets his homework, leaves his book in the class when it is needed at home and at home when it is asked in the class. He forgets to bathe, brush, and polish his own shoes. He doesn't know where he left his unwashed clothes as long has he has a new set on his back. One thing I like about his pattern of forgetting is He could choose what he wants to forget- or so it seems. He should be awarded Outstanding Ghajini Award.
Only mindful person in my family is my little daughter, who surprises us with her ability to trace the lost phones, gas lighter, remote controller, slippers, etc. - and my wife say, it's because she is the one who hides it.

23 May 2011

My Brother is a Promise

My twenty four year old giant brother has a child's heart in his chest. He has long outgrown my size but his mind defied the laws of nature, the world around him doesn't seem to bother him a bit. He sits down with an eleven year old and spend the whole day enjoying their fantasy. He is perfectly happy even after repeating thrice in the BHSEC.
But love took him on a joyride, only to wake him from his wonderful dream. When he shared about his girlfriend who was a qualified working lady, it got me worried. I warned him. And it got me more worried when I discovered she was a very good lady. My jobless and innocent brother has fallen in love with a working lady, and how in the world is he going to keep her happy? My thoughts were rustic, I know, but rustically true. I was being traditional, but there is no denying that we have hardly changed. I pushed him hard when he was doing his exam for the third time. I begged of him to feel the gravity of the real world. I assured him that he is a good promise. But result broke it.
World is far meaner than my brother learnt from his little friends, and I was worrying his share for him, because 'mean' is not something he has understood yet. Thus, a week has passed, gloomy and shocked- god and the lady knows what the reasons are but my poor brother could hardly justify why the good relationship is loosening.
My wife is worried and I am too, we seek justification more than him, but at the depth of my mind I know it's so well justified- he is a promise no more.
I look at my million dollar brother and see promises dancing all around him, so sorry that people fail to see through an unpolluted soul.

20 May 2011

Royal Wedding Announcement

Today, everybody in Bhutan is talking about the Royal Wedding announcement done this morning by His Majesty himself. Come October and we are going to see Ashi Jetsun Pema, whom his majesty described as a humble and caring girl, stand along our king and wave at us.

His majesty shared this great news with us last week during his visit to our school, and this morning's announcement made it all seem so real. While the news brought tsunami of happiness across the nation, I am sure millions of girl's hearts across the world must have been broken this morning!

The urge to see our future queen began right away, and I Googled for her pictures, but I am returned with pictures of His holiness the Dalai Lama's sister. I considered it a very good omen!

And finally, His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck's page on Facebook release the spellbinding picture of the divine pair. They are made for each other, without a doubt!
K5 with Ashi Jetsun Pema!

10 May 2011

If I Write a Book on My Mother...

My Mother- Cendrella so far
If I write a book on my mother dear, only the first chapter won't have to be written with blood and tears. The first chapter of her life was happy, born with a silver spoon but her luck soon ran out and her Cendrella-ordeal began. Despite being a daughter of a Dzongda, she had to fight the hardship of village life alone. She was deprived of education and gradually parted with her little inheritance. My young mother had to cremate  four parents and two husbands before I came of age to wipe her tears.
If I ever have to write the second chapter I will have to write of all those people whom I have tried all my life to forgive, people who walk this earth with pride because my mother was humble, people who rub shoulders with titans because my mother was innocent, and people who enjoy the smoothness of silken nightgown because my mother chose to remain in rags. My mother's good heart that I inherited reminds me each day that revenge is not the solution. Every time I think of writing about my mother, I think of those people who made my mother's life miserable and even on mother's day I wrote nothing.
My mother is living the last few chapters of her life and I am going to restore her birth rights- she deserves happiness in each word of each page, and I am going to make sure these few chapters justify the whole purpose of her life. I swear I will give up all my faith in god if he takes her away before I could give her all the happiness in the world.

06 May 2011

My Favorite Bhutanese

Besides my Kings and my Mother, following are my favorite Bhutanese personalities, and out of curiosity I tried drawing comparison with their Indian cousins. Because there is no authentic research done I urge you to treat it as my personal understanding of  people.
Lyenpo Zangley Drukpa and Lalu Prasad are both ministers. They are very interesting to listen to, though their voices are lazy. They look heavy and lazy but are known for getting things done at any cost- men of Action!
Lyenpo Zangley and Lalu Prasad

 Aum Neten and Kiran Bedi are special species of women. They are fearless and icon of integrity. Both wear short hair and powerful glasses. They are the only women, after Joan of Arc, who could make most powerful of men pee in their pants. If you don't love them, perhaps you are corrupted!

Aum Neten and Kiran Bedi

BBS Dawa and Barkha Dutt are two heck of TV Journalists, who dare ask questions, which many can't even imagine. They are always after "time". They enjoy making their guest speechless. They are bilingual- they can kick in from both sides.
Dawa and Barkha Dutt
And finally, Tshokey and Katrina are icon of beauty. They are the most sort after personalities on Google in their respective countries. They are educated abroad and thus both have western accent. They are the hottest actors and sexiest dancers in Cinema.
Tshokey Tshomo & Katrina Kaif
There are some more comparisons, I will present in next episode!

Good Fences Make Good Neighbor

Well, it not true anymore. I was planning a tiny kitchen garden beside my veranda when someone came and ordered to shift it. I take orders in professional duties, not in personal life. My sub-boss in school, happens to live in the same staff quarter with me, who found it difficult to tolerate me fencing my garden. The excuse was blockage of footpath to school, which in no way can be justified. It was like "Boss is always right", when I disagreed he threatened to break it. That's when the fight began. While I found it difficult to withstand his disastrous anger, his clever-spoken wife joined in against me.
by Kevin Peterson
The case went up to the school office and back to the field where, I agreed to shift my garden, not because I have blocked the path, but because I have block an ego. The fight gave me a few things to reflect on; it was the opportunity for me to understand how I was thought of by the opponent all the while. It also made me understand how all my respect and help was misinterpreter and finally I was enlightened that the fence was just an excuse.
Bajo doesn't belong to me but in these years I have lived here, I have given myself to Bajo. I don't just work here, I live here. I am a part of it. My contribution to my school far surpasses my prescribed duty, but I was given to understand that it was my duty to repair computers, set up internet for school and for each teacher, setup wireless network, fix printers, design school website, build school database, attend to every call in the school with regards to computer, and take care of each computer in school... well I am a teacher and I can survive just by teaching. If I am doing more it's only because I love Bajo and No one should dare say,
"If you cannot do all that, you may leave, someone else will come".
Good fences may not make good neighbors, it but makes us realize the bad ones!

01 May 2011

Dear Students, On Teachers Day

My Dear Students,

Tomorrow morning I will be very happy knowing you all will wish me more than 'good morning'. I am not worried about what you will force me to do, because I have dared to sing on stage last year, the last thing god wanted me to do on earth, but I am worried you might come with gifts you couldn't afford yourself. Gift is not important, it's you and your feeling about us that matters. Make a priceless card with your own hands and present it rather than some glossy card printed by machine with a price tag.

On Teachers Day, I have no confessions to make since I have always been dead honest with you, and I have no apologies to beg since I hurt nobody. In case some of you are upset with me for give you nick names then let me tell you I didn't mind you calling me Mr. Bean. It's just another lesson- keep your sense of humor alive at all times.

On Teachers Day, I want to remind you that I am not a role model you should copy, nor is anybody. You should know you are unique and special, and work toward building yourselves with your beliefs. You must have dreams driving you each day of your life. You must love your parents, respect your teachers, and have good faith in god and know that no matter how tall your grandfather was you got to do your own growing!

I want you to know I am so proud to be your teacher.