Blah, but a post nonetheless- Day 15

Seriously, I need to bow to all those who take up the daily blogging challenges and manage to stick to the regimen with an unwavering focus. I wonder how they manage to churn out posts after posts every day. I cant tell you how much of a struggle it has been to keep my focus steady, to think of things to write about. I am on the verge of giving up. But this little challenge that I have posed to myself makes me push that much harder to keep my resolve going. So I guess there’s something good that’s coming out of this little practice of writing daily. I’m learning to not give up. Hope I manage to stick by this learning till the end of this month!

Image courtesy: Google
Image courtesy: Google
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I need to learn to stop blowing my top at the drop of a hat!- Day 7

What’s wrong with me! I blasted my domestic help earlier in the day for coming in late for work. She must have had a late night enjoying her weekend like any of us. Or something more pressing must have kept her from reaching on time. I should have understood that. I should not have lambasted at her right at the doorstep. I could have waited for her to settle down, even offered her a glass of water before setting my drilling-motor-mouth on!

R is right. I should be more conscious about people’s feelings and self-respect. What right did I have to spoil her day? She had got in with a smile and a chirpy ‘Good Morning’ and now there she was going about her work with a sullen face.

Yes she should have informed me before hand if she was going to be late. I had my day planned based on her schedule, which meant that my plans were delayed too. But. But. That still didnt mean that I could be so inconsiderate.

R, while trying to put some sense into me, said something wonderful that he felt I should always keep in mind while dealing with people.

It’s just a twist of fate that she is in a situation where she has to work for me and my family. Tomorrow, there’s every chance that she chucks it all because she doesn’t need to for whatever reasons. Then, would she begrudge or respect me for my treatment of her? Her opinion of me would be a direct reflection of my treatment of her. If I want her to treat me with respect, I need to treat her the same.

In the same breath of the day, barely a few hours later I lost my cool with Namnam too. I was on my way to drop her in school for an activity. All charged up and excited about the workshop she was going to attend, she sat in the car reading a book, in between listening to music and happily humming along too. Now remember we were already late, so I was running around in a crazy mode trying to get her dropped in time, to make it worse we also had to stop by the grocery store to buy a pack of wet wipes which her teacher had instructed to bring in, because we realized in the nick of time that we had run out of them at home! And then just when we were walking to the store, Namnam realized that she had forgotten to take her water bottle. Its a small thing, I know. But it didnt stop me from shooting my mouth off again! That too all through our walk to the school gate. A perfectly excited girl till a few minutes ago was now walking in all glum. Could I not have kept my mouth shut and let her excitement stay on till the class was over? Was it really such a grave issue that I couldn’t wait for her to finish the class before blowing my top?

What a nincompoop I can be on some days, I tell ya!

Day 3- Today’s learning programme is brought to you by …

A very interesting, interactive and extremely engaging session that I had with the Dean of the Primary Year Programme at Namnam’s school. I came out of the hall quite enlightened after hearing all that she had to say about the programme that the school curriculum had in place for its children. And reassured too. I sincerely hope that the programme does achieve the goal that it’s set out to. And that is to help all its children become internationally minded people.

So far I have been happy with how Namnam has been progressing ever since she joined this school. But, like any parent, I would like her to aim for a better reach. She has still a long way to go, but I’m convinced that she is being guided through the right path here. And I’m hopeful that if the school goes about implementing the methods and ideas that the Dean so articulately shared, then she can truly benefit and evolve as a person.

Let me just jot down some of the things that I, as a parent, took away from the meeting today:

Let go of how I learned back in school and embrace the method that my child is being taught in. I’m perfectly ok with it as long as the method is progressive. Having said that I must say that the school doesn’t mind an open-learning policy either. So if I believe that my method of teaching a concept to my child is simpler than how it is taught in school, then the school is encouraging enough to let her learn it my way as long as she has grasped the said concept well.

Encourage my child to ask questions. Oh yes I completely endorse that. I have time and again tried to drill into Namnam that she needs to speak her mind, not suppress her queries, instead express them openly. I particularly loved it when the Dean said that in this programme of learning

there is no such thing as a dumb question.

Oh how I wanted to hug her for saying that! So many a time, we hold ourselves back from speaking our mind thinking that we might sound dumb, don’t we? So here’s a school of thought that urges any hesitant mind to let go and open up.

Education has evolved, technology has evolved, allow my child to evolve too. I agree as long as technology doesn’t border on addiction and misuse. Education is not about rote-learning anymore. It’s become lot more interactive and research based where the focus is more on practical study of concepts. Namnam’s school has been allowing the use of ipads and other tablets from as early as Grade 4, for educational research, of course with stringent restrictions in place. Though I agree there is a grave risk of such devices being misused and kids falling prey to addiction, but there’s no denying that constructive use of these devices has helped children to become more independent and resourceful.

Teacher is a facilitator. I love the term which gives such a huge scope to a child to grow. A child doesnt need to blindly follow or memorize what the teacher asks of him/her. Instead the child has the freedom to explore the concept in his/her own manner and interpret it in his/her own way with the teacher’s guidance. The teacher facilitates an environment suitable for the child to learn.

Approach learning with fun. Do not freak out if my child doesn’t bring any homework home. I’m one of those parents who’s the happiest on days when her child does not bring home any assignments! So this particular take away sits well on me :). Jokes apart, I do get the point the Dean tried to make. Homework is not the only way to practice what’s been taught. There are other ways to ensure that my child stays in touch with her lessons, which I can approach in a more fun and practical manner.

Be constantly involved with the Unit of Inquiry. One of the core features of the curriculum that her school follows is that of an Inquirer. Each term a class is given a topic which the children have to inquire upon, do research, and make power-point presentations of their observation. interestingly this is one of Namnam’s favourite subjects as she gets to sit online and research and I can’t admonish her for spending much time glued to her screen!

Allow my child to be independent. Not just while she goes through her lessons. But in every other aspect. I need to learn to let go and allow her to explore her world independently.

Learning doesn’t stop at the school gate. The responsibility of teaching my child to become a risk-taker, a critical thinker, internationally minded doesn’t just begin from home and end at school or vice versa. It’s to be jointly shared and undertaken by both, the parents and teachers. And this process of learning has to go beyond as an an ongoing process.

Last but never the least, the take away that stays with me is that, we are all learners. The Teachers, the parents, the children all alike. I couldn’t agree more.

Learn a li’l something everyday- Day 2

My blog has been lying low for a very long time. When I realized that, I thought the only way to keep it from dying a slow death was to pose a challenge to myself. I challenged myself to post about anything or something that I came across and learned from on a day. Hopefully everyday. It could be a thought, a gesture, an experience, a recipe or even a person that could be a source of my learning. I must admit that this idea of learning sprang up after I saw a friend’s updates on Facebook where she dedicated every single day of last month to one of her friends with a post, where she shared tidbits of each of her friendship and what she learned from each of them. I found the gesture way too beautiful to not imbibe. Now lets see how far I succeed in learning. And posting.

Yesterday, in fact, I did get a good learning from Namnam, which I had full intention to write about. But as is usually the case, the moment I logged in to the page and got around to writing, I ended up rambling about something entirely different!

So let me share what I learned yesterday, today. I learned that being a parent doesn’t essentially give her/him the right to assume that the child is always wrong vis a vis  the parents. What makes me say so? Well, here’s why.

So like every weekday, my yesterday morning kicked off with my alarm going off at 5, followed by me turning it off to toss & turn back for an extra half hour of sleep, then springing back up to sprint-perform my morning ablutions and running down to the kitchen to get packing Namnam’s lunch-boxes. When I finished sorting all boxes I went to get her lunch bag and her water bottle which is normally kept in the shelf. They weren’t there, which had me promptly assume that she must have forgotten them in school or probably left them lying in the car if she did remember to bring them back. I went to check inside the car but didnt find anything. Came back in, all charged up to give a big lecture about being more responsible and less forgetful. The usual jargon. Anyway, I packed the boxes in another bag and kept another water bottle for her to take.

When I asked Namnam about the missing bag and bottle, she refused to believe that she could be so forgetful. She was sure, as sure as eggs is eggs, that she had brought them back in. But she didnt have any choice but to acknowledge that her mother’s assumption of her was right, did she? Afterall, between the two parties- parent & child- its always the parent who can never go wrong, who can never be absent minded, right? Yeah, she was being drilled just that when I gloated on my fleeting assumption. So she nodded her head when she was sternly told by me to check for her belongings in school and headed out to start her day.

I got back to my morning chore of cleaning and dusting with the gloat sitting well on my face still! I strutted around the room with my broom in celebration when my eyes fell on the missing bag and bottle lying in Namnam’s room. There they were cackling and mocking me for my oversight! I had clearly misjudged my girl. Not once did it strike me to look in her room. I had clearly been the more absent-minded of the two parties.  I had half a mind to use the broom in my hand to hit my head! But fortunately or unfortunately I already had a niggling back pain poking at me for 2 days and making my life hell already. So I decided to spare my head just in time.

In the evening when I told Namnam about the day’s learning , another round of cackling ensued, even louder. This time of a 9 year old!