Day 15: Disinterested adolescents

I went in to the 7th grade today to fill in for another teacher that was sick. Since I didn’t take any formal subjects with this class, I decided to run a couple of exercises and games from TO with the class. And boy, where they a disappointment! Well, I shouldn’t blame the entire class for a group of 7 or 8 boys that absolutely didn’t want to try any of the activities. They did the activity for half a minute, gave up and stood there, disinterested. They longingly looked at the basketball court, wondering when I’d let them go play.

It was a huge lesson for me on having a backup plan and on being mentally prepared for a disinterested class. For the first, I was covered. But the second hit me hard. I had to take a solid 5 minutes to let it sink in that a majority of the class was not interested in the activity and that I had to try something else. And this was the one that affected me the most and I had a lot to share about being in power versus being powerless and whatnot.

I abandoned that, picked another trust game. And it worked like a charm. It started slow too, in fact, and almost went downhill. So I quickly got in and teamed up with a couple of these notorious boys to show them how it could be fun. Soon enough, they were trying real hard, switching partners to get it right.

Validation came in the form of them talking about it before lunch to the 5th and 6th graders, and them coming over to ask me how to do it. Before I knew it, there were pairs of little kids doing trust see-saws in the ground. Totally worth it!

Aunty, you are under arrest.

Why? What’d I do?

You gave us all a – 1 in the Change maker chart.

Well you did leave the lights and fans on.

You’re still under arrest.

Ooh! Aunty, you’re a good zentangler.

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Day 4: Diary, Nature walk and more

Diary: These kids seem to LOVE their diaries. It totally beats my adult brain but their love to note their timetable down in it. And mark their homework for the day in it, and to doodle all over it. Maybe it’s a little like us adults, holding on to little, trivial things; owning that little, trivial thing purely by writing our name on it. Maybe it’s them owning that little, trivial thing as their own.

Nature walk: I had my first nature walk today, with a part of class 5 and class 7. We walked over to the lake behind the school, single filing behind CoordG. As I brought up the rear of the group, two chatty 7th graders tagged along, telling me stories about a certain Sandy uncle in Bhoomi, who caught a rattle snake in this area once. Interesting personality, and I discover more of these every day.

Jumping down boulders and skipping stones on the lake is still on top of most these kids’ minds right now. Those and watching out for goat poop. So, the cynic in me is still ratifying the effectiveness of these activities in making them more Eco conscious. I’m hoping that since this is set into schedule to be once a week, they are repeatedly exposed to the outdoors and in the process, they’ll learn to attach more to it.

ShyTee: I’ve been noticing ShyTee from day 1 and I am more convinced by the day that the child needs some personal help. He is amongst the shorter ones in the class and yet willingly chose to sit in the last bench. He barely talks to his benchmate, or most of his classmates for that matter. I force him to converse as often as I can, and does so, crisply and with nil eye contact. He answers me to the point, while staring continuously at the ground. He tells me that his mom works too and his dad is away on an extended work engagement to Germany. I’ll be watching him more closely this year.