Friday, November 21, 2008

Emerging Enlightened From Fifth Standard

Just two terms in fifth standard and I’ve learnt so much! The education has been multilevel – ethical, practical, creative and.... relentless.

Here are a few lessons that the 10 year olds taught me.

We were describing experiences in a railway station. That was the exercise given in the reader. Few had seen a train or a station. So I switched to an airport - and the response was resounding. But they spoke only about things that they bought at the airport – chocolates, cookies, juice, toys and one smart boy said books ( my repeated talks about the wonder of books and reading gave him an idea what would please me.) Wanting to turn the discussion to other things, I told the class that I loved to observe people at the airport – their clothes, appearance, behaviour... when Kevin in his high pitched voice said, “ Ma’am I think you were staring and that is not polite.” – and down dropped my sails…

Once we were doing Ruskin Bond’s 'A Face In The Dark', the story of a person meeting a faceless boy in the woods. This man runs in terror and reports to the watchman at his residence the scary sight. The climax of the story is the watchman holding his lantern to his face and asking, “ Was the face like this?” And the person is horrified to see that the watchman also had no features on his face. I had expected the class to experience the thrill of fear, the mystery of the supernatural. I’d expected wrong. They had a more down to earth doubt – How did the watchman speak if he didn’t have a mouth???

Entering class five is like stepping into the tower of Babel. Everyone speaks, not bothering if anyone listens. The sight of a teacher triggers cacophony. There are those who remind you that you have to give a dictation or collect the worksheet or give back the corrected work or take the recitation test or something. There is a bunch that offers service- to distribute the books or collect the homework or clean the blackboard or write the names of offenders. Then there are requests- Can I go to the toilet, I want to drink water, Please give us games, May I read first… But the majority enjoys complaining – That boy pushed me, She took my pen, Stuti is copying the homework from Wafa,You didn’t give my book after correction, I don’t have place to sit, She spoke in Malayalam, He speaks Tamil all the time, Walid said a bad word, He said shut up, He called me dog… It is a practical exam in patience I tell you!

The other day Aditya who has the loudest voice said “Ma’am Walid used the F word!!” The ‘oooh’ that followed inspired him to repeat the accusation even louder . Obviously Aditya was enjoying the added pleasure of uttering the prohibited word with total legitimacy. I had to do something before he spelled it out. So I turned on the guilty Walid with an angry frown and threatened him with dire consequences if he dared to repeat the crime. I then felt compelled to give a short talk on abstinence from uttering bad words. “Shame on all those who use filthy language,” I launched into the tirade, “The words you use show your culture. If you use such words, it shows that you are uncivilized (they had just learnt that word) Such small children, using such bad words…!.” I couldn’t complete the scolding. Aditya bobbed up like a @#*!@# Jack-in-the-box asking(shouting), “WHEN WE GROW OLDER CAN WE USE BAD WORDS, Ma’am?” It took a while for me to untie my tongue and put it back into my big mouth which was already occupied by my foot - shoe, stocking and all.

Logic is supreme for these children. If the masculine gender for mistress is master then the masculine for Countess should be Counter. And a female monk should be monkey??

There are so many more enlightening experiences that happen in that room. I need to jot them down before they slip from my mind. But then I am too preoccupied in experiencing those experiences

9 comments:

Jan said...

Hahahah! They weren't kidding when they said "out of the mouths of babes", eh? Hmm of course BABES these days... lol.

Darn, now I wanna be a school teacher.

NO! I didn't say that! I'm scared children, I is!

Jan said...

Have blog rolled you by the way :) So I will comment on every update from now on! Muahahahaha...

Materialmom said...

You should try it - being a teacher
The fun never stops!
On second thoughts, don't - it would be impossible to tell the teacher from the babes. :)
kadakadakadakada- that's my teeth chattering in fear!

atomicgitten said...

DARN IT!
My room-mates have just concluded that I have snapped. And you really can't blame- laughing maniacally at the computer screen does give that impression.

I love Adithya! He is just the best! I'm so glad I don't teach him :D That and the female for monkey will keep me giggling the whole night. Great- more proof for claims of insanity. :P

I would love to be a teacher. However, keen sense of protection for prospective students makes me refrain from that course of action :P

Materialmom said...

You should hear my colleagues talk
In 2nd std, the children had to supply adjectives for 'frock'and a child offered 'sexy'
As a teacher you may need protection from the kids!!

Rhythmn said...

great post...
i don't think i have read anything this funny recently...
:)

Materialmom said...

@Rhythm
Thank you :)

``black light`` said...

i started hearing these things only when i reached 6th or something.now that our 'culture' has gone down to grade 2...i wonder want is in store for us in the next say,5 years,.,.,.,

Materialmom said...

@Blacklight
There is a generation gap between the students of first std and those of second std, believe me.
We will have to wait and watch...