040: Schools and Us – Part 2
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040: Schools and Us – Part 2

We explore a few more questions around schools in our lives. I was curious to know how life would be at school just after Corona. Mrs Manisha gives us a little peek into some possible changes after schools reopen. I asked her a few more interesting questions like why some teachers have favourite students. And what we could do if teachers are boring sometimes. She gives us some brilliant answers. Listen to know it all.. Thank you



[0.01] {Background Music}

[0.08] Siyona: Hi again there. Welcome to my podcast Little Mind Chats. Minds are little, not our thoughts. I’m your host Siyona. In our previous episode, we were conversing with Mrs. Manisha Shashiraj Shetty, Vice principal of Innisfree House School here in Bengaluru. Mrs. Manisha has answered some of our questions like why school is such an important part of our education, why they insist on us wearing uniform at school or help us maintain discipline. We even spoke about online classes. Today, we will be continuing our discussion with a few more questions around school. Hello Mrs. Manisha, hope you are doing well.

[0.54] Mrs. Manisha: Hello Siyona.

[0.57] Siyona: Moving on to our next question, “sometime later, we will get back to school. How different would it be after Corona?”

[1.07] Mrs. Manisha: Very different Siyona. For starters, for at least sometime in the near future, I think masks and sanitizers will be your closest friends. Because we’ll have staggered days and timings in our school. So that all the students don’t come to school together at the same time. You might have a smaller class strength and some of your classmates might have separate school hours. And even while you are on campus, social distancing will be the norm. What does that mean? It means you will not be permitted within 6feet range of your class mates. So, now get used to the idea of having long distance conversation with your friends and teachers within the same class room. Of course, some teachers might take classes outdoors. So, don’t be surprised to find yourself studying probably history or nouns and verbs under the open sky. Right? Because under the open sky, there is less probability of you contracting any infection because you can stay far away from each other. Then of course, group physical activities like contact games and sports like, basketball, football, that will be a big no, no. Those will all have to be curtailed unfortunately to ensure safety of you children. There will be no assemblies, no meeting up with friends on the campus, lunch breaks will be staggered, and you won’t be permitted to share food. So, all of this sounds grim I understand that. Look at the bright side of it. You will be back at school once again amongst your friends, your teachers, and familiar surroundings. 

[2.50] Siyona: Yeah. Well since I am new to the schools in India we’re here. I might make a few new friends. So, I am looking forward to it.

[3.00] Mrs. Manisha: I’m sure you will make many new friends Siyona. Once you get back to school, even with the social distancing. I’m sure there will be enough opportunities for you to make new and good friends. And to continue with this question which you asked about how would school be post corona, I’ve just answered the first set about how it’s gonna be in near future. But, looking at the long-term scenario. I think it’s quite likely that despite resuming regular school or in person classes, many schools will continue to adopt this blended learning model along with traditional schooling. I think this is going to be the norm. Because you get the best of both worlds. Right? You’ve got a traditional school learning environment and you have supplementive online classes, so this is really basically the best of both worlds that you get here. Right? So, if nothing else I think this pandemic has just helped us all really imagine the concept of schooling. Its proved that schools can function and learning can happen even in the absence of a brick and mortar school.

[4.11] Siyona: Yeah. (says something indistinct)

[4.17] Mrs. Manisha: What does that mean?

[4.19] Siyona: Oh. You just say when you don’t know what to say.

[4.22] Mrs. Manisha: Really!?

[4.23] Siyona: Yeah. 

[4.24] Mrs. Manisha: That’s something I learnt today.

[4.26] Siyona: Like I read in one of my episodes, while one half comes in one day, the other half will probably have a holiday.

[4.35] Mrs. Manisha: You are right Siyona. You know what, you call a holiday will not be really a holiday. Because, those who are at home will have online classes. So, you will have a mix of the traditional schooling that you used to as well as online classes. So, you don’t have anyone coming together at the same time. But children are all learning either at school or at home. So, I think that’s the best blend that you can ever ask for in school education. 

[5.07] Siyona: Okay. So, we mix butter, we mix juices. Now we mix schools!

[5.14] Mrs. Manisha: (laughs) that was naughty Siyona. Good one. Yes, we mix schools too. We mix styles of school. Let’s say styles of learning. You can mix that in the near future.

[5.30] Siyona: “What do we do if one of the teachers is really boring and we cannot understand them?”

[5.38] Mrs. Manisha: Okay. Ideally a teacher shouldn’t be boring. But our country has a huge shortage of teachers. So, it is a challenge for every school to recruit the best. Unfortunately, what happens is though teachers don’t intend to be boring, their classes just might end up being just that. So, what can you do about it? I would suggest you read the matter to be taught beforehand. That’ll be simpler for you in class. Try to read other interesting trivia of books related to that subject. If possible, in class ask to switch places so you can move a little forward, closer to the teacher and the explanation. That’s going to help you stay active. Try to be the first to answer questions. I think that will keep you occupied and alert during class and take care of your boredom. Never hesitate to ask any teacher to explain the concept again. Teachers are there to teach, to help you. So, if you find teachers boring and you are not able to follow what she or he is speaking,  and if you have been obedient enough you know not disrupting the class, been attentive and yet you have a difficulty, don’t hesitate to ask the teacher to explain. There’s another simple way of making a boring class interesting and that is you can make notes with colourful pens. You can sketch what the teacher is saying. You know many kids feel that they can stay mentally alert when they draw what the teacher is trying to explain. So different children learn differently. So, try out these things and you might find a boring teacher also worth listening to. 

[7.22] Siyona: Those methods seem to be so interesting to follow. Luckily, I might not need them for now. “Why do some teachers have favourite students?”

[7.37] Mrs. Manisha: Hhmm. Have you been your teachers pet Siyona? Either here in India or in the UK?

[7.44] Siyona: Well, I have been one time.

[7.48] Mrs. Manisha: That’s wonderful. But how do you feel about it?

[7.51] Siyona: I felt a bit happy.

[7.54] Mrs. Manisha: Ah. (laughs). Alright. It’s an undeniable fact Siyona that several teachers show favouritism towards some students and this is unacceptable. It is wrong. No student should ever be given an advantage over the others simply because he or she is a teacher’s pet. Because, it effects the mood of the class. It might lead to conflict among children. But having said that, let me also say that the teachers also are human beings, so it is natural for them to connect with some students more than the others. You know it’s just like students connect better with some teachers than they would with the others. And there might be a number of reasons for this. A class room is a mix of students. Right? We’ll have children who are academically brilliant, some will be well behaved, some are receptive, responsive and these are ones who are frequently interacting in the class room. So, as a result they might inadvertently endear themselves to the teacher. But by and large teachers are not biased. Sometimes, they are perceived as having favourites. You know when they sail out students for more attention than the others. It might be that the student that’s being sailed out might be a slow learner. Some one who are struggling with learning difficulties. So, teachers need to spend more time with them to bring them up to grade level. So, this should not be considered as favouritism as this is necessary for the development of that child. Also, there are some teachers who have a soft corner for some students because of may be playful behaviour or they are mischievous or because they personally know them. But, at no point should that soft corner or that connection ever turn in to favouritism.

[9.55] Siyona: Yeah. In UK, we had this raffle ticket for all the good things we did over the week. On the last day of the week, they pick a winner from the class. So respectively like a lucky draw and the teacher is just supposed to blindly pick some ticket and she used to cheat sometimes. Sitting in the first bench I could make out that most of the times my teacher would peep into the chits and pick the name of one specific student. It used to make the rest of us feel a bit hopeless and sad. 

[10.32] Mrs. Manisha: That was so wrong. Because children, like you very rightly said Siyona. Children can understand that they are the teacher’s pet, that they are teacher’s favourite. And that’s not good atmosphere in the classroom or good interpersonal relations with the other students. Right? So, I think a teacher must be unbiased, must be impartial while teaching and while grading students. It is the moral duty of every teacher to treat all kids equally. 

[11.07] Siyona: “Can you share something about your school as a child?”

[11.12] Mrs. Manisha: Sure. I would love to do that. I studied in an all-girls school, where values and discipline were given high prominence. But emphasis on those days was in churning out young who are capable and confident on taking on the world and making a positive difference to the lives that they touched. When I look back, I’m actually awed by the fact that even 35+ years ago my school led great store on all round development of its students without compromising on academic achievement. All students were given opportunities to share their talents in several extra-curricular activities and because of that, I used to be a shy kid but I came out of that shyness that I had.  As diverse as you know dance, elocution, dramatics, handicrafts and even karate. So, my school was actually the best place for me to try out all these extra curriculars and understand that my interest was in dance and theatre. So, the school that I went to went far beyond academics. It had many annual programs and lots of exciting events you know like jumble sails, celebration of festivals, field trips, picnics, sports day, Christ day and we have lots of social impact programs. You know in fact, a distinct memory I have is of a cleanliness and hygiene drive which was organised by my school. The focus of that drive was to teach little children from near by slums the value of cleanliness. And you know what we were made to do? We actually gave them a bath at school with soap and water. We taught each child there how to scrub and clean his or her body. When I come to imagine something like that, being taught at schools today, you know each of us girls were assigned one child and that child was our responsibility for that period of a week or so. You know another occasion, we girls stepped out of school in groups armed with brooms and dust pans. And you know what we did? We swept the footpaths and the roads around our school. This was to clean our surroundings. Because it was really filthy for whatever reason the surroundings around you know our school were really filthy and we felt we needed to do something about it. So, we picked up brooms and dust pans and under the guidance of our teacher, we did this. Of course, we got many strange looks from people. But the lesson I learnt that then many years ago was about the dignity of labour. That no job should be looked down upon. Right? And that has stayed with me even today. See, although my teachers were very strict as was the norm in those days, they instil in me the values of discipline, punctuality, hard work and always seeking excellence in all that I try to do. So, I think a large part of who I am today, I owe to my alma no matter because it played a great role in my formative years. That is when I was a child. You know Siyona, children have a tendency to grumble about their school. It’s more like a fashion today you know beat rules or teachers or subjects or probably exams. But I am sure years down the line, they will all have a very different view of their school and they will appreciate the grounding and sound foundation given to them by their school and because of their school they could appreciate the fact that they are able to you know they are able to find way sense or high achieve their dreams. Because at the end of the day that is what all schools should be doing. Alright? So, I owe my school a lot.

[15.22] Siyona: Yeah. True. Well it would be like nice if schools these days like yours in those days.

[15.35] Mrs. Manisha: Yes. Absolutely and you know Siyona, schools these days are like those schools. It all depends on the management actually. Right? It’s not as if schools these days are not doing what we used to do in the past. There are plusses and minuses in both varieties of schools. So, there are plenty of schools who do ensure that their children get holistic kind of education that they are exposed to you know extra-curricular activities including sports, literary events, like I mentioned to you some social service programs. All of these I think they can help build up one’s personality. Help you understand who you are and give you a focus and helps to make you understand what future role in society is gonna be like. I think many schools these days are completely focussed on that. And I’m sure your school is also doing the same thing. Right?

[16.29] Siyona: Yeah. Well my school, if we went in person, we have a lot of fun things to do. But, because of this …I’m angry on Corona. Literally, I’m angry on Corona for not…Yeah for not letting us to go to school and enjoy all the lovely activities that we could do in primary school. The new year we’re going to start middle school which is a bit sad. 

[16.56] Mrs. Manisha: No. That’s okay. You’ll have so much to do in middle school too Siyona. So, don’t regret corona. You know probably corona also taught you like the benefits of online learning. You know you can learn from the comfort of your home. You know you don’t really need rigid time table. Right?

[7.15] Siyona: Yeah.

[7.16] Mrs. Manisha: So, there are benefits. Like yeah. You get best of the both worlds. Both online as well as traditional learning. Right?

[17.24] Siyona: I agree. This conversation has truly opened up many positive thoughts about school for me. I’m sure it has for you too. Thanks again for sharing all your experiences with us Mrs Manisha. It makes me feel more connected with my school now.

[17.45] Mrs. Manisha: Thank you Siyona. It was such a pleasure chatting with you. You’re a highly accomplished young lady and you truly embody the tag line of your podcast. Minds are little, not our thoughts. So, I’m so proud and honoured to be on your podcast today. 

[18.04] Siyona: Thank you and you’re welcome.

[18.09] Mrs. Manisha: Yeah. I wish you all the best Siyona. I’m sure you’ll make a mark in whatever you choose to do or become in the future. So many, many best wishes for that.

[18.18] Siyona: Thank you. I really hope you all enjoyed and learnt more about how our schools put in the extra effort to care for us and the learning we go through. It’s great to start preparing ourselves for a different way of schooling right after corona. Whichever way, I’m up for the challenge. There are a few things that I really wasn’t aware of. When you’re bored in a class, it’s probably because you’re not prepared enough. And if the teacher sounds boring, even then Mrs. Manisha suggested some brilliant ways to stay engaged in the class. Finally, I realised that schools provide us some very important ways of life which we probably can not acquire from anywhere else. All this apart from making life time friends. I’m so looking forward to it. 

[19.12] If you have more questions for this teacher, feel free to ask. You can mail your questions to me on siyona@littlemindchats.com or leave your questions on the ‘Get involved’ page on my website littlemindchats.com or message me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

[19.33] Here’s our next month’s competition. It’s cooking without fire. Prepare your favourite sweet or savoury dish. Click a pic and send it to siyona@littlemindchats.com.

[19.46] Thanks a Ton for listening. Bye!      

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