Day 7: Boys , girls and trouble.

Partner trouble: We started today with Class teacher time and we had good fun playing ‘Dibi dibi dappe’ from Play for Peace. Motivated by their energy outside the classroom, I took my history class outdoors and asked them to pair up with new partners, and the trouble began. Faces went straight, and some crocodile tears rolled down as I pulled up boys and girls to pair them up. At ten, it seems unthinkable for them to sit or work with someone of the opposite gender. Add to it their individual weirdities and it’s a full blown recipe for disaster.

I thought we handled it reasonably well. It was imperative for us to put our foot down and stand with our original plan. Had we conceded, they’d have a way to trick us out of this situation every time. Slowly they walked over to the new pairs, and did what they were told. By the end of the activity, most of them had opened up to each other and were busy sharing funny stories from each other’s past.

During the reflection session, when I brought up the issue with their initial hesitation, they talked about how they were comfortable with their own pals and the others would tease them for pairing up with someone of the opposite gender. And I hear this same group dynamic would be very different in high school where keeping them apart, at safe distance, would be the challenge. Bring it on.

Unruly 6thers: If I’d thought that I would have a productive session with the 6th graders, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The class teacher had just changed their seats, and they were already on their worst moods. Since I had to have them share books, I moved them around some more and all hell broke loose. Mr. B, in the first desk, started crying, and Ms. Sud sat, arms folded and kept yelling ‘this isn’t fair’. The class of 25 felt like a mob of 100.

After 20 minutes of trying to settle them down, I put my chalk and books down and shared my worries with them. They all agreed that they were extremely distracted and agitated today, and that awareness was refreshing. We spoke about the next steps and when most of them suggested we do activities or games to solve this issue, I broke through the barrier. I made them realize that even if I had planned an activity, they did not give me a chance to talk about it at all. They realized what was wrong.

A number of them walked over outside the class and apologized for their class. It took a lot of courage to apologize for the team’s follies and it was extremely mature of these children to own up for their mistakes. I was definitely proud of them. Tomorrow is going to be fun.

How can you eat so much, aunty? (after I completely skipped the rice and loaded up on the salad. Kids can ve cruel :'[ )

We don’t mean to make your life miserable, aunty. It’s before lunch and we are very hungry.!

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