Showing posts with label Learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Learning. Show all posts

08 November 2014

Little Maya- The Questioning Girl

October took away a part of us. Some things will never be the same again but November is slowly healing us and the new place is making a huge difference. I am still looking for a family house here in Paro.

Above all the worldly affairs was the experience of school visit last week. Going back to school was the greatest feeling. I think I was designed to be a teacher. Along that long rough road I finally felt the joy of having come back to Paro. Watching the farmers harvest their paddies along the road made me nostalgic about my childhood in Paro. There is so much I have to write about this place. Let me first settle down.

Well, lost in thoughts I was driving along the Dotey road and by the time I knew I was near Kuenga High School. I was supposed to be in Dotey (Doteng) Lower Secondary School. This part of Paro was not familiar to me, infact I have never come this way and therefor I was lost. It took me a while to turn back and look for that subtle gate that showed the uphill road to the school.

Let me keep aside the great day long experiences and the hospitality of the teachers for another time, let me focus on a little girl that caught my attention that day. I named her Little Maya. She was in class I. But I saw her among the students of class VII, and at first I wondered how small she was for class VII. Later find out that she was a visitor to their class. She would exercise her liberty of innocence anytime and anywhere with anybody.
There she is,  Still question two Achu's
When she saw me she ran to me and asked, "Are you Japanese?" I laughed and in my typical local accent told her that I was from Haa. She was convinced easily. Then she asked my name, my job, my family and why I was there in her school. Even the principal didn't asked half as many questions as she did. The keenness with which she question and sincerity with she listened to my answers made me want to talk to her for as long as she wanted. It was hard to make her understand why I was observing her teachers because I already told her that I was a students as a matter of fact.

She would twitch her nose when I wasn't very clear and ask additional questions without any hesitation. As I watch her interview me I could help admire her. She was full of questions and she was at all shy to ask her questions. As she set me free to join another group who were playing carom I asked to myself if I was ever so inquisitive as her. Then I look at other students around her, who are much older, and wonder why are they as comfortable as Little Maya? When did they stop questioning? Where did they lose their confidence?

And as a teacher these questions bothered me because I have always dealt with older kids and in them you don't see a tiny bit of Little Maya, because apparently our schools don't let Maya in us live for much longer. We all must have had Little Maya in us once upon a time, and if we rescue that in us it will make all the difference in the way we learn.

26 May 2013

Translation of a Teacher's Dream by Students

I am a dreamer and have thousand things going on in my head. If I hadn't become a teacher I would have died of frustration. School is the place where I can express myself freely. I translate my personal dreams into spaces in school and spend sleepless nights of satisfaction. My students enjoy my wild ideas and become part of them, often adding their share of craziness. We work endlessly during our holidays and learn to celebrate work as art of life. I harness their talent and make them polish their skills. Students are treasure house of talents.
My school is right next to the river but strangely the campus is very dry and dusty. I had a refreshing feeling at a water body in sight would chill our mind and then planned a pond in the park. It took a long time to bring the mental picture on the ground but my VIII C students had the required skill to give shape to it.
I consulted two engineers but for a project of our scale students are the best engineers. My friends generously donated cement and love, and kezang prepared her best fried rice for my class during the long concreting hours.
More than the pond itself, the time I spent with my students gave me deep insight into their lives, about their families, and their life during vacations and at home. It's very inspiring to discover that many of them have worked as temporary labourers and paid for their schooling expenses. While the kids from well to do families take so much interest in learning from the experts friends. It strengthened our bond as class and as team. Tomorrow morning they will be so proud to see the whole school admiring our pond.
Following is a glimpse of our journey in creating the pond, in picture over a period of one month.
The First touch.

Groundbreaking (helping hands from Basketball team)

Laying foundation 

Concreting during a holiday

The shape is formed, first layers concreting done and watered for strengthening.

Trying out Colored-cement for the first time- Polishing was done with help from 5 experts from senior classes.

First Guest to my Pond is my Family- Sunday Morning 

Isn't it refreshing? 
Now the pond is waiting for fish, turtle, frog, lotus, or anything that will survive there to give students visual of some aquatic life. The least we have planned is to shift 8 fishes from school fishery farm (8 fishes because it's class VIII's work) and put 29 beautiful stones, each with roll numbers of my 29 students for, what they call, Long Remembrance.
When I have luxury of time I would like to share about amazing projects my teacher colleagues have done in Bajothang too because I think I am being very selfish my sharing only about those thing me and my class did on my blog.

Disclaimer: No teaching time was wasted in building this pond because we did it during weekends and holidays. And no contributions, in any form, were asked from students except their free time and skill.

15 May 2013

#SherigCollection in my School

I am very happy that Sherig Collection brought Boaz Shmueli and Galit Shmueli to my school, which was a sudden decision of Boaz after he saw my tweets about the Book Fair and teacher crowd in our football ground. We pitched a tent outside the book fair stall with two computers and ended up stealing the show from the main event. We invited every passing teacher to our tent and no teacher left without being thoroughly amazed.
See how we stole the show!
Sherig Collection is a selfless initiative by Rigsum where Boaz and Galit work. It's a collection of offline learning resources for children, and if you are a teacher, student or a concerned parent you must get it. It's now available in nine Dzongkhags, with teachers who attended the Book Fair in Bajothang. Details of the sources can be obtained from Sherig Collection Facebook Group. If you are in or close to Wangdue I am your server. 
Busy in Bajothang
The Sherig Collection is basically a 24GB answer to all Bhutanese issues such as internet connectivity, internet speed, budget limitations and computer efficiency. It's too good to be true and you must own it to believe it. Come with external hard drive! 

When two of them were not so busy I chanced to  show them around. They were full of appreciation for the so many creative works done by our students.
At WiFiPark gate with Gasa Principal

Near Curiosity Post 

Thanks to my 8 C students who helped in pitching the tent and to Chidanand and other eLearning Club members who sticked around helping the team during the weekend. And Thank you Rigsum and team for Sherig Collection. I hope, and will work toward reaching, the collection to as many schools as possible. 

13 July 2011

Dear Students, summer gift to your parents,

I have been thinking of the divine relationship between parents and children for quite sometime, even before I became a father. And it occurred to me that children are innocently selfish. Every child expects the whole world to revolve around him, and parents make sure that it does. Parents place their hearts in every selfish achievement of their children.
I am mentioning this to you at this time of the year to remind you that it about time to give your parents a gift. Not that sort of a gift where you take money from your parents to buy them one, but something that you have achieved on your own- your exam result.
I don’t know if you would rejoice the pride of your father who comes home with the news of him being appreciated by his boss, or joy of your mother who met her childhood friend after fifteen years (because kids only find joy in things that matter to them), but I can assure you that both your parents will be the happiest if you walk home with your mark sheet filled with very good marks. They will pass your mark sheet to each other for countless times as if it’s a million Ngultrum check. They will talk about your result to anybody who visits your home, and then they will tour their friends’ homes to talk more about it.
If you realize it there is nothing in there to talk so much about (you spent last six months in school just for that)- your marks no matter how high won’t help them pay their house rent, not even the water bill. Your marks help no one other than you yet it brings happiness to your parents, which only means how easy it is to please your parents. Just reflect on how much your parents put in to please you each day ever since you were born, and ask yourselves if you were ever perfectly happy. The answer will most probably be No, and this indicates how hard it is to please you, despite all their sweat and blood. And there you are, just having to bring in a good mark sheet and your parents are flattered.
Knowing this is as simple as this; will you still deprive your parents of a gift this summer?

CC: Jigme, with love!

09 July 2011

Catching up with the Students

With due respect, I was insulting* over fifty senior teacher for the last ten day. The Best thing about being teacher is that it doesn't really matter who saw the light first, they listened to me passionately. I began by tell them what computer is, then we sat together in finding ways to use it in doing our regular works. Then we went on to find out how we us Internet- yes I took them on a joy ride to Facebook.  I couldn't stop myself from telling them how I consider Google as the greatest Rinpochee- I didn't leave them until they changed their faith. They are now more Googlist then Buddhist!
Then I finally reminded them why we are learning what we are learning; we are not trying to learn something great to help us help our students but to Catch up with out students.
One of the cartoons I showed!

*Please, do not consider the literal meaning of the word 'insulting', I mean it in good humor. 

24 October 2010

3 Idiots- The movie that taught me more than my schools

If you haven’t watched 3 idiots yet you are the idiot of the century. Surprisingly nobody minds being called idiot after that movie. Everybody wants to be the 4th idiot. I am sure there won’t be anyone who didn’t watch it over three times.

3 idiots- the movie that touched my heart!

The movie must have made fortune enough to forgive me for downloading it from The Piratebay. I regret it but if I haven’t done that I would have to wait until it comes on TV. After having watched it over ten times now I feel like I have to pay for it. It has taught me more than I have ever learnt from school. I would like to say thank you to everybody who came together to make 3 idiots and enlighten the world.

I, being a student once and now a teacher, got the most out of the movie. Every character seems to have something to teach me in becoming a good learner and a better teacher.

Rancho comes to college to learn engineering for the love of doing it and not to get the certificate. He gives Millimeter money to buy a school uniform and join any school the kid likes. If he is caught ‘uniform change, school change’. Going to school is not about passing the exam, getting the certificate and going to next level and finally landing up in a job. It is about learning. Rancho himself gets kicked off from class often but he gets into another class. This is something I want my students to seriously reflect on.

My favourite scene in the movie is when Rancho was asked, “What is Machine?” Despite his excellent answer, he gets kicked out. This happens in most of our schools. But what doesn’t happen here is what Rancho does when he returns for his book. The message goes out to students who are fond of mugging up books and most of all to teachers who fail to understand the depth of students’ mind.

I cried when Farahan’s father finally asks him to return the laptop and to get himself a professional camera. Life is not about what people would say, as is in our society too, it’s about what makes you happy. Farahan says, “If I become a photographer I may earn lesser, but for the rest of my life, every day I wake up I will happy”.

Failing to understand this costs ViruS his own son. The son never appears in the movie but plays a major role in shaping the theme. He wanted to become a writer but his father forced his dream of engineering onto his son’s life and he has jumped from the train.

Joy Lobo has invented a helicopter with the camera (Now known as a drone) but ViruS declares it ‘unrealistic’ just because Lobo fails to submit the assignment on time and worse ViruS calls up Lobo’s father to tell that the boy will not graduate this year, which forces the bright boy to take his own life, leaving a message, ‘give me another chance’. That song is my favourite.  It calls for us teachers to be sensitive, tolerant, and appreciative of students’ creativity and not mere name-sake deadlines.

Telling ourselves “Aal is well” even when things are not so well does not solve the problem but worrying about it only makes it worse and gives us exaggerated pain. Raju is a victim of countless worries and therefore leaving himself with lesser energy to focus. After his suicide attempt he realizes Rancho’s ‘Aal is well’ wisdom. And his job interview shows us the magic of honesty and faith in one's self. When his two friends bring him the stolen paper, he throws it away and says, “I will pass if I can and fail if I must but do it honourably”.

“Go for excellence, success will follow you”, is the biggest message of the movie. Such abstract nouns are hard to explain, however, the movie has boldly personified the two; Rancho illustrates 'excellence' and Chature is 'success'. The movie goes on to illustrate success running after excellence at the end.

ViruS’s college is just like any school in Bhutan and the movie questions the way things are going. It questions the system, questions the teachers and parents and it even questions the students. It’s one movie all of us must watch and for those of us who have come to love the movie, it is an indication that we are heading in the right direction.