Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back to school

After 5 weeks of holidays due to Autumn break,  country change, Diwali Break, exactly in the same order, 'J' is back to school from yesterday. Or more correctly she started new school in India. Due to crazy planning of her parents relocation timings, she has to start in the middle of the school year.  So there is a  distance between what she was learning at UK and now what is going on in her new school. The distance needs to be traversed slowly, I think the effort will be more from us than from her. I see in myself, a conversion of highly reluctant, secure mother to a little tensed, panicked, hyper kind of mum (can be easily observed all over in India) who always worry about the proper learning ability, good health and safety of her child/ren, they also want their kids to stand out or stand up from the rest. I am trying consciously not to enter that flow, but I cannot promise anything at this point. Environment can have huge impact in people's mind you know.

After her first day at school 'J' made lots of observations and I observed changes in her school jargon. Here are they one by one.

Calling her teacher not as Mrs XYZ but as XYZ Mam.

Changed use of vocabulary for the  the words 
 New Vocabulary                                               Old Vocabulary

stomach ache                                                         tummy sore,
interval                                                                  lunch break
standard                                                                 class
sneakers/converse                                                 trainers
line                                                                        queue

Learning new words which did not exist in her school life before like morning prayer etc.

She is very excited and little confused too. Unlike in her old school in UK, here there are different teachers for different subjects, so she was not understanding in the beginning  about the  rotation  of various teachers. The art of delivering education ought to be little different in different countries and culture, She is extremely conscious of not knowing Hindi and wants to learn it fast. She deliberately wants to be like her classmates so she is trying to speak  English in Indian way also.

I am also trying to understand about the education system in India which seems to have changed a little over the years, like the exams are not that stringent as in our times.

But overall emphasis on the memorization is there to its fullest.

Of course there has been changes in the subject matter and the contents of the text books. Teacher - parent communication has increased. Of course all this comment are on my observation on one school in India, which absolutely tells nothing about the scenario in the whole country.

Also, there are options in some schools to keep all the books and notebooks in a personal cupboard at school, so that the small ones don't need to carry them on their back. Which I think is a very thoughtful proposition.

Overall her first day at school went fine.
Today morning, when I asked  'J' what would she like to have in her lunch box, my bread and egg eater daughter replied "amma mujhe chapatti aur sabzi  do" (Mum, give me hand made Indian bread and vegetable curry)!

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