The Bully and the Nerd

Why does the bullying persist in our educational institutes?

One of the points raised by another blogger sparked a new thought. Just this morning, I was discussing the previous head of our institute and his bad policies and I came to a startling conclusion which came to fruition, when I read the reply to my blog. People in education and power often (not accusing everybody but many people are guilty as charged) use bully’s to control dissenters or people with different or more radical viewpoints in order to keep their policies and power over the place. They call it politics, which is all but a civilized term for it.

The case is similar for gifted students. A gifted student is more likely to be targeted by other students (and sometimes by envious or biased teachers) for abusive behavior because he or she may –

1. Ask many questions.

2. Hold different viewpoints.

3. Has an active imagination.

4. Is socially a bit awkward, poor or a combination of other factors such as different color, nationality, religion etc.

These students gifted as they may be; they are harder to control by a teacher or parents; therefore, to indirectly control them bully’s are encouraged to subdue them, sometimes verbally or physically, sometimes financially (through fines) for minor rule infractions or by enforcing new Draconian rules. It only gets worse in Universities where the stakes are higher.

And then we wonder where has all the imagination, out of the box thinking and curiosity gone ? It is gone, because to survive, get an education and a job, majority of the people fall in line and switch off their brains; the unlucky few who don’t, leave (voluntarily for better schools on scholarships), are expelled, jailed, turn to drugs, or kill themselves.

Look around you; similar stories are being played out in our immediate environment; the danger signs are all there. Cases like Amanda Todd were, are and will continue to be ignored till the point that the victims see no alternative other than drugs, alcohol or suicide.

Everyone will spare a moment for her death; they will all give their condolences. None will ever share her pain, except her fellow victims. Open to interpretation!

I was once accused of reading too much! True fact; and I was penalized for it.

 

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Bad Teaching vs Good Teaching

A bad teacher can willfully or even unconsciously damage a child’s growth, interest in the studies and the grasp of one or more subject. A boring teacher can destroy a child’s curiosity in a particular subject or curiosity in general. A biased teacher can turn a child perspective upside down and skew his/ her morals. In short, a teacher is a guide to the universe and a bad guide spells trouble.

A personality clash between the student and the teacher is also a critical factor in successful bonding between a child and a teacher just like its is with a parent. While parents are genetically or emotionally (adopted child) invested in a child’s ability to learn and thrive, a teacher has no other incentive than a paying job and personal ethics.

The question of the hour is; Are there enough good teachers for all our children ? Teacher who can bond with our children and teach them the knowledge that they seek. The answer, sadly to that question is no.

Teachers, the good ones especially, are precious commodity, just like every good thing in the world. They are tenured and therefore tethered, to their elite schools early in their career, which pay higher salaries, provide better benefits while state schools are advised to cut back and increase efficiencies; threats and cutbacks often result in increased workloads, higher tempers and harried staff; resulting invariably in bad teaching and further degrading the quality of education in public schools.

Most of the research indicates that the richest nations spend the highest on their education systems. Then, why are the education budget allowed to be cut instead of being increased constantly ? The inequality of the distribution of wealth and natural resourceful starts right at birth and then continues in our schools and then colleges.

Why is it allowed ? Is a rich man’s vote worth more than a common man’s ? Open to interpretation!

A Hunter’s Awakening.

She was a simple child. She followed simple rules for she had a simple heart and led a simple life. A person of science and logic, she was raised in a normal household and went to a relatively normal school. Something on the inside, was different. She had always found it harder to bear injustice. Even as a child she found the ideals of truth, honor and pure souls fascinating. However, when she grew up, she was thrust into a world full of predators, flatterers, oath breakers and paranoia.

Heart-break taught her to distrust men.

Betrayal taught her to distrust friends.

Torture taught her to distrust authority.

Wars in the name of religion, countries and race taught her to distrust faith, politicians and racists.

Greed taught her to distrust money.

Then she found herself. She changed in the most fundamental people can change when the world finally starts making sense to them. Her path became lit with reason and logic, a sense of calmness settled in her heart and her mind became sure.

Humanity left to itself tends to destroy itself. All the great civilizations perish, all new knowledge is lost to human greed and lust of wars. So, it is left to those who can see even without the eyes where the world is headed to, to check it from time to time and tend to its gaping wounds so the world can live.

A Hunter was born. A predator to most of the excesses of the world and one who protects the next generation, provides guidance to lost souls and those who seek the truth among the lies.

A worthy life is a life lived in teaching our kids to have the courage to live in the dangerous new world, and thrive.

Thoughts for today!

Mayhem in the globe

In order for society to grow forward, the lowest level of the population must be able to afford all the basic rights without any hassle. Only then, a society should be able to call itself developed. There should be dignity in the honest work and helping a fellow human being should be an act of simple kindness and not tainted by  any motivation of self-satisfaction or divine self-praise. We know all this; yet we need the latter in order to motivate us to help others in need.

In a world of rising xenophobia, religion-phobia, sexuality-phobia and many other phobias have we left humanity behind. Looking at the dominant news in both television and the print media certainly shakes one up every single morning.
Thoughts for today!

Can education be a flexible career choice?

People often wonder whether teachers get paid enough. Is teaching a good and flexible career choice or is it a thankless job, babysitting kids who hate being cooped up. Many teachers complain that they don’t get enough benefits (Chicago Teachers strike in USA certainly brought that question to mind).

The need of the hour is to make education not only more interactive but more flexible where both the child’s and the teacher’s needs are adequately met; otherwise, it would breed resentment, in whoever feels sidelined. Not only a teacher who feels taken advantage of, can willfully damage a child’s ability to learn; a frustrated teacher may not even realize that he/she is doing it unconsciously. Tenure, added benefits and extra incentive for teachers to make knowledge more fun/ interesting may go a long way in fixing the problem.

There, however may exist another better alternative? What if you have to teach only a few hours a day? I have tried it for few sessions, where I was paid by the hour and teaching a small group of children (Keep in mind that this was a very small group of children; 3-5 at a time). The kids were more attentive and less prone to mischief. They scored higher on exams, when they were allowed to eat and drink, freely during the class and they asked more questions (which I always encouraged). The results were astonishing to the rest of the teachers who were more prone to complaining about misbehaving students (the students reported that their classroom were bland and their lesson plans uninteresting).

I believe (after years of observations) that different kids learn differently. Some have photographic memory(they recall pictures easily and faster than anybody); hence they are better taught with visual media. Some learn by making mistakes and a teacher correcting them helps them realize where the improvements needs to be made (those who were working with tools). Some students learn by touch, taste and smell (young kids prefer this) and some learn from their friends (copying their behavior and gauging other people’s reactions). There are also some, who learn by arguments (aggressive debates and confrontation where kids press their boundaries). Then again these are my personal observations.

What I mean to imply, is that rote memorization as is many teachers won’t to do, is rather a odorless, tasteless way to  teach kids of many different types, same things. Is it a wonder that so many of them are uninterested in class. For those who sing the praises of homeschooling, I prefer kids to be taught by masters in an easy environment (Home/ School). I can just get together a small group in the neighborhood and hire good teachers on an hourly basis (e.g. College undergraduates make excellent tutors). Open to interpretation.

I dreamed of fairies last night: Turning 30 today

I dreamed yesterday night, or maybe it was today’s morning. I turn 30 today; and I dreamed of hope and colors, stained glass windows and beating hearts.

Today, I completed 30 years in wilderness. I look back on life and think of a carefree childhood, brattish teenage years and wild twenties; wandering feet, looking for broken hearts and mending past regrets. Today, I feel hope and love and enthusiasm. In the past years, I went through a lot of confusion, self doubt and broken threads of thoughts. The last year showed me how to face life and feel courage, when you have none left. It also showed me a life lead in purity, when I finally was able to banish dark thoughts and embrace god’s grace.

The pieces of my heart, The Hunter (The Wanderer), The Watcher (The thoughtful observer), The Maverick (The logical scientist) and The Nurturer (The Empath who feels the world and its joy and pain) finally came together and made me a whole person last year. In this new year of life, I hope to get that knowledge out to the world and try to help others, who wander.

All those who wander are not lost!

In the end we all discover ourselves and our purpose in life.

When other people dictate how you live your life

Guess what is a person who lives a life dictated by others (who considered themselves born superiors) used to be called in the old times. I see you have arrived at the word. Now take a look at your world around. Insurance agents are dictating how your home is maintained, the police dictates where you can park your car, whether the dog can take a walk on the beach, even your boss can decide whether or not you are allowed to smoke and fire you if you refuse to give up the habit. The rapid coverage of media ensures that any accident goes viral as soon as possible.

Lets take a breath and think for a minute. Are you truly living a free life? Some people might argue that the banned things are banned for a reason and we should respect the law etc. I am not arguing in the favor of breaking the laws, neither am I advocating a dangerous lifestyle. What I am arguing is, for the right to make the decisions, that I find favorable. Do I get to make them?

Let’s see. If I start to read a website, I get targeted ads trying to sell me products that their advertisers think, I may like (What I would like, is for them to leave me alone and stop bombarding my computer with dubious quality products). If I open up TV, I get to watch 10 minutes of advertisements for every half an hour show (which cannot be skipped even if you record the show – new rule). Funny right.

Then the biggest pet peeve of all. The advertising people make most of the ads so obviously biased and manipulative, that a preteen can see that they are being emotionally manipulated. Fashion world touting its anorexic airbrushed models has led us to a world, where every second person is starving/ dieting himself /herself to fit into that dream dress/ get into that college jeans. The big brands have led us to believe that buying over the top priced stuff will make you happy, more confident. Banks have led you to believe that getting into debt is sure way to your own apartment, car and 25 inch plasma screen. Movies and print media has led you to believe that getting a certain deodorant will get you women. REALLY? A new make of a car is supposed to get women! You get the drift.

So, the big question is. Are you living your life on your terms? Are you really being dictated to in every aspect of your life by big bosses sitting in high rises and getting a laugh at your ignorance.

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