It was the Whats App message that made my day. In fact not just mine, my elder daughter, my mother, my sister, nephew, niece. The message came from my wife around 2PM. My 5-year old’s first exam results. It was her first encounter with serious business.
My daughter moved from play school to a main school this academic year. I was recounting the last 60 days of her progress in school (equivalent of 100 days in office). It was time to take stock. We wanted to understand how she is coping with the change. We found that she is youngest in the class. She obviously became the easy target for a bully who is a year older than her. Everyday we noticed that she missed one thing or the other. The lunchbox was empty but we were not sure whether she was eating the food or sharing with others. One day she spoke. She complained about Ms. Tan. I recollect the conversation between my wife and daughter. My wife told her “You have to take a stand otherwise everyone will bully you”. To this my daughter responded, “Amma, where should I stand? It was a deer in the headlight moment for us. How could we make her understand?
The above incident gave us an impression that she is very naive. I persisted with my attempts to encourage my daughter with some inspirational stickers of super heroes and heroines every day before she went for school. The very act of taking out the stickers of superheroes from the thin film and sticking them in the book made me feel that I was putting her in a positive mood. At a deeper cognitive level, I felt that the very act of sticking these super heroes will make her shift the mood and think differently.
I too was one of those born in July and got into the academic sprint early just to get a real head start. Introspecting on this I got hold of this book ” Don’t sprint the marathon “.In the book , there is a comparison between Sprinting and running a Marathon. This metaphor applied to education was very much interesting. Sprint may teach you how to elbow ahead , but marathons will allow you to lend a helping hand. Sprint is about how to win, marathon is also about how to lose. Sprint maybe driven by a desire to be ahead of others, marathon is about being ahead of oneself.
What is the equivalent of sprint and marathon in today’s education system? I found the answer when I met a group of 3 guys who were doing a video shoot. They call themselves “Frames in Motion.” They are doing both forms of the race. They were doing their engineering which is the equivalent of sprint and doing video shoots which is marathon through which they were discovering their calling. In my nephew who is 7 years old and in the US, I realized that he has realized a deep sense of interest in mathematics, thanks to Khan Academy (maths course) and he has developed a deep sense of interest in you-tube channel for his new computer games and is planning to have a Youtube channel created for his work. So, can I get my daughter to master both worlds? We will see.
Nowadays one thing she does outstandingly well is she has found the incentive for going to school by looking forward to yoga, games and Env science class. The other day we were passing by her old play school. We thought that she would be delighted to see her old play school, I told her to look at the same. She immediately countered me that I like my new school. Play school has only 3 buses while this new school got so many big buses. She has found her “hack” to cope with system.
Her stand is clear after 60 days, Embrace Big things and convert ” main school into a play arena.”. My daughter everyday is incentivizing school by thinking about yoga, sports and science classes.
In the school bus, she has found her best friend in Mr. Adi and sits next to him. She will then sing a song which goes like this “Just go to hell” (from Dear Zindagi) leaving Mr. Adi to think “where should I sit?”