These are the best and worst times for India’s community of educationists and educators, principals and teachers included. On the positive side, perhaps more than ever before in the history of the Indian subcontinent, public interest in education and its life-sustaining social and private benefits is at its zenith. On the negative, there are the Central and state governments which like bulls in a china shop are running amok in Indian education interfering with private education institutions and piling on ill-conceived populist legislation which dilutes teaching-learning standards and learning outcomes in the country’s 1.26 million government schools, 80,000 private schools, 31,000 colleges and 611 universities. It is no exaggeration to state that at stake is the globally competitive capability and future of the next generation — 550 million children and youth enrolled in India’s crumbling, rapidly obsolescing and dysfunctional institutions of primary, secondary, higher and vocational education.
Three years ago The Hindu honored an educationist and spokesperson of the Jacobite Syrian Church, Fr. Varghese Kallapara, who said, ““Life is a blessing to be experienced with an open heart and a call to devote yourself to your Maker.”
I came across this article while searching for other authors’ comments on Jesus Christ as an educationist. The last line of the article addressed my query: “Jesus Christ’s message of love towards one’s neighbour was the key to world peace.”
I can’t help but acknowledge my ignorance and question what prejudice exists within me that I find myself surprised to see such a quote in an online news forum whose title would lead me to expect something from a different world view.
Penelope Trunk had the audacity to publish How to address the public good through her blog Brazen Careerist. Her candor inspires me to write about what I know. My intention is to influence the public good through dialogue about the beliefs and practices of education.
The Ed biz is messy, for many reasons. Hope, history, tradition, & “best practice” often collide with caution, progressivism, tolerance, & “good intentions.” Self gets in the way of growth; values and visions are compromised one by the other.
I have experienced this within a number of schools and within myself. So I hope that transparently sharing the evolution of my insights will invite meaningful collaboration in order to advocate for students, families, and everyone with a stake in the Ed Biz.
The driving quotes behind my values as a mother and an educator were said by John & Jackie Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country?” & “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.”
Some teachers complain of students’ lack of motivation, their laziness, ambivalence, and attitude toward learning are perceived as a waste of time. My answer to that complaint is:
“If they believe it is a waste of their time, then it is. What are you going to do to find out what would be meaningful to them? How will you appeal to their natural curiosity?”
Those were my words to myself as a mom and they are my words to any frustrated teacher who has tried everything to engage a student.