Each time I am with my resource books, I remember where I had used a technique from it. The memory of the effect I had had on the children remains vivid. I often get lost in those thoughts. Yet I am given to wonder why it was that organisations never thought it worthwhile to tarry a while and think that if there was someone who was making a difference with a new idea, it was worth at least a deliberation? Some reflection? Some opinion? Some inspiration?
But alas! I always got mired in someone’s politics.
Sadly, to the loss of several young individuals because I knew my ideas were worth a reflection. They got the children’s attention; thus, they were worth a consideration.
Buried deep in my books, with my notebook filling up fast and my printer whirring away non-stop as it churned out the copies I needed, I remembered the journal writings I had done with my grade 8 and 9. How each time we brainstormed on topics and pulled out characters and plots from my magic bag the stories and anecdotes which flowed out of the pens of the kids were dramatically amazing and I was one happy, happy teacher! And no one had even heard of journal writing in schools with a formal syllabus of the English language when I experimented thus. I did it within my prescribed allotted periods in a week and my results reflected my ‘secret’ weapon: Innovative teaching techniques. Yet when I spoke of it within the school environs, I was dismissed aside by colleagues.
The thesaurus wheel was a constant in every class I ever took and within weeks of my entering my classrooms, my kids would have thrown out the worn-out words out of the window. My Ideas Sieve display was another perpetual aid which helped my students learn to unravel the mysteries of every story in a proficient way with a skilled understanding of how to assimilate the information and make it relevant for learning. Even though I had parallel teachers and later senior colleagues heading operations, none bothered to give it any cognizance.
Discussing with a friend and a former colleague about random stuff, we chanced upon our favourite topic of education. I guess we just cannot be separated from it ever! So, over my Hyderabadi dum-ki-chai and potato skin chips I recalled how we had made our grade 10 an exploration zone with charts, physical models, a globe, encyclopaedias and even a weighing machine. The results had been mind-blowing! But instead of duplicating the effort, wherever possible, my ideas drowned in the gushing egos and ‘subject-expert’ tags. Nevertheless, my students of that batch benefitted.
Whenever I have heard of excellent and good education practices, I have never shied away from trying them in my own classrooms and schools wherever I could with due acknowledgement to the origins. Results were seen in the performance of the students and their learning got an extra edge. I found resistance from within our teaching community of teachers as every new idea in our country is viewed as an encroachment on ‘comfort zones’ of individuals – we never welcome ideas with open arms, always very grudgingly. But when I could influence, I chose my way over the highway. To great results. But the time was never enough for my difference to get categorized into the ‘good practises’ category as the highway was chosen to be the mode of ‘way forward’.
Will I be allowed to make a difference? I hope being an eternal optimist, I keep trying in my own small ways wherever I find like minded educationists who give more credence to value and sound techniques rather than viewing it from any other angle.
I revel in their foresight, I celebrate in the existence of insight, I rejoice in their mindfulness towards a child’s actual learning, I delight in the acknowledgement of a discerning educationists’ skills, I exult in being allowed to make a difference!