Randomly Amusing

I’ve been away for so long that it almost feels like I’m blogging for the first time.

As usual, work’s been eating up most of my time and even if I want to blog during the weekends, I can’t seem to find the inspiration to do so. Although, there’s been no lack of ideas!

Work’s been going fine. Yes, it’s still tiring and leaves me with less time for myself and a sore throat. But there are certain moments of clarity that make me realize how much I love [the major aspects of] what I’m doing.

Anyway, this is going to be a random blah-blah post, about nothing in particular.

On Thursday, I had my first Parent-Teacher meeting. As a teacher. Right when I stepped into school, all tensed about meeting the parents, I saw one of my favourite teachers. It felt great seeing her after so long. She was surprised to know I was working as a teacher.  So, the evening started off on a good note. The meeting went well. I was, literally, gushing about most of the students, trying not to blurt out anything stupid that would belie my serious demeanour. Well, I admit I did have some moments of silly comments. But, on the whole, it went far better than I expected (and feared).

Talking about students, there were a few interesting, amusing comments I heard in class, which I wanted to blog about.

* As part of the special programmes put up for the school’s 27th birthday, there was a skit by some senior students, focussing on the rape-issues happening in India. That day, while having a random conversation in Class 3, I asked them if they understood what the ‘moral’ behind the skit was. A lot of them raised hands, volunteering to answer. Some responses I got were:

“Save the Earth!” (We had an Earth Day celebration two weeks prior to it; so maybe the kid connected both, hence the response)

“We should all be friends, not enemies” (Close enough, in a way)

“Save the girls!” (The kid had no response when I asked “From what should the girls be saved?”)

I just smiled at their reactions. How do you make a 8-year-old understand the concept of rape and the need to stop it from happening? Perhaps, it’s better to keep their innocent minds untainted by the malice of the world. Atleast for now.

Another interesting incident was –

In a particular activity, the students had to rearrange some jumbled letters to form words and then fill up sentences using these words. One sentence was: ‘This is the ________ where Krishna lived. (Hint – a p l c e) [Answer is, obvioulsy, place]

A kid came to me, saying he didn’t know the answer. I told him it’s easy, to try once more and read the sentence out loud. His reply: “Ma’am, I’m Christian (Krishna being a Hindu god).” I smiled at his innocent comment. I explained that religion was not the context and told him how to do it. But I couldn’t forget his reply. It still makes me smile. It will take some time for them to realize it’s wrong to consider religion as a basis of difference.

So, with memories of such seemingly-small incidents, I go on from one day to the next. Let’s hope it won’t take very long for me to come up with the next post.

Of Writer’s Block & Joys of Teaching

This is what I wrote in a mail to a friend: “I want to blog so badly. It’s like there’s so much in my head that I want to blog about but for some reason, I don’t feel that urge to write…or even when I try to write it out, I don’t feel satisfied. Like, I was typing out something right now. But I feel like it’s a half-hearted attempt… I don’t feel anything driving me on from one sentence to the next…after every sentence, I come up against a dead-end and I kinda push myself.  At the end of a paragraph, when I read what I just wrote, I feel like it’s not me, not true, not complete. Like I haven’t put myself into it, which is true, of course. ”

Maybe this is a kind of writer’s block, wanting to write but unable to do it. When I read some blog posts, I get reminded of how much I have to write about and how I keep pushing it aside for later. So, right now, I thought I’d just write out something to pacify the guilty voice plaguing me.

So, I joined as a teacher in my school…completed over a week. And, yes, I’m happy. I’m still not very used to the whole system and I keep talking to some colleagues to get a better idea of what I’m supposed to do. The tasks that come along with teaching and being part of a school system aren’t very appealing. But I love the experience of teaching. I love the rush of emotions when I’m able to successfully put across a topic. I absolutely adore my students. Yes, there are a few who get on my nerves and are difficult to handle. But that doesn’t make them less loved. I enjoy getting to know them, bit by bit, each day.

At the end of the day, I come home tired and drained, usually with a sore throat and a headache. But ask me how my day was and I’ll always tell you it was good. Because when I look back at what I did in those classes, I feel a sense of happiness I can’t explain. It was fun, yes. But more than that, it meant something to me…standing there and teaching them, even if all that they grasped from it was a single word. I feel so lazy when I think about the next day. But once I’m there, I have to admit I’m happy in a way I can’t explain.

So, that’s what has been happening with me. Enjoying the new experience while trying to learn the ropes of the system. And trying to overcome this writer’s block. Or whatever it might be.

 

 

Physics, English & Roots

As time moves on, we tend to forget the causes and reasons which made us what we are today – experiences that taught us valuable lessons, people who influenced us in significant or trivial ways. Of course, we may not completely forget them. But as we move from one phase to another, we leave behind a considerable lot. And we don’t always look back to think of what made us what we are now. They become fond but distant memories…

A couple of days ago, I met a handful of people who played a remarkable role in having molded me into the person I am. Even without being personally close to me, they have had a very deep impact on my thoughts, likes, dislikes and perceptions.

Kiran is here in RAK. We met up on Saturday. I had a great time with her…talking nonsense, joking around and catching up with each other. She is one person with whom I can (comfortably) alternate between being stupid and sensible…and utterly stupid, again. And know I will never be judged. That day, we made plans to go to school the next morning.

🙂

As decided, we reached school sometime in the afternoon. I had gone there last month with Saba and some other friends. But this was a different experience. I did have to face some probing (and irritating)  questions about what I’m going to do next. Nothing new there, of course. Atleast it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

Anyway, Kiran and I met only a select few teachers – those we really like and share a good relationship with (ruling out a couple of exceptions whom we had to meet). All the teachers we met were genuinely happy to see us and we spent some ‘quality’ time with them. While each teacher asked Kiran about her course, college and stuff, I was lost in some thoughts.

It’s been 3 years since we passed out of school. We have changed to a certain extent, be it physically or otherwise. But the teachers we met looked the same, and spoke to us with the same intimacy as before. It was almost as if time hadn’t passed, as far as our bond with these teachers was concerned. Looking at them, seeing their love and happiness, I realized how I grew into the person I am.

I love Science, Physics in particular. I wouldn’t say I know a lot about it, but I love it like hell, and try to learn more about the subject. I met the teacher who is the reason for this love (I hated Physics until 9th grade). She taught us Physics in 9th and 11th grades. She is an amazing teacher, takes a lot of effort to make sure the students have understood the portion taught… The way she explains the concepts, laws, theories and stuff led me to see that Physics could explain a lot of things in life, things that I had overlooked as normal or having/needing no explanation. And then, there was another teacher who taught us Physics in 10th and during the first few months of 11th grade. I admit his classes could get super-boring. But I adored him, absolutely ADORED him! And that just led me to love the subject with added fervour. I met him also, while at school. He is still the same…almost made me wish I could sit in his class, once more. Seeing both of them made me realize how and why I began loving what I love… It was something like going back to  my roots.

I also met the English teacher who taught us in 10th and 12th (and took some

Note the pun! 😛 This was a poster put up in one of the classes; found it while checking for some school photos.

random classes in 11th, I think). I wouldn’t say she is my favourite English teacher, but yes, she is someone I really like. She isn’t the one who made me fall in love with language (English, specifically), writing, poetry, imagery and words. But I did enjoy her classes a lot; they were fun (= some yawning, crazy jokes, lots of mimicking)! 😛 And she did teach me English…which means atleast a part of what I know right now is due to her efforts. But what highlights her in my memory is something else. She taught us Ode To The West Wind in 10th grade. Since then, it has been a favourite poem of mine. Even after so many more having been added to the list.

Seeing those teachers was like going back in time (especially since they didn’t look very different). So…what I’m trying to say is…sometimes, we forget how we began liking something, who/what influenced a certain habit of ours or basically, how we grew to be what we are right now. Going back in time helps reconnect with those reasons, those roots. And why that is necessary? No, I guess it isn’t necessary. But there could be times when you lose touch with who you are, how you got so far… The roots will keep you alive, and help you grow into who you want to be. 🙂

 

Writer’s Block Strikes!!!

I know I have been away for a couple of days. And, honestly, I have no idea why (I know that sounds super-dumb!). I think I’m experiencing a bout of writer’s block. Because, last day, when I tried to write in my diary, I couldn’t do it. Not in a satisfying way, I mean. So, until I snap out of this, do bear with me. 🙂

On Monday, four of my classmates from school and I had gone to my school. It hasn’t changed much in the way it looks. But almost all the teachers we knew have left. Hardly a handful of our old teachers are left in school, right now. And I bet it won’t be long before they leave as well. Anyway, our favourite teacher is still there. We met him, spoke to him for a while, met a couple of other teachers and then walked  around for a while.

All the students we knew had passed out after their schooling and we weren’t familiar with any of the ones still in school. Earlier, school meant meeting all those old faces…teachers who had taught us for years, juniors we had known for so long… But now, school has lost that ‘homey’ feeling. There are hardly a few whom we know. All the students,  right now, are strangers to us. School doesn’t feel the same anymore. It’s weird when you walk into your old school and realize that you don’t know anyone over there, all those whom you knew have left. It feels like you have kinda lost that connection with the place.

Anyway, after the time at school, the 5 of us went out and spent some time together. I wouldn’t really say it was fun but, yes, I did enjoy the time. Moreover, that day, I had been feeling  really low since morning. So, the change and the time with them did me a world of good! 🙂 I came back home, all happy and feeling great! 🙂

I’ve had some (quite) profound realizations and thoughts over the past two days. And I wanted to blog about them. But thanks to my awesome writer’s block, I couldn’t get around to doing it! I promise I’ll do it soon. How soon, I have no idea! 😀

Provoked to React

My college is one that does not encourage or tolerate (romantic) relationships at all. Sometimes, I feel this should be emphasized in bold, block letters in the college prospectus and in front of the college, too. I find it a very weird rule…Yeah, this is mentioned as one of the ‘rules’ of this college. Don’t they feel at all stupid when they say something like this? Inspite of the reputation of the college and the high qualification of the teachers, how come they don’t have the dignity and sense to respect a person’s privacy and decisions pertaining to his/her life? What right do they have to intrude into the private life of another person, even if it is a student?

To be frank, it isn’t just romantic relationships. My college should have a board at the front of it, saying: ‘BEWARE! ANY KIND OF CLOSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STUDENTS OF OPPOSITE SEX WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, WHATEVER IT MAYBE. (WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN FRIENDSHIPS OR SIBLING-LIKE BONDS/WHATEVER BETWEEN STUDENTS OF OPPOSITE SEX. THEY SIMPLY DON’T EXIST.)’ That about sums up the attitude of most teachers and authoritative figures here. Of course, there are a rare few with sense. I admire them for surviving among these others who are so ignorant about these matters. If a guy and girl are seen talking for more than, say, 3 or 4 times, suspicion arises and the two are put under constant watch and scrutiny. Of course, this doesn’t stop relationships from happening. In fact, they thrive over here. But these f-ing rules are an absolute pain in the neck for others (like me) who enjoy the company and friendship of guys without the implication of a romantic involvement.

One such irritating incident, recently, has incited me to write this. I doubt I’ll ever get a chance to properly react to that person. So, I turned to my greatest relief and outlet for pent-up emotions – writing! 🙂 This is just an attempt to let out what I’m feeling, I don’t intend anything more than that. I wouldn’t really mind if the person reads this someday, though.

Please Note: I do not mean any offence to anyone else.

This is addressed to that person, in response to his rude and biased behaviour towards me.

Dear Someone,

I do no wish to address you as sir because, to be honest, I do not think you deserve it completely and you have not behaved as a good teacher should. It was after coming here that I realized that I have had the privilege of knowing some of the best teachers ever…back at my school! And as far as I think, you can never reach upto their level, however qualified you maybe.

Anyhow, that isn’t what I wanted to talk about. I want to let you know that I completely detested the way you spoke to me the previous day. I’m the kind of person who believes that each individual deserves to be respected for who they are…and this invariably entails a respect for their privacy and what they do in their life. I expect others to show this same respect towards me, at least in a most basic manner. After having been with some really brilliant teachers (who were brilliant in every aspect), I’m amazed and shocked that most teachers here do not bother about anything of this sort. I feel the way you treated me was very unbecoming for a teacher and of course, humiliating for me.

I do not blame you for arriving to the more obvious conclusion (regarding the situation), as you have done in my case. It is natural that you tend to believe what you see & what you think. But I wish to point out that you shouldn’t make the mistake of trusting what you think to be what is right. You could try to find out what exactly is the truth. See, perceptions of what is right and wrong vary with people. My right and wrong may not be the same as yours. It’s nobody’s fault. But when you treat someone in a biased manner just because they did something that’s not ‘right’ for you…that certainly is very wrong.

As far as I know (and many others corroborate this), you divide students into 2 categories, generally – ones who are in a relationship and ones who aren’t. Your behaviour towards the students of each category is biased and drastically different. Losing your temper, using ‘poking’ comments/comments with a lot of inner meaning, prejudiced and humiliating behaviour towards students are some of the lowest ways possible in which a teacher can react. And why all this? Just because they don’t adhere to your perceptions of right? Next time you are tempted to do something like this, please take the time to think. Try to find out if your conclusion is true and then go about with your reaction. And I hope the reaction will be something more measured, dignified and sensible.

Dear person, it doesn’t really count if you are considered a great teacher or as someone with a lot of degrees or someone who is highly qualified. At least in a broader, wider perspective for life, none of this does. At the end of the day, if you have been able to earn the respect of at least one student or if a student has addressed you as a ‘sir’/teacher, meaning it completely and believing you deserve it…that’s what counts, ultimately! That is when you will truly qualify as a teacher. Someday, if you read this, I hope you will understand what I’m talking about. I wish you all the best in your life ahead.

With no particular feelings,

Your student.