Why do Teachers Come to School Everyday?

There are many reasons why we go to school.One student who passed out of school asked me ,”Doesn’t a teacher’s job get monotonous?”.This is not the first time this question has been asked.I answered,”The subject might be the same,but every year we deal with a different set of students.This makes the job lively and interesting!” – this was the same response I have been giving ex- students I meet,on the roads,at the super market,in my neighborhood.

This set me thinking – why do we come to school everyday?I mean,children have to come to school – but what are the reasons why we come to school?

Motivation : The job calls for self -motivation – dollops of it.If you cannot motivate your self,you are less likely to motivate others.
Energy : Don’t you feel a rush of energy when you are with children,full of enthusiasm?I do get this adrenaline rush when children talk to me about their ideas and projects.Hang on! the opposite is also true – when children are noisy and distracted,you feel all drained out too.
Creativity : Teachers double up as actors,story tellers,knowledge experts among other roles.If there’s a task / topic that sounds difficult,you try to make that simple.You ARE naturally creative.
The most important reason is of course,what we all believe in – that we are making a difference to that one child who looks at you with reverence,that child who considers you a role model,to that child who has gained confidence to make the world a better place – because of what you said,what you believed. – journal jotting

 

An educator’s influence never wears out – education shapes the transformation of society.When you read this post,you might consider this idealistic – yet,you need these ideals to keep you going and experience the world of the young all your life! – journal jotting

Encouraging Children to Play with Natural Materials

We have never lost our innate ability to connect to Nature and natural materials.This ability is instinctive but is masked by the veil of urban clutter and we begin to think that all that is packaged well is what is good for us.When we were kids,we used to play outdoors all vacation,Playing with soil – making temples with steps using sand,making small kitchen vessels “chhoppu” as we called it were all part of the creative-play – fun – outdoors.
Recently I read this article : http://www.culturalindia.net/indian-crafts/clay-toys.html and felt that we should introduce this to children now. Rather than play-doh, we can use clay that is safe and helps children connect to nature.

Having children play in sand, safe rivers or streams, in the rain open up their senses to nature and the wonders of nature.

Children can be encouraged to use pebbles, twigs, soil to play.

Using natural materials and playing outdoors definitely contribute to a child’s physical and emotional well being.-journal jotting

There’s a separate post on why spend time outdoors, as adults and as children.

Does it make Sense to work in Teams?

Why Team Work?Why Collaboration?

Earlier knowledge was viewed as a commodity that should /need not be shared. Many erudite people felt that knowledge empowered them and so they had to hold on to what they know and build on that knowledge. With the advent of technology tools, the scene now  has undergone a rapid and massive transformation.
Search engines are available and no ‘one’ person can stake claim to all the knowledge that is available in the virtual world.

This has changed the way we work and think. Collaboration, not competition is the way forward.
When we work with children, it is imperative that we insist on team work and sharing of skills.

A project that is done by a team of students is more effective than an individual project. Adults too must encourage their children to share, learn and create something new.

Many parents want children to be competitive – yes, but against whom? Competition should only mean that you are competing with your ‘self’ – are you a better learner than you were yesterday?

In Nature, birds and bees, plants and trees work in unison that creates a sense of balance and helps every creation to fulfill their task effectively. There is still a lot to discover /unravel in Nature and understand how Nature works.Consider the migration of birds like the geese.It is believed that as individual birds, it is extremely difficult for these birds to migrate. As a flock, all birds are able to fly to the destination. The V – formation helps minimize the wind resistance. Every bird in the flock can lead the group.
Scientists have observed that when geese fly in this formation, each bird flapping its wings creates an uplift for the bird that follows. Together the whole flock can fly much farther than if they fly alone.This  is  synergy!!

There are many articles on teamwork in Nature. There are many management gurus taking lessons from Nature and incorporating these in leadership sessions.
See this : https://themysterypuzzle.com.au/2016/01/27/teamwork-taking-inspiration-from-the-animal-kingdom/

What you invest in today, will be your achievement tomorrow. What you learn as a team today, will help the society thrive tomorrow. – journal jotting

Indian School and American School – A Parent’s Perspective

Baba black sheep, have you any books? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!
Burden on Back and Stress on Mind

Three bags full is the minimum number of bags that children nowadays go with – one for school, one for activities and one for tuition and special classes. As I thought of the need for so many books for a single day, I felt that the emphasis for the students is more on bookish learning rather than practical learning.

Reading and writing are undoubtedly important and key especially when children are younger. But I did change my perspective when I visited schools in the US. Schooling for young children is an experience to nurture young minds.

Children did not tug heavy bags to school. Rather, the focus was on learning things in a fun and practical way. There were experiments conducted in the classroom, outside time spent exploring the different things related to nature, work groups where interaction and socialization is used to measure behavioral aspects.

For me, who had been used to text books, chapter, reading and writing, this was a sensible nut-and-bolt approach to teach children the concepts rather than just memorizing it for the sake of grades.

Source :www.dnaindia.com

This feeling intensified as I talked to a 10-year-old who rattled away on the subject of pre-historic period, the civil war, the impact of diseases on earth, the global warming effect etc. She mentioned she liked the “The Martian” book and watched the movie too. I could not remember when I even started talking on these topics.

Similarly, I noticed how a preschooler is taught to focus his/her thoughts on different subjects – language, behavior, music, academic curriculum, sports, dance, creativity. The child is challenged to the next higher level depending on the individual stream or subject that he/she excels in and this helps build the foundation for a strong mind. Building a context and connecting things becomes more important that learning 1000 words and writing 100 words at that age.

An example I found is in a pre-school class where teachers focused on a particular theme for the week – there were pre-decided letter of the week, shape of the week, color of the week, number of the week and word of the week. A ‘show and share’ is conducted every week where children could bring a toy of their own and start ‘connecting’ it with the week’s letters, numbers, shapes, word and color. Not only does this encourage the children to bring in their favorite toys, but motivates them to talk about it by linking the theme of the week. What a wonderful way to start learning!

As a parent I do worry sometimes, that my kids will not be able to cope up with learning unless they read and write from their kindergarten days. But common sense assures me that the exposure, the practical learning, the hands-on experience will make them a better person to deal with the world, and give them a sense of true learning and knowledge.

While, I do believe the type and nature of educating children has by far changed drastically than what I learnt when I was kid; nevertheless, I do question the stress on the child to be “on top of everything”. Parents need some education first on understanding the child’s interests and then choosing the best for them.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences….

– Arthi S

Founder, Decora India                                                                                           Meet the Writer
              __________________________________________________________________________

Arthi Sridharan is a marketing professional, a freelancing consultant, an entrepreneur, a photography enthusiast and an avid craft hobbyist residing in North Carolina. Having several corporate roles in big companies, her dream to build her own venture started in 2016. 

Currently she is the founder of Decora India – an online store for Indian handcrafted home décor and home accent products. This initiative aims to promote the legacy of Indian arts and crafts at a global level, increase the visibility of artisan made products, revive the traditional Indian art forms and encourage artisans to thrive.
You can view this work at http://www.decoraindia.com.

She is passionate about education and wants to share her views on education and how to better the system.
                __________________________________________________________________

Teachers’ Day in India

Happy Teachers Day!!!

We are fortunate to have a day for educators – September 5.
This day is celebrated in memory of Dr.S.Radhakrishnan ,the second president of India.His students wanted to celebrate his birthday that falls on September 5th.He said , “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5th is observed as TeachersDay
Click on this link for more information : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarvepalli_Radhakrishnan

              Image Source : http://images.catchnews.com/upload/2016/09/05/7c.jpg

Let’s celebrate this unique profession and our selves for having chosen this as a career. Our influence has an intangible impact on young minds and we really do not know how this influences our children.

Let’s choose to smile everyday, and celebrate the positive difference we make in a child’s life. -journal jotting

 

Building a Peaceful Classroom

If we are to create peace in the world, we must begin with the children.” – Mahatma Gandhi

To add, peace begins with us  – the adults who educate children.

A tense beginning at home translates to an irritable day at work – sounds familiar?

Consider this morning scene – you are busy packing lunch for your son, getting breakfast ready for the entire family, preparing coffee and loading clothes into the washing machine. Your son had to submit an assignment that he has completely forgotten – he asks you to help. There’s ten minutes left for you to get ready and leave for work. You get upset – terribly upset. You start yelling at your son for being irresponsible, at your spouse for not checking at what the child is doing and feel irritated.

You go to school  and as you enter the classroom, you notice the class is messy. How do you deal with this?
It is highly likely that you shout at all the students and ask them to clean up immediately. You had planned for a forty minute class but you could actually teach for only 20 minutes.

A peaceful beginning to the morning will help in bringing peace into our classrooms.

It is our choice to react or respond to the unpredictable challenges that we face when dealing with children. – journal jotting

It is probably not possible to be calm at all times. We are however learners for life – so we can look at the following tips to bring in peace in our classrooms:

1. Have fun activities like enacting commonplace scenes and encourage positive responses to resolve conflicts.
2. Make students write few adjectives to the opening line, “I am peaceful because……”
3. Assign the role of peace ambassadors. Begin with four children and then increase the numbers slowly. Make it fun and by the end of a term, let all the students get a chance to become peace ambassadors
4. For older children, discuss world conflicts and allow them to express in a creative, respectful manner. Set some ground rules before discussing this as a project. The project can be : “World Peace : A Review” or “Progress Report on Peace – Countries of the world “
5. Mindfulness, meditation practices, time outdoors can be woven subtly into the daily routine of every child and adult.
6. Ancient scriptures are full of wisdom. Make them relevant to your classroom, by using images  or quotes that are calm and peaceful.

Pat yourself every time you chose to respond rather than react, when you are mindful of your responses and the impact that it can have on young minds.
– journal jotting

Want some more ideas? Look at

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How do we manage Time as Educators??

Efficient use of time fuels enthusiasm.
Time, a man made tool can be productive depending on the individual.Can we maximize time? As educators,there’s a constant demand on us to keep pace with students’ energy. There are days when we are exhausted, physically and mentally to do anything worth while. We feel listless. This is normal and we need to acknowledge this in children too. There are days when children feel listless and tired.Read this post and try telling this to your students too – it will work!
There are weeks when we work six days. This might be taxing on some of us, especially when children are young or you have elderly people at home.One way to keep up your energy levels is to throw in an activity,say on a Wednesday evening.This activity must be something that you really look forward to – meeting an old friend, taking a walk by your self, listening to your favourite numbers – anything that energizes you for the remaining three days at work.

Like children, we need to schedule activities that we enjoy the most in our daily routines – journal jotting

Life need not be mundane.
Five tips that might work to help you become more productive as a person( I try a combination of these or any one activity per day ):1.A simple deep breathing exercise for 5 minutes after you wake up
2.A short nap after you get back home
3.Playing,walking or any mild exercise for 10 minutes
4.Spending few minutes in silence will help declutter the mind
5.Choosing to read positive news, quotes over the regular media fare

Source : https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sk/time.htm

Click on the  link to look at technology that aids in managing time – right from staying focused to managing all passwords in one place  :
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/top-15-time-management-apps-and-tools.html

Get efficient – get time to spend on things you enjoy 🙂

Habits make Teachers’ Life a Little Easy

And,habits instill a sense of discipline and purpose in life. We emphasize on student’s habits and expect every child to develop good habits.
Let’s take a moment to examine our habits. How have our habits evolved? How did we decide which habit worked and which one did not?

When we teach, most of us become the role models for young minds. It is important to develop healthy habits that give us the energy and motivation to facilitate better learning – journal jotting

There are many helpful articles about changing habits to become successful. Success can be viewed with different lenses, depending on individual definitions.
Let’s try answering these questions first:
·         What are the skills you want to learn?
·         What are the habits you want to change?
·         What are the habits you wish you did not have?
For instance, you might want to learn painting. You might want to get up early. You wish you did not lose your temper.
Keep the answers simple and start working on each of this NOW and every day, for a week. You will feel better by the end of the week!
There are some very good resources available on this topic:
And  here are few apps that you can download :
Habitizer(Android)
Habitizer is an application that helps you build new healthy habits and start keeping a healthy lifestyle. It is a convenient tool to help you replace bad habits and risks with fitness, diet and a better quality of life.
HabitBull (Android)
This is a tool to increase productivity by changing habits and is available on Google Play store
Way of Life (iOS)
 Way of Life tracks your habits in every way possible: line, bar, pie, you name it. Tag and share goals, export to a spreadsheet!

Gratitude Journaling

Attitude of Gratitude

We want to do too many things in one day. Our mornings are super busy.

How do we ensure that we are cheerful every day? Is this even possible? We play ,nay juggle with multiple roles – breakfast has to be made, lunch boxes should be packed and we should get ready and reach the school on time. Can we pack in yoga/meditation into our crazy schedules? Especially, when we step out at 7 am?

I am an educator( I prefer the word  educator rather than teacher 🙂 as the definition of teacher has evolved )and I have to catch my bus at 7:00 am. I was trying and was partially successful to pack in fifteen minutes into my morning routine. So was just wondering if there was anything that I could do to make me feel at peace even as I began the day. I stumbled upon gratitude journaling. This seemed simple and I have started observing people who have been kind to me. The days when I am not able to write, I think about the numerous blessings as I travel by the school bus in the morning.

When you do this regularly, you begin to realize how fortunate and privileged you are! And when you enter a classroom, you bring in confidence and create a positive atmosphere.

There are many options to write an online gratitude journal by downloading an app, or maintaining a gratitude journal.
Check out these options :

1.http://www.mercyisnew.com/wp-content/uploads/Grateful-Journal-PDF.pdf
This has a template for you to write – you can print these pages or make your own on recycled paper

2.http://gratitude365app.com/ An online app for iPhone users that is available on App store for nominal charges.

3.http://www.amazon.in/Simple-Abundance-Journal-Gratitude-Breathnach.
There are plenty of gratitude journals available in Amazon

4.http://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/gratitude-journal.pdf
These can be printed on recycled paper
5.You can always use old notebooks and doodle or add pictures to make your journal interesting.


Do not treat writing a gratitude journal as a chore. It should be done in a meditative manner, savoring all the pleasant memories and people. Write about people and experiences, rather than materialistic things – journal jotting


Grateful to all of you for reading this post…try this 🙂

Do take a look at this link that shows you different ways of practicing gratitude :
http://www.chopra.com/articles/25-simple-ways-to-practice-gratitude

Welcome

Welcome !!

 

You might have a lesson plan to share, an aha moment or simply your thoughts on the current education landscape. An online platform to connect is easy and we can spend few minutes writing down our thoughts ,quotes ,muse on education or any ‘feel good’ news that is happening in this exciting and dynamic field.

Nurture young minds right. Build a happy world.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.