Mrs. Hemavathi ( the principal of Savarirayulu govt. girls high school) had visited us a few weeks back and spent a day at STEMland talking to children and seeing their work. Hemavathi is the general secretary of the Pondicherry Science Forum and a very respected teacher trainer in the government. She was thrilled with the motivation and self-direction of the children who she saw were able to work independently and effectively. In her visitor note she wrote that STEM land gives her hope.
She put this in action and this week she organized all her 20 odd teachers to come during the holiday to STEM Land for training. We also prepared for a 4 hrs module on teacher training including use of stewardship tools that look choice of working from possibility and fears and doing things differently. We then jumped into getting teachers who had been fearful of computers for 30-40 yrs to program with scratch. The teachers were very engaged and delayed their lunch by an hour and a half to work.
They also interacted with children and their reflections at the end of the day gave us hope of changes in attitudes both towards technology and how they work with children. We felt that this school is the first government school to whom we are going to partner with for training and continued work with the children.
Here is what we personally felt about the workshop with the teachers,
- A Computer teacher requested her school teachers not to be strict to children and instruct each and every movement of the child. Instead she wants teachers to show love and care so that the children don’t move into fears. She added that children will have the courage to ask doubts if that happen.
- I had an assumption that the Govt school teachers won’t be open to learning. But Kabilan (8th Grader) taught scratch to the computer teachers and they were very open to learning no matter who was teaching them.
- Freedom is an universal value.
From people sharing:
- At lunch, I told the teachers that they can sit anywhere and have their food. A teacher replied saying that ‘you are giving so much freedom to your children and we know that we are allowed to sit anywhere we want’. It struck me that not many schools give freedom to children to make their choices.
- A teacher at my table said that creating projects in the computer is real learning and very different from other schools where they simply give internal marks without doing anything.
- A teacher said that he stood for all the values – I had the same thought one day, for me to happy I have to be in all the universal values. Was interesting to hear someone had the same thought as me.
- Another teacher shared about how she was always for others and this was the first time she had time to think about herself and her values/stand.
- I was able to look at the wisdom profile of the teachers. Before, I looked at their social profile and made assumptions. I was able to break it.
- I learnt to look at situations from different perspectives/lenses.
- Whatever I do, I have to love it and do (work). This requires sincerity, responsibility and progress. All those will come if I love what I do. This is what I learned from the teacher’s insight.
- The other insight was that if I have a problem in my project, I have to see that with different perception or from all points of view and sort out the problem.
- If students didn’t do their work, I have to connect their stand with what they do and make them to work from their stand instead of their fears. It doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be firm (on my objectives) on what I want to see in a larger picture.
What i was inspired with:
- Elder gentleman, who stood for all values but had to enter with his own door into this whole set of universal values.
- ‘I need to express myself as i and not as we all the time, i don’t have to talk for the sake of others’
- High value for children coming from not that high class background.
My insights are,
- Age doesn’t matter. All I need is Enthusiasm and courage to accept and create what I want to see in the society.
- Sincerity and being rigorous are what I learned from Hemavathi.
- It gave a new lens to look at what is meant by a TEACHER.