The Way I Began……….

During the process of searching good schools for my 5year old twin girls this February, I realized that amidst the plethora of schools around, almost all of them offered great infrastructure and facilities and had good name in the industry. All of them were convincing but I somehow didn’t seem to be convinced fully. For the only reason that I did want good co-curricular and infra and every X, Y, Z they offered, but apart from that I needed a guarantee of ‘good education’ in its core sense. The schools did have good and experienced teachers but would my kids be given that special and specific understanding?

With all these questions in my mind I had already started feeling the need of not just good but committed and devoted teachers, teachers who realize their pivotal role of ‘Educators and Reformers’ to our society. I was actually looking for such teachers who would take the pains of understanding and reading my child as an individual, knowing her problem area and then accordingly teaching the topic as per her needs and challenges. That is what I do as a mother of twin girls. I myself have handled my kids who are the same age (as they are twins) in two completely different ways, understanding their individuality and challenges. Both of them are completely opposite to each other in almost every sense.

Meanwhile, I was already into a process of preparing myself mentally of getting back to the professional front. But after a sabbatical and also having two small kids dependent too much on me,’ where to start from’ and ‘what to start with’ was a big puzzle. I never wanted to get into something on a short-term basis. I wanted to have a life-long career rather than being just occupied or employed for the sake of it. This made my decision even more difficult.

While I was dealing with these two crucial queries in my life last month, I questioned myself if I could be the kind of teacher I am looking for my kids. ‘Why Not’? Teaching was something which I had never very seriously thought of as a career option as I neither had much experience nor found myself well-equipped. I then started thinking on these lines. But I wanted to’ make a difference as a teacher’ and not just be any teacher. I wanted to be well equipped before I started. I don’t want to just ‘earn’ out of teaching, I would love my students to learn out of my teaching with all pleasure. I would love to be loved as a teacher by my students and be looked upon by them.

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Saumya Mishra

Email:
saumya16mishra@gmail.com

 

Address:

Sector 69,Gurgaon

 
 
Learner
 

                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

  JOURNEY AS A LEARNER

 

This beautiful journey till date has had many landmarks in the form of learning and evolving experiences that have helped me in my inner transformation. These varied experiences include our retreat, practice classes, theory and MPL sessions. The journey started with a 4 day Retreat which has given me lessons for life. It was through the various activities and tasks at the retreat, that I first got to learn that ‘Life is a yagya’. The more you put in the more you get. The more you risk, the more you gain. Life asks for a great amount of efforts, risks, time, sacrifices, attempts and emotions to be put in the journey of being a ‘better person’, to be able to evolve as a better person. One needs to come out of his/her comfort zone and strive to be better individual. Session on the very first day of the retreat after the activity made me deeply realise that I actually need to put on my thinking caps , come out of my comfort zone, dream of a better world and strive each day to be a better person. In these four days, I survived on just the basics, be it sharing just 4 washrooms among the 29 of us, filling our own buckets and fetching them up to the washrooms, cooking on a ‘chullah’ or doing everything on our own. All of this made me value the things which we take for granted in our lives. Valuing even the basics was a big lesson learnt. The tasks and the sessions post them made me overcome some of my fears, fight with my own self, challenge my limits and come out victorious, as stronger and therefore happier individual.

One of the best things that I have learnt is ‘not to judge anybody’.  Not to take anyone at his/her face value and give enough space and time to that person. Giving the ‘Benefit of Love’ instead of benefit of doubt is what I have now started practicing. It is very important to be mindful and non-judgemental of the people around. We are all conditioned by the situations we’ve had in our lives. I am a result of my conditions and so are the others. I am a person influenced, shaped and sometimes forced to be a system which operates with those realities in response and so are the others. Earlier, like any other person, I used to play this blame-game. But now I’ve started realising and believing that I am the one responsible for most of the negative and wrong things happening to me. I have started to recognize and get face-to-face to my emotions and stop the blame-game. I always need to keep introspecting and reflecting. It helps me to delve deep into my core being and enabling myself to be able to address my life issues by going to their root causes. It’s about knowing where I’m operating from and what am I seeking. Understanding of the world we live in begins with our understanding of the ‘self’. This is how I’m able to move ahead each day with all positive energy and enthusiasm to make a difference in my own life and that of the others.

We think that we as teachers and parents know everything and the child knows nothing. We have all the right and logic to teach a child. We talk of children to be at a lower level and to teach them we need to get down to their level. All such silly theories have thankfully got trashed as a result of learning in this course. It rather got established with me that to be a good teacher I need to be a ‘learner’ first.

More than anything else, I have ‘learnt to be a Learner’ and be open and ready to unlearn many things as well in the process of new learning. Being a learner is a life-long virtue and I know that I need learn to be more aware and respond to various situations and problems in life. I do not anymore take any information as just any fact but question it rationally and delve deeper into it. During the course I have become more open as a learner on breaking open my self-perceptions and the perceptions I had of the people around me. I have understood that it isn’t possible to bring even single bit of change in the world around us, without bringing a radical change in one’s own self.

Last few months have helped me learn how to strive to be stronger and a better individual. We may find it comfortable and easy to give up and stay being in our comfort zone, but that hinders our growth process. I have now learnt to keep pushing my limits in everything I do. I try and challenge myself even further. I have ‘Given up, on giving it up’.

UNDERSTANDING OF LANGUAGE

 

If we as Humans are a social being, then Language is one of the most important social activities. We use language to fulfil certain immediate purposes in our daily lives. We use it as a ‘Tool’, which brings in to focus the functionality of language. The most important of all is to make sense to the world. We use language to connect to oneself and to the world. We use language to interact and to communicate, to give and get information, to present ourselves, to explore things, etc. There are innumerable functions of language, which are generally not planned. As it is a way of expression of our self, it comes very naturally and therefore the functions of language are not planned. Every function of language is comprehensive. Even a very small child uses language to express, though he might not be able to articulate at that age.

  As we use language to connect to the other beings, it has its rules as a symbol system. Every language has its own underlying rules. Thus language has to have a ‘Form’, which is planned and has to be taught explicitly. Every language has a specific structure and pattern to it, which is the most visible part of that language, having its own grammar, pronunciation, phonics and phonetics, pragmatics and orthography. But all of this has its significance and usage in the functioning of language for various reasons. Thus Forms and Functions of language always go hand in hand, very naturally. They cannot be divorced. Children hear language, recognize it and use to express their own meanings. As they interact with others, they gradually learn how to share their meanings. The more they use the language the more they learn the forms of that language.

  In case of First language, the function comes first (naturally) and then the rules. In case of first language, or the mother tongue, the child has an immersion in that oral language environment since birth. So no deliberate attempts are made or required to teach that language to the child. It is quite automatic and natural. If a child is using that language to communicate, it means that he is using the function of language for his purpose, which is imbibed in his system because of his continuous exposure in that oral language environment. It doesn’t need to be taught explicitly. Because of the same reason, understanding the forms and rules of the first language is also naturally understood by the user to a great extent. But in case of Second language the form needs to come or taught first in order to know the functioning of that new language. Without knowing and learning the forms of that new language, its usage and functioning cannot be possible. For example Hindi happens to be my First language (mother tongue). As I have grown up in an oral language environment of Hindi around me since my childhood, no one ever had to make any deliberate attempt to make me learn Hindi. Nor did I face any challenge in learning to communicate in that language. It all came very naturally and automatically. But today, If I go out to learn French (which would be a Second language to me),I would first be required to know and learn the forms and rules of that language. Only then will it be possible for me to use (function) that language.

  It is my personal belief that one tends to be very casual with one’s first language, maybe because of the comfort level with that language. We are also very experimental with it and use it as per our convenience. Our attention is more on its functioning, rather than its form. It might again be because of the command we have over our first language. Such is not the case with any second language. We lay special emphasis on the forms and rules of that language while using it anywhere. We are generally not casual about it. A more polished and sophisticated usage (functioning) of  second language is more than welcome by all, though it may have some mother tongue influence to it, at times. Also, though the function of any language might remain the same, its forms do tend to change a bit at times due to the society changes over a period of time. A change in the functioning of a language over a period of time in any given society might also at times lead to a change in its forms.

 UNDERSTANDING OF MATHS

 

My earlier understanding of Word problems in mathematics and interview of students and a teacher with other school:

I had a completely different perception about Problem solving in Mathematics. That’s the way I had learned and been doing the word problems. The real conventional way of approaching the word problems means to break the problem in various steps and parts and then solve each part to get the wright answer in the end. Getting the wright answer in the end is the sole motive. The word problems are designed in a way so as to cater to the needs of any particular concept. In such a case, it gets very obvious for the students that if they have just learnt multiplication, the word problems that they are getting to solve by the teacher have to be that of multiplication only. For example, Q-There were 30 goats on a ship. The captain drops 10 ships in the sea. What is the age of the captain? Many students would start thinking of the answer or even solving the problem. It is because they see 2 numbers and think that something has to be done with these 2 numbers only to get the answer to the problem.

The students of the other school told me that the problems they do in maths have nothing to do with the real world and its possibilities in the actual sense. Moreover the teachers try to break the problem for the students. To the extent, that almost every student is into the habit of just breaking the problem into parts, understanding each part and follow BODMAS. Breaking the problem in parts never allows the students to see the problem as a whole. They solve each part just to get the wright answer to the final thing. More so, the strategy applied or the steps involved play least importance. The idea is just to get the right answer. The teacher even told that while checking any students work, they basically look for the right answer and not necessarily the strategies involved, which would reflect students’ understanding.

 

The Jodo Gyan Pedagogy:

 As per my conversation with Jodo Gyan teachers and also on the basis of some learning while teaching according to the Jodo Gyan methodology, I came to learn that the Word Problems should be imaginative enough to create experiences for children, so as to enable them to solve real problems in actual life. There’s emphasis on students being able to actually ‘mathematize’ the experiences and foster ‘problem solving attitude’ in children. These word problems help in breaking the stereotypes (eg. Father packing tiffin) when the problem is brought live in the class and the students are able to visualize the problem as well as the numbers. Two important aspects are kept in mind A) Number: which means the familiarity with the quantity, size of the number and order of the number. B) Context: which means familiarity with situation created in the problem, how meaningful a situation is, plausibility of the situation, its educational significance and its purpose of emotional engagement.

The language is comfortable and understandable for the children so that the students are able to comprehend the problem well, in the first place. If needed, accessible tools are used. The teacher lets the student’s see the ‘Number Relation’. Example: For Holi celebration, Sonu’s parents made 36 ghujias. They ate 11 of them and then his nana and nani brought  15 more. How many ghujias do they still have? The students might not just do 36-11+15. They can do 15-11+36, or 36+15-11, if they are able to visualize the number of ghujias.

 

If the context is tough the numbers given in the problem should be easier, but if the context is easy enough the numbers can be big to enhance their level of learning. All that is done in grade 1 is taken up with complex numbers and contexts in grade 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The language while making any problem must be easily understandable.

 

Taking up the Word Problems in class: While taking up the word problems in class visualization of the problem to the students is a must. The way a problem is presented to the students is completely a teacher’s role and is very crucial as well. It is her role to elicit or even model out the context at times to the students, for them to be able to comprehend well and then go further with solving the problem, rather than starting with eliciting the solution directly. Breaking the problem for the students should be a complete no by the teacher. The students should be given ample time and left with thinking and diving deep into the problem and visualizing it. Making each student look at the problem as a whole is very crucial.

I find it too early for me to be commenting much on the pedagogy at this point in time of the course. May be I need to practice some of it more by myself and then get a deeper and better understanding of the system. But when I planned my own word problems and took them up in the Lead Teaching Week as a part of this course, I came across one thing- Students in math class definitely need differential learning. As I have been observing, there are a few students who have various strategies to solve any given problem, on the other hand there are many who struggle with even comprehending the problem and need to be told at times as to what’s asked in the problem.

Conclusion: The purpose is not to just find the right answer, but to create real life experiences in class and develop mathematical thinking and problem solving attitude in students, which remain with them for life. The children should get familiar with the quantity and the size and order of the numbers. The word problems must have emotional engagement and educational significance to all the students..

UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE
 

 

 

Objective: To cull out the thinking, especially alternate theories, that children hold about a chosen concept in Science.

 

Concepts and sub-concepts: Trees/plants – leaves - food for their growth – photosynthesis-storage of food

Probing Questions:

  1. Are trees/plants living or non-living?

  2. How can you say that trees/plants are living things?

  3. From where do the plants get the energy to grow?

  4. What is the food of the plants and how do they get it?

  5. Do the trees need to store their food? Why and How?

 

Name/Age/Grade of students interviewed:  (In the words of the students)

  1. Student-A (10 years-grade 5): Trees are living things because they grow on their own and they need food and water like other living beings.

Their food is all natural. Their food is soil and sunlight and they also need water for their growth.

 

  1. Student-B (10 years-grade 5): Trees are very much living as they need water to survive and keep on growing. “Objects that don’t grow, don’t really live”. Soil and sun give them energy and carbon dioxide to grow and live. Therefore, sunlight and carbon dioxide are the food for the trees. Sunlight and carbon dioxide get inside the trees through its leaves and then the tree spreads the two in the whole tree through its veins.

 

  1. Student-C (10 years-grade 5): Trees can be termed as living beings for various reasons. They grow on their own and suck water from their roots for their growth. Also, they react to poisons, the way the humans do (“Ma’am, I had once read it in a book”).

Trees create their food in a very unique way. They suck water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air in the presence of sunlight to cook their food. The tree then supplies the cooked food to its various parts. The supplied food is consumed by the various parts for their growth. The trees do not store any food. They cook, supply the cooked one and consume it for the growth.

 

  1. Student-D (10 years-grade 5): Trees and plants are living as they also breathe and eat. They eat sunshine, as it is the only food they get and they also have water. These two help them to grow. They do not need to store these two, as they are available in abundance in nature for the trees and they can have them and use them for their growth, whenever they require.

 

Analysis:

 

I interviewed 4 students of grade 5 (of the age of 9-10 years) around where do the trees get the energy to grow and eventually where do they get their food from. I started with the interview making them think and articulate if they think the trees were living and why do you think so. Most of the students of this age group came up with the answer that they thought that trees were living as they could see them grow over a period of time, like the humans do.

 

The students majorly were of the view that the trees used sunlight, soil, carbon dioxide and water as their food to grow. They were not of the view point that the following were rather processed in some or the other way to make food by the trees. One of the 4 students did say that the trees suck water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air in the presence of sunlight to cook their food. The tree then supplies the cooked food to its various parts. But he presented his theory that supplied food is consumed by the various parts of the trees for their growth. The trees do not store any food. They cook, supply the cooked one and consume it for their growth.

 

So, the students seemed to have an alternative theory that trees on a daily basis use sunlight and carbon dioxide from the open atmosphere and water and soil from the earth, as their food directly. They use the energy produced by this food to grow and all of this is done on a daily basis. They did not believe that the trees at all need to store food and that any such process takes place, in spite of me asking them things around fruits and vegetables.

Objective: To cull out the thinking, especially alternate theories, that children hold about a chosen concept in Science.

 

Concepts and sub-concepts: Trees/plants – leaves - food for their growth – photosynthesis-storage of food

Probing Questions:

  1. Are trees/plants living or non-living?

  2. How can you say that trees/plants are living things?

  3. From where do the plants get the energy to grow?

  4. What is the food of the plants and how do they get it?

  5. Do the trees need to store their food? Why and How?

 

Name/Age/Grade of students interviewed:  (In the words of the students)

  1. Student-A (10 years-grade 5): Trees are living things because they grow on their own and they need food and water like other living beings.

Their food is all natural. Their food is soil and sunlight and they also need water for their growth.

 

  1. Student-B (10 years-grade 5): Trees are very much living as they need water to survive and keep on growing. “Objects that don’t grow, don’t really live”. Soil and sun give them energy and carbon dioxide to grow and live. Therefore, sunlight and carbon dioxide are the food for the trees. Sunlight and carbon dioxide get inside the trees through its leaves and then the tree spreads the two in the whole tree through its veins.

 

  1. Student-C (10 years-grade 5): Trees can be termed as living beings for various reasons. They grow on their own and suck water from their roots for their growth. Also, they react to poisons, the way the humans do (“Ma’am, I had once read it in a book”).

Trees create their food in a very unique way. They suck water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air in the presence of sunlight to cook their food. The tree then supplies the cooked food to its various parts. The supplied food is consumed by the various parts for their growth. The trees do not store any food. They cook, supply the cooked one and consume it for the growth.

 

  1. Student-D (10 years-grade 5): Trees and plants are living as they also breathe and eat. They eat sunshine, as it is the only food they get and they also have water. These two help them to grow. They do not need to store these two, as they are available in abundance in nature for the trees and they can have them and use them for their growth, whenever they require.

 

Analysis:

 

I interviewed 4 students of grade 5 (of the age of 9-10 years) around where do the trees get the energy to grow and eventually where do they get their food from. I started with the interview making them think and articulate if they think the trees were living and why do you think so. Most of the students of this age group came up with the answer that they thought that trees were living as they could see them grow over a period of time, like the humans do.

 

The students majorly were of the view that the trees used sunlight, soil, carbon dioxide and water as their food to grow. They were not of the view point that the following were rather processed in some or the other way to make food by the trees. One of the 4 students did say that the trees suck water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air in the presence of sunlight to cook their food. The tree then supplies the cooked food to its various parts. But he presented his theory that supplied food is consumed by the various parts of the trees for their growth. The trees do not store any food. They cook, supply the cooked one and consume it for their growth.

 

So, the students seemed to have an alternative theory that trees on a daily basis use sunlight and carbon dioxide from the open atmosphere and water and soil from the earth, as their food directly. They use the energy produced by this food to grow and all of this is done on a daily basis. They did not believe that the trees at all need to store food and that any such process takes place, in spite of me asking them things around fruits and vegetables.

 STUDENT PROFILE

 

The purpose of the task is ‘to view the child in a different light’. To see her beyond ‘just any’ one of the students in my class of 32. I have been shadowing A since a while, as per my CT’s recommendation to observe and study for the student profile.

I still remember A grabbing my attention since my very first day in class 5-B. I found her to be the most outspoken in class, who pretended not to be bothered about anyone. Her physical built makes her stand out of the class. A is not just the tallest but also the heaviest in grade 5, including all the 8 sections. She possesses the most matured bodies in the whole of grade 5. She is 10 years of age but looks and behaves like one in her mid-teens. This girl comes with her hair tied in pony in an untidy manner, as if they were never combed. Sometime comes with some funky bands on her hair and flaunts all around. I have noticed A dressing up in an all sporty way, with tights and loose t-shirts. She wears heavy branded sport shoes, as she is a lot into sports, specifically basketball and football. Her intense dark circles make her stand out even when seen from a distance. Though she possesses a hefty body and is pretty active at sports, she looks like some serious patient because of her dark circles.

A has a lot of expressions on her face in general. To describe, I would say that she has a very dead and dull expression on her face if she is not saying or doing anything, but whenever she talks she is too very expressive. Her eyes will sparkle according to her voice tone and content of her conversation. This girl uses her hands a lot while talking and expressing herself. Also she moves and shakes her legs a lot while talking and sharing. She every now and then shakes her shoulders while putting her point forward and has very loud expressions in addition to having a loud voice.

 She has a very accented speech and also seems to be making extra efforts to sound so. I have found her to be trying to make some conscious attempts to set style statement for herself in the class. She keeps flaunting her belongings, especially showcasing the brand tag on them and simultaneously is very possessive about all of them. Carries quite a big pouch as her stationary box, loaded with variety of stationary items in it. She has quite a good collection of pens, coloured pens, coloured tapes, etc. I would like to quote a small incident here which clearly brings out her mind set or the mind set of the people back home. I heard saying once to boy sitting next to her, “Do not show off please. People don’t like the ones who show off a lot” it made me stop beside her and inquire a bit as to where did such a thing come from in her mind. As she is very much into expressing herself, she narrated an incident to me, where, when she was in grade 4 she used to show-off  a lot. Her friends hated her a lot. On my further enquiry she revealed that she showed off living in Magnolias, golf course road, which most of the students around knew as premium-luxury apartments.  She said, “Ma’am, it was like a 5-star hotel with all luxuries. We were there on rent and we had to change soon. Right now also I’m living in a luxury apartment. We own this one now. Actually ma’am we wanted to buy one in Magnolia, but there was no flat available on sale. You know what ma’am I have 4 televisions in my house and we are going to get the 5th one”.

Though A tries to portray herself as a very bold and strong person, I found her to be an extremely emotional and sensitive person who bursts out into tears on just anything. I have across many incidents found her bursting out like any small child. Be it her favourite teacher leaving the school or she getting a small scratch on her arm by a fellow student’s pen, A cries with all tears in her eyes and yelling and howling. She might keep sobbing for hours. I have strongly felt that she has some deep rooted sorrows or grievances which she does not share with anybody and looks for petty opportunities to burst all out. There are days when she is very dormant and does not act or react much.

Because of her matured built and attitude, she is not very close friends with anyone in the class. She is not very flexible with her ideas and actions and tries to dominate and also at times bully the other students around. There is some or the other child coming up raising an issue with her. There are students coming from other classes as well, even junior and senior, and also the ones going with her in her bus, complaining about her. This makes her ending up not making good friends. She isn’t very close to any subject teacher but I felt her close to her class teacher who had to leave the school in the month of October. She cried for 2 days. Since then she has become quite dull and does not much interact and involve. Her math teacher is of the view that since then A is creating less of fuss and is a bit settled as compared to earlier times.

I found her not very interested in describing things when asked to write. While writing answers or writing any kind of narration told by the teacher, she tries to get rid of the work as quickly as possible, then starts doing her own stuff and distracting kids around. But once when the class was supposed to prepare an anchor chart, jotting down all questions and observations of the gallery walk they had earlier that day, she took the initiative and wrote down quite a lot of points and queries for her crew. She tried to do that very well with all sincerity. A is really responsible and sincere when given a charge. She overall has quite a good participation in class and tries to take the lead.  

A’s Math teacher is also of the view that she’s an active child, who wants inclusion and performs better when given charge.  But still, even in such a condition her work is never a well-finished one, no excellence, settled, tidy or impressive work. She’s never ready for any negative feedback and expects appreciation for every single thing she does. She’s a little complex personality to be a child which is something that she has borrowed from some adult around. The teacher quoted an incident where A created much-a-do about her best friend S being friends with some other girl as well in the class. Also there was a situation and time when A told her class teacher of grade 5 on her face that she hated her and did not want to be in her class. “My mother shall be writing a mail to you people and then you will have to change my section”, the teacher quoted her saying. But then after a few months she had another extreme affection for the very same teacher, bringing flowers and chocolates for her and making ‘love you ma’am’ cards every now and then.

Though A tries to portray herself as a very bold and strong person, I found her to be an extremely emotional and sensitive person who bursts out into tears on just anything. I have across many incidents found her bursting out like any small child. Be it her favourite teacher leaving the school or she getting a small scratch on her arm by a fellow student’s pen, A cries with all tears in her eyes and yelling and howling. She might keep sobbing for hours. I have strongly felt that she has some deep rooted sorrows or grievances which she does not share with anybody and looks for petty opportunities to burst all out. There are days when she is very dormant and does not act or react much.

AA

JOURNEY AS AN OBSERVER

 

To be frank, observing a person meant judging that person, according to me. In fact, the sole purpose of observing used to be primarily to judge the person in some or the other way. My perception and the way I observed didn’t change till the time the course proceeded. I still remember when initially I was asked questions on what did I observe about any particular thing and I had all kinds of answers expressing my personal views and judgements on that. It was the same with the rest of my batch-mates as well. Then we had a few classes on ‘Observing’. In one of such classes, we were supposed to just go anywhere around the school and observe any one scene for a while. We went out in pairs. One of the two was supposed to write the observations in her own way, but the second was especially instructed to just write the exact narration of what we get to see and hear in that scene, without any personal views or interpretations to the same. When we discussed our observations of the very same thing after the exercise, the difference was quite evident and shocking. A big lesson was learnt. Also, since day 1 of the course, I had been hearing of the importance of being non-judgemental towards everyone around and had also started to practice the same.

Since then ‘Observing’ has had a different meaning and definition to me. It started with being absolutely non-judgemental towards my mates in this journey, thus creating a safe and secure community for all. I tried extending it a bit to my personal relations as well. I realised the importance of observing the most while in my practice classes. Observing played the pivotal role. From keenly observing the teachers, to the classroom practices, to observing the students of that age group, to very importantly observing their work. It was just the beginning of a new learning process, ‘Teaching’.

Any Learning begins with Observing. It’s the first step to begin with any new thing and that is how the learning and thereby the growth process, continues. I have grown as an Observer and therefore as a learner. My utmost focus while observing any child is ‘not to judge that child’. Every child is different and unique. A child might be struggling at one thing but might be just brilliant with something else. The core idea of me observing any student is always to be able to make out the misconceptions that the student has and know his areas of struggles. This is not just restricted to the academics. A keen observation brings out the challenges and difficulties of that child in his day to day life, which might thereby be affecting not just his academics and co-curricular, but his overall personality and being. The aim is to be able to help the student in a better way, by empathising with the child, making the lesson plans and teaching in accordance. It also gets equally important to go through students’ work after a class to get to know their understanding. I have almost every time felt the need of differential teaching, on observing students work after any class. That helps a great deal in taking up the next class with that set of students. It also throws a light on areas of improvement and scope of alteration in my lesson planning, the way of probing the students, teaching the whole group and the small groups differently. I so believe that I cannot be a good teacher without being a good human who empathises with his students and does every bit for their welfare.

I’m here to be a Teacher, which requires me to be a Learner first and for all that, being a keen and alert Observer is just the first step.

  SDMC STUDENT PROFILE

 

      I got the opportunity to visit R’s house in Begumpur village.

R is studying in grade 2, is around 7 years of age and has an elder sister P who walks a long way from her school to pick R and then go home with her. P is just 11 years of age but behaves as a responsible guardian to her younger sibling. P helps her sister and parents with some English as well.

Their family consists of them and their parents. They put up in a fairly small room which is a rented accommodation since more than 8 years now, for which they pay around Rs 2000/- . They hail from some village in UP and have migrated to Delhi to earn a better living.

R’s father works as driver in a private company in Delhi and drops both his daughters to school in the morning. He’s able get back home by late evening. Once home R’s father devotes all his time with his kids and wife, playing games with his daughters and helping his daughters in their studies. It’s a routine for him to come home and be ‘ghoda’ on the floor for her daughters.

R’s mother is a very simple and sweet lady who is completely devoted towards her family. She generally spends most of her time at home taking care of the kids and the households, except for going and working in one ‘kothi’ . She’s back before her kids are back from school and devotes the rest of her time with them and is not interested in chit-chating with the ladies around. R’s mother tries to help her daughters in their studies to her possible extent in Hindi. She has just studied till 8-9 th standard but is very enthusiastic to learn English. She asks her daughters to learn one new word in English daily.

We found that R had a set of badminton and her mother allowed both the sisters to pay out for a fixed time only and not get into any nuisance around. Their room had two colour boxes probably for both the girls. The girls were not allowed to watch television all the time and there was lot of discipline in relation to studies.

R is very fond of her both class teachers and aspires to be a teacher like the                               

Observer

 

 

 

 

 

CLASSROOM CULTURE

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It has been a beautiful experience so far observing class 5. I still remember the first time I entered this classroom, I got so overwhelmed. I was very sceptical about how would my first day with the students of this class be, how would they behave, what kind of response would I get from them and things of the sort. But I just loved to see the way they were and the way the classroom atmosphere was. I had not expected all of that. It was all so new to me. 

I had heard of Heritage’s open atmosphere in the classroom, more since being a part of the course now, but had never experienced any such thing earlier. My experience of this classroom has been so different since the very first moment. The first thing that struck me about this class was the freedom the students had to express themselves, be themselves. Their ease and comfort just amazed me.

The class duties are distributed and assigned to various students, which the teacher keeps shuffling every fortnight. This ensures active participation of every child in the class duties, thereby making them more responsible as a class member and also bringing in the sense of belonging in their class. The teacher has assigned the students with most of the class responsibilities, like there’s a blackboard-incharge,2 cupboard in-charge, a student to maintain the absentee slips,2 students for any distribution and collection required, etc. .The students are seen to be very enthusiastically performing their duties, with all excitement, devotion and seriousness.

The Inner Climate of the classroom is quite free, with lot of individual space for each student, without any kind of fear of any teacher. No child is ever scolded or punished by any teacher in the class. The students are definitely expected to be attentive in the classroom, but if there’s a student who is not attentive or does not have an answer to the question that has been put up, he’s not being forced to do so. The students are seen not paying attention and are also not able to answer the teacher’s question, then he’s asked to carefully listen to the other students answering and then put the same thing in his words. The teacher does give the required instructions, but never for any class participation. All the efforts are made to make each and every child comfortable in the class. No usage of strong or negative words is seen. The students are generally asked to take their own decisions in relation to many small things. If the content written on the board is not clearly visible to any student, he’s both free and also comfortable to be seated down on the ground for that while. He’s not required to ask the teacher for any special permission to be doing so. They very freely approach the teacher if any stuff is required from the classroom resources, or they can even go themselves to have anything from the resource cupboard. The students are always appreciated for every small thing that they do and every right answer they give. They are motivated to be authentic and create a safe zone, to help others to open up. The teacher embodies what she wants or expects her kids in the classroom to be. The students are have all the freedom to have water from their water bottles at any part of the day, without even seeking the teacher’s permission for the same. They are definitely required to put their water bottles back on the top of the cubby-hood. The teacher also permits the students to very frequently be visiting washrooms even. They are generally not denied permission for the same, until n unless the teacher senses any nuisance out of it.

The teaching in the class does not take place in the old conventional-bookish-manner. Every concept in the class is introduced with the help of experimenting or correlating things, which makes the understanding and learning easier for the students. Open-ended questions are thrown to them to help them dig deeper into their own reasoning, like what do you think, don’t you think so, what did you observe, why do you think so. They are not made to recall back any bookish stuffs and answer. Even a concept of measurements in Maths class is also explained by bringing in the day-to day experiences of the students themselves and not anything that they would find alien to correlate to. Every time a lesson is taken, the teacher writes on the learning target to be achieved during that learning activity by the class. This learning target is unpacked by the students, by bringing out the key words and framing the target in their own words. There’s also generally a Culture target as well around any activity or learning going on in the classroom, which the students need to adhere to. The students are not supposed to be writing anything while any explanation is going on. They are though asked to reframe what they have understood in their own words. They are also free to choose to write whether in statement form or bullet points. The concern is to make the concept well understood to them. The teacher does not always make concluding statements, to allow the kids to explore and experiment more by themselves.

There’s a set list of protocols and norms to be followed in the classroom, which are repeated every now and then by all the teachers .Before starting any activity or lesson the required set of protocols for that activity is emphasized by the teacher, e.g. every activity has a different voice level required to be maintained, whether they are supposed to pop-up with answers or raise their hands or wait for their turn, etc. Lot of importance is given to adhering to the protocols and maintaining them throughout the activity.

When a teacher generally enters the classroom to take a class, a couple of minutes are devoted on settling the class down and getting them ready for the next class or activity. In this time the students are first of all asked to get rid of anything on their table and be seated quietly in their respective places. The voice is asked to be zero. There’s many-a-time a silence time being practiced by the teacher to settle them down. They are asked to close their eyes and sit without any movement, with their hands and legs straight. A lot of emphasis is given on the straight body posture during this activity. They are made to deep breathe and relax themselves, there by retaining what they have learnt already and gathering their energies for the next class. Once the teacher finds the class settled enough, she continues with the activity or task.

Difficult Situation: In the very first week of my classroom observation itself, there was a situation when the expedition class had just got over and the Hindi teacher had entered the classroom to take up Hindi. In between this transition, there entered a honey bee in the classroom and there was utter chaos all over. All the students were screaming at the top of their voices and running all around the classroom. The Hindi teacher Rekha ma’am entered the class with all poise. She was wearing a salwar-kameez. She very calmly just took away her stole in both her hands ,rolled it over her hands and caught hold of the honey bee ,which was then seated on the back of a student’s chair. She then walked out of the classroom holding the bee firmly in her wrapped hands, threw it off outside the class and got back with all ease and calmness, as if nothing had happened. The students looked amazed. Their problem was resolved in not even a second’s time, before even them realizing. They sat down very quietly without feeling the need to say much about what had happened. They had learned that in such a situation panicking was not the solution. One needs to be alert and have the presence of mind to be dealing with it. By shouting over a problem we just make it seem bigger, but if try to put all our efforts in resolving the problem, life becomes much easier. The students were very much ready to attend their Hindi class and not discuss at all about the honey bee episode. They had had there learning for the day.

 

MATHS LESSON PLAN

 

Lesson name/ number: Comparison of Fractions- 1): One piece more than whole                                                                                                                  

Subject area/s: Mathematics                                                        

Learning Targets: I can compare Fractions using different strategies.

 

Culture Targets: I can actively participate in the activity given to me.

 

T: (7/6, 5/4) which is the bigger fraction?

EA: 5/4

T: Why do you say so?

EA: Both are 1 piece more than whole.1/4 is bigger than 1/6.  Therefore, 5/4 will be bigger, because a bigger piece is attached to 1 whole, where as in 7/6 a comparatively smaller piece is attached to the whole.

(The students can be asked to come up on the board and stick the fraction pieces to clarify their doubts)

 

T: (9/8, 13/12) which is the bigger fraction?

EA:  9/8

T: What makes you say so?

EA: Both are 1 piece more than whole.1/8 is bigger than 1/12. Therefore, 9/8 will be bigger, because a bigger piece is attached to 1 whole, where as in 13/12 a comparatively smaller piece is attached to the whole.

 

  • Both fractions are 1 piece more than whole.

  • Only even denominators to be used to begin with.

One fraction kit to stick pieces on the board

T: (18/16, 14/12) which out of these 2 is the bigger fraction?

EA: 14/12

T: Ok. What makes you believe that?

EA: Both the fractions are 2 pieces more than the whole and we know that 1/12 is bigger than 1/16. Now, as 14/12 has 2 bigger pieces more than the whole, it will be bigger as compared to 18/16, which has comparatively smaller pieces more than the whol                                                                

T: (5/8, 4/6) which out of the 2 fractions do you think is bigger?

EA: 4/6

T: Why do you think so?

EA: Both are 1 piece more than half.1/6 is bigger than 1/8. Therefore, 4/6 will be bigger, because a bigger piece is there in addition to the half, whereas in 5/8 a comparatively smaller piece is there in addition to the half.

(Here also, the students can be asked to stick fraction pieces on the board to clarify their doubts).

 

T: (7/12, 13/24) which is bigger?

EA: 7/12

T: What makes you think so?

EA: 7/12 is bigger than 13/24. Same reasoning is extended.

 

T: (10/16, 8/12) which fraction do you think is bigger?

EA: 8/12

T: why?

EA: Both the fractions are 2 pieces more than half. We know that 1/12 is bigger than 1/16. Therefore, as 8/12 has 2 bigger pieces more than half, it will be bigger, as compared to 10/16 which has comparatively2 smaller pieces more than half.

 

  • Both fractions are 1 piece more than whole.

  • Only even denominators to be used to begin with.

One fraction kit to stick pieces on the board

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SKILLS

 REFLECTION

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Every child is not just different but ‘Unique’ is his own sense. I’ve found a few students almost always struggling in most of the subject areas. These are also the ones who never come up with any query or confusion on their own. On the other hand, there are also a few who are always ready with right answers with their multiple strategies. These kids generally know well to articulate their thinking even. My pivotal job and also my biggest challenge would be to help both these categories of students to be pushing their limits and have a better learning every time. Giving equal attention, love and care to every student of my class is my mantra, so that no student is left behind and there’s always a boost in the confidence and morale of each and every student. Catering to individual and specific needs of each student is very important for the child to develop in all spheres.

Resume

SAUMYA MISHRA             email id-saumya.mishra@iamateacher.in         Phone- 08527897718

 

                                                                                              

Professional Vision

 

Working in the field of children’s education with the objective of adding value to their life, nurturing talents and preparing them to take challenges to help succeed in different walks of life

 

Area of Interest:-

Personnel management, Relationship Management, Training, Academics

 

Experience Summary:-

Overall experience of more than 3 Years in Banking, training and administration

 

Work Experiences

 

1] Designation: Senior Training Manager                                                                              Oct’12-Mar’14

     Organization: English Academia, Lucknow                                              

     

     Work Profile:

Took care of the overall management of the institute.

Taught English grammar, voice & accent, soft skills, GD, etc.

Trained the junior staff as per the need and guiding them work towards the company goals.

 

2] Designation: Trainer                                                                                                              Mar’09-Mar’10                                      

                                                                                  

    Organization:  Global Centre for Languages, Lucknow

 

    Work profile:

Facilitated training for batches of personality development, grooming and enhancing               communication skills of trainees with special focus on English speaking.Provided training in presentation skills, fluency with use of correct vocabulary and grammar.

Enhancing linguistic abilities and infusing confidence in trainees.

Motivating trainees to interact and socialize.

 

 

3] Designation: Junior Officer                                                                                                    Sept’05-May’06

 

    Organization:  HDFC Bank Ltd, Lucknow

 

    Work profile:

Managing overall debt services of customers and optimizing recovery of debts for the  organization

     Handling Customer queries and providing them resolution in coordination with internal departments       of bank i.e. Sales, Credit and collections.

     Data mining and maintenance.

 

Educational Qualification:

 

 PG Diploma in Learning and Teaching from I Am A Teacher (IAAT), Gurgaon, a one year innovative, practice-based teacher-education program. Have been a resident teacher with grade 5 since July, 16. Have actively observed, participated in planning, documenting, assessing, done co-teaching and also responsible independent teaching.

Bachelor of Commerce from DAV College, Kanpur, 2005.                    

Completed class 12th with 80% from St. Mary's College, Lucknow in the year 2002.

Completed class 10th with 70% from St. Mary's College, Lucknow in the year 2000.

 

Interests:

    

Active  member of LTS (Leadership Training Service) for 4 years (1998-2002) under the Calcutta-Nainital Head Group. Held and attended various meetings and seminars regarding the same.

Journey as a teacher