Day 106: It’s a popular symbol of feminism

I’ve been nose deep in literature to prepare for the upcoming end semester exam. I start off with the subject that brought out the true expertise of the teachers in the department – Sociological foundations of Education. After the high-charged discussions on social justice and socially relevant issues of education over the summer, at Bhor, I was excited when I found out that I had this subject this semester.

And boy! What a disappointment it has been!

A few things I remember being said in class, by the respected sharer of information.

  • I wouldn’t allow my son to find himself a girl friend. It’s against my culture and culture is our God.
  • All these live-in relationships and all must make your parents so sad and disappointed in you.
  • The sole aim or purpose of a family is to give birth to young children.
  • Social stratification is natural and it’s these strata that bring a sense of calm in the society. If we were all in one big societal class, we’d kill each other and die.
  • I don’t know why the syllabus has Economic studies as a part of Sociology. Let’s skip that part.
  • All women in certain families in North India have to wear a ghunghat. They are not allowed to enter the living spaces with men without wearing the ghunghat down to their chests. It’s a popular symbol of feminism.

And a bonus one.

  • Myanmar is the capital of Burma.

I feel cheated at the end of this semester. A Master’s program should not be spending 60 hrs dishing out definitions and meaning of ideas like culture, social classes and Inequality. These should be pre-reading for the students to come prepared to class with. And the discussion should be around matters of social relevance. Nobody will ask you for the definition of gender bias in real-life. It will stare you down your face when a father chooses to pick his teenage girl out of school. And you will be unprepared to handle that situation.

All this studying and you seem to be in pain. Do you need a hug?” Scotch 

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Day 8: Of disappointments galore

The day, Monday, turned out to be a major overflow of disappointments.

Aussies

We have a team of teacher trainees from two universities in Australia visiting us for three weeks, and pairing up with our teachers for team teaching at their internship schools. A welcome session was arranged and it kicked off the day full of disappointing acts.

With some foresight, the head of the department had booked rooms for this event four months ago. Little did he know that the new batch of students would total 8. Even less likely in his mind was an MA admission of 14 students. This left the department short of about 45 seats at the reserved venue. And how did the gentleman solve this dilemma?

With utter callousness and randomness. He randomly let the first 25 students in each of the B. Ed classes in and asked the teachers to pick 5 MA students randomly out of the 14. That shows the worth that he holds to both the session and the students.

What caught my nerve more was the complete lack of voice amongst the other teachers. Agreed that it is a pitiful situation to have such a leader. But I believe it’s more pitiful to sit tight and do nothing.

For all the ill will that the random selection process churned in my head, the welcome session turned out to be a bummer. It seemed like a dinner date between the Aussies and the leadership team, where a few 50 third-wheels were invited in to watch how the dinner unfolded.

Awkward!

Lunch with the juniors

The day of upsets continued with the lunch session with the juniors. While they all generally showed a keen interest in the field and knew what they wanted at the end of the degree, it seemed to prick none of them that they were sitting along with the B. ED class, a bunch that is historically known to be at a much lower learning acumen.

Again the pitiful state where nobody likes status quo, but nobody wants to question it either.

Worse still, they have been split up in all the upcoming events because one loud mouthed MA would rather mingle with the B. Eds than these folks. And the lot let her bully them into her decision too. She had the nerve to not even show up for our lunch meet.

It’s funny how this bully loner spoke to me extensively about having been a student rep in her previous institution and her being very keen in joining the student council here. How likely is she to lead a team of 20000 students, when she can’t successfully work with 13 others?

Internship presentation

The deal of disheartenment was sealed by my final intern presentation. It was attended by four people, two out of which slept through the whole session and the other two had clearly zoned out. For all the effort that I put in over the summer and into this presentation, the session seemed extremely underwhelming.

Today, I feel extremely dispirited for having picked this college to pursue this course. I wouldn’t blame the year when I joined, with two other disinterested folks, because I look at the current batch and realize I wouldn’t have been pleased there for sure. At least with a class of three, we are still the Masters program, and we can direct the level and flow of our classes. In their batch, I would have had to do most of my studying myself. In which case, why bother joining a full time program to begin with!

I am reminded of the company over the summer, and the quality of conversations we had during casual chats and dinners. There was an abundance of gossip about Bollywood and the insensitivity of men in modern relationships. But there was an equal melee of productive conversation about education, about moving the system forward, about questioning the system that doesn’t work, and about making our voices heard.

Did I do a mistake my not joining TISS? Should I have waited a year and joined TISS, simply for the network and the quality of conversations it would have given me? After all, learning is beyond the four walls of the classroom and the two end pages of a book. Right?

Us dogs have a policy, S. When we see any situation, if we can’t eat it or play with it, we just pee on it and walk away. How about that?” Scotch 

Either that, or you could sleep like a worm. It helps!