Confronting our Fears

By Chintan Girish Modi

(Chintan used to facilitate Personal Development sessions with eighth graders at Shishuvan. He offers a peek into his classroom.) 

Over the last few years of my journey in education, I have been surprised by how there is very little effort made to share with children the reasons behind why they are learning something and the connections between what they learn in school and their diverse life experiences outside. This is extremely important but might sound too ambitious a task especially in scenarios where learning is so sharply fragmented that teachers and children are unable to make connections between one subject and another.

Fear of darkness – Yashvi Gada

The Integrated Learning sessions at Shishuvan are valuable attempts to bridge these gaps. My previous blog post titled ‘Speak Up, Be Fearless’ (http://www.shishuvan.com/wp/?p=1038), co-authored with English teacher Sini Nair, was about one such session. The article has received some precious feedback from readers within the school and outside, and I am grateful to each one of you for reading it with interest and thoughtfulness.

Fear of Losing Loved Ones – Jay Gala

Since Tagore’s poem ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear’ is not only included in the English curriculum of Std. VIII but is also part of the school diary, I thought it worthwhile to plan a Personal Development session with eighth graders around the theme of ‘fear’. Our discussions of the poem had addressed fear as an abstraction, a concept, an idea. It seemed important to make this more immediate, to actually identify, discuss and confront our fears, instead of comfortably spouting statements about being fearless.

Fear of anger – Omkar Bhagwat

I had to emphasize early enough that some fears may seem silly to others but for the person who is afraid they are very real. We must respect their feelings so that they feel understood and cared for. Laughing at their fears might make them embarrassed and awkward. They might also feel hurt.

Fear of Facebook – Tanay Patel

As we sat and listened, a wide spectrum of fear-inducing creatures, people and situations went up on the blackboard: rats, injections, siblings, cockroaches, dentists, teachers, honeybees, death, dogs, darkness, marriage, speaking the truth, going alone to the bathroom, lizards, snakes, water bodies, failure, exams, anger, heights, losing one’s parents, and many more.

Fear of the dentist – Riddhi Soni

I also wanted us to talk about how it feels to be frightened, our physical and emotional responses, and our strategies of dealing with these fears. The responses here were equally varied, for example: isolating oneself, thinking about things that make one happy, running away, shivering, crying, going to a safe place, praying, shrieking, locking oneself in the bedroom, cracking funny jokes, reaching out for one’s teddy, preparing oneself for death, thinking of the person one loves the most, screaming, stamping one’s feet, eating something, thinking of a way to escape, laughing, switching on the lights, etc.

Fear of tall buildings – Kaushik Karthikeyan

We concluded the session with an art activity, wherein each student was given a sheet of paper and had to select one of his/her deepest fears, imagine it as a monster and depict what it looked like on paper. The art work that came out of this session was utterly spectacular. Here are some glimpses of what our talented students created.

Fear of Orange Pumpkins – Devansh Gala

You might want to ask yourself the same questions and also make some time for the art activity. It is a whole lot of fun, as the pictures above would have told you. Besides that, the opportunity to know yourself a little better is always welcome, isn’t?

Fear of the younger sister – Shabbir Khandwala

What happens to an idea

by Jai Sonwalkar

(What an idea Sirjee! Here Jai takes a sneak peek at what happens to an idea without going too much detail into this vast topic:)

A seed’s fate is a chance – 50/50. It might germinate into a seedling, manage to grow into a sapling and fight for resources like water and sunlight to emerge as a plant/tree. On the other hand, it might die at any of the above stages.

An idea is like this seed – it might germinate from the brain to the mindmap/drawing board, manage to convince the decision makers and become a blueprint and actually evolve into an action, a product/service, a practise, why even commercial success. On the other hand, it might die at any of the above stages.

Sometimes the idea dies even after it comes into action. The action readjusts, realigns and changes so much that the original idea is lost. Often the new action is better than the old idea it outgrew. Many times, it is not.

An idea in itself is not perpetual even if it may be long-lived. The idea of using a wheel seems perpetual enough, but wheels might serve a different purpose in the future.

So how does one protect an idea from being smothered, killed or dying naturally? Does one want to protect an idea at all? What about ideas that change with changing times and the ones that adamantly don’t?

Ideas on the whole never die – they are constantly replaced by others. So as long as brains are working, ideas will make their presence felt.

Getting back to my original question, the title of the post – What happens to an idea? It is not enough to just have an idea and gloat over it. What really counts is – transforming those ideas to something real. It’s not always easy nor always difficult.

There was a time when I’d sleep with a tiny notepad and a pencil under my pillow – ready for any idea that sprouts in my sub-conscious mind. It would keep me awake long enough to scribble it down. When I wrote it down, the idea would grow. It would either lead to a sleepless night, where the idea was twisting and turning to grow into a full-fledged plan. Or it would make me sleep with satisfaction – acknowledging that it was a good idea which can wait till morning for any action. I sleep over most my problems as the ideas to solve them visit me only at night.


(click to enlarge)

What do you do with your idea?

 (All images courtesy: Google) 

 

Gratitude


by Sini Nair

Sini, one of our regular contributors, teaches English in High School in Shishuvan. She wishes to express her gratitude to her Std X students in this poem she’s written:

The journey of my life took me to strange places
They scared me, they stared at me and they gave me mazes
Mazes to understand, to solve and evolve
One of those mazes that I encountered was a class of tenth graders
With apprehension and doubt I entered their class
I could hear a whisper, “How are you going to start?”
Without a doubt I spoke my mind
I told them that I would lead them through the grind
They heard me out but still had many a doubts
Days went by and so did our interactions
More than anything that I learnt from them was acceptance
They accepted me without a thought
We spoke and argued and fought
And the best that happened to me was ‘Sammy’
The whole process disclosed their maturity
It made me see through their sensitivity
This is just a small and humble way of saying Thank You
Thank You for being what you are
Thank You for showing me what is Patience
Thank You for all that you have given me in a short span.

Science!!

by Akshita Jain

(The usually shy Akshita from Std VIII has emerged from a cocoon as a butterfly! She wants to express herself and has started by her first poem for the blog about her changed attitude towards the subject ‘Science’:)

I hated it,
But now I love it.
It was boring,
But now it’s exploring.
The one and only subject,
Science, science, science.

I thought I pass,
But when I saw world was vast.
I went up and down,
But no one I found.

You called me smart
But I did not have a strong heart.
I stopped my tear,
But was filled with fear.
I didn’t want to cry
But my tears were never shy.
So now I say don’t learn science,
But explore it.