Pure Randomness!

Pure Randomness!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just data

School name: I am keeping it confidential

Location: Vishrantwadi, Pune

Established: 1973

Type: Private, English medium

Classes: From Junior KG till 10th (one division each)

Fee: Rs. 150 (for 4th std, may be different for others)

Number of Students: Near 200

Number of Teachers: 13 ( 2 male, 11 female) (7 from last year, 6 newly joined this year including the 3 from TFI)

Uniform: Green stripes on cream shirt and green shorts, trousers or pinafore. Green tie and green with cream stripes belt. Black shoes, black socks.

Uniform for mass PT on Wednesdays: White and white, with white PT shoes. Then there are specific house colours also (green and orange).

Building: Brick and mortar building, outside not plastered but painted green. Inside plastered and painted cream. Wall is cracked at places.

Classroom: For primary classes one big room divided into half by a small screen. For secondary and above, seperate rooms (4th std shares the class with 2nd)

Play ground: Quite a big one. The school has only 3 sides boundary walls. At the back the school extends into a small forest!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why do I blog?

Just because you have asked me to.....

It has been part of my life at certain points in time to write personal journals. But writing a personal journal and a blog is quite different. I can write only my random feelings and weird thoughts after certain amount of filtering as they are too random and too weird most of the times.

Though this blog is starting with my experience with education, this blog is not meant just for education. This blog is about my random feelings and my weird thoughts, though for the next 2 years this blog may predominantly be about education.

When I am writing about education, I am writing for you, those who have been and are part of my life. You have been wanting to know what I am doing, how my kids are doing, how I am feeling, how I am faring, how I am changing my kids, how I am changing myself in the process. I am trying to capture as much facts, feelings and thoughts as possible for you here. So please follow the blog and give me comments to improve it, let me know what other things you want to know. I will also pose the problems and dilemmas I am facing in my class and you can help me with suggestions in handling them. So here you go my highly interactive random feelngs (hic) and weird thoughts.......

Monday, June 15, 2009

My first day at school

By assembly time at 8 am, I still have only 8 students in my class. I felt more anxious than relieved in seeing that. I should be having 30 students in my class and I expect atleast 20 to be in on the first day. By the time assembly is over, one girl is called to the office and she leaves with her father. I am down to 7, 5 boys and 2 girls.
I have planned for a session of introduction, with 2 kids introducing each other. From Surya I have borrowed the idea of animal sounds to pair up the kids. But after seeing my 4th standard students and how big they are, I threw the childish part out. I instructed the students to talk and find out from the student sitting next to them 3 things and introduce that to the class.
1. Name
2. What does she/he want to become when they grow up?
3. What does she/he like about school?
In the meanwhile another student joins and I have 8 again.
I have 2 pilots, 5 doctors and 1 engineer in my class and I found 5 different spellings for doctor.
The exercise was quite insightful and found out who all can follow instructions, write, ask questions and who all struggle.
In the meanwhile my next class which is having 23 students do not have enough place to sit. The kids from there are all over in my class pulling my unoccupied benches and desks. I found it a little weird that there is no one taking permission in doing all these things. In the meanwhile Ms. S comes and hits a kid who is pulling the bench. 2 whacks on his shoulders and one on his face. Wasn't she there when the Pricipal has instructed all of us that we cannot touch the kids? Ofcourse, she was. I already know one teacher with whom I am going to end up fighting. But as of now I have to keep quiet lest I loose my focus and the opportunity.
I taught them how to SPARK next.
S - Sit straight
P - Pay attention
A - Ask and answer questions
R - Respond
K - Keep tracking
I am glad that I did this in the beginning itself as it came handy throughout the day in getting their attention back to me. The students were very eager to SPARK when ever I put up my hands in a T and started counting down from 5.
In the English class I have planned to read one chapter of Time Machine by H.G. Wells. So I taught them the difficult words in the first chapter before I started with the reading. It took me 15 minutes to teach them the meaning of "travel". First of all I was quite amazed to see that they didnt know the meaning and "travel" didnt figure in my list of difficult words. I read the first chapter, explaining in simpler words whats going on, but I do not think it really worked. So I told them we will read Time Machine after 2 months and we will start reading some other books first. So I will be doing "The little red riding hood" tomorrow.
During the recess the 2 students who are repeating 4th standard brought me "vada pav" which I refused to eat. But after a little bit of forcing from their side I accepted the same and used this opportunity to get to know them better. We read the quiz book together during that time and did a puzzle in that together. It was amazing to see them trying harder with a little bit of encouragement. At the end of the recess they both promised me on my hand that they will work hard this year and I promised them that I will work hard with them and will give all the support they need to make it to 5th standard.
In maths class we first went through place values quickly and played a game of "99 or bust". It took 7 rounds of the game for the students to keep the sum below 99. But it was amazing to see them getting the idea and manipulating the numbers.
Quite regularly the so called supervisors walk into the class to see whether everything is going fine. Once Ms. A walked in and checked on me. Before she left she went to student A and hit him on his head and asked, "so will you study this year atleast?". I smiled and told her "I dont think you need to hit him". She smiled mumbled an apology and left the class.
The last 2 sessions were supposed to be for language - Marathi and Hindi. Since the teacher didnt turn up for the same, I continued with Maths. By then I am in no mood to talk. The solution is in getting the kids to write. So I started with giving sums on the board with a promise of who ever gets the answer first and right gets a point. The points turn into chocolates tomorrow. Addition with carry over and subtraction with borrowing is something they learn in 3rd standard. Surprise surprise, half of them cant do addition with carry over and by then not a surprise any more, none of them can do subtraction with borrowing. I forget that I cant talk any more and I start teaching addition with carry over and they get it right pretty fast. So tomorrow I will continue with subtraction with borrowing.
I also taught them the first stanza of "read baby read" which got them all excited and they have promised me that they will read every day the books I am going to give them.
I was prepared to have sessions on Big goals, which are the goals which we need to achieve by end of the year. Then rules for the class. But all these lesson plans were thrown out the window. It didnt make sense to teach just 8 kids all these if I am going to have 30 kids by end of the month. Though I talked to them about the scholarship exam, which they were not aware of. Also I used the pilot, doctor, engineer ambitions to make them work hard. I will still use further investment plans, but for a starter this has worked fine.
The first day was a day which excited, disappointed and enraged me. The one thing which didn't figure in it was doubt. I was much more prepared than I thought I was. Overall I am feeling pretty happy about my first day. Hoping to see atleast another 8 students in class tomorrow.