Tag Archives: Education

First-borns – Guinea Pigs?


Yesterday my first-born turned ten. And we (claim to have) successfully completed ten years of parenthood.

Has she been lucky or unlucky? In my opinion, for her it has been a combination of both.

How is she lucky? Usually the elder ones are the centres of attraction; they get all (or too much?) the attention from the parents and from the relatives too, if they are the first ones in a generation. They enjoy a lot of privileges – too many toys, dresses and other accessories. In fact it was we who were celebrating our new designations as papa and mama! Every achievement or turning point in the eldest ones’ lives is exaggerated and celebrated with all the pomp and vigour.

When it comes to the second one, the excitement would be slightly less. The parents have already been there and for them it is merely a repetition of the first episode. But sadly they are too busy to remember it’s the very first time for each of the younger ones. Being the second-born I have been through it all. (Eldest ones out there, I can read your thoughts.)

And there are a lot of health benefits too. They will be made of healthier and better components of life. The later ones are born to older and more tired parents.

[The given link will enlighten you more on the topic of birth order.]

But here I am more bothered about the seamy side of the first-borns’ lives. For the naive parents it is a time to experiment upon a hundred new things, certainly out of their love and eagerness. I must admit that bringing up my big girl I have committed a lot of parenting errors, mainly in the two crucial areas – health and education.

As tyros in that new phase of life we were naturally over-concerned about each and every aspect, especially her health. We surmised that every sneeze, cough or runny nose would end up in pneumonia, and rushed to the doctor who was only too eager to administer heavy doses of antibiotics. The recurrence of the ailments taught us some valuable lessons equipping us better for the second one. It made me bold and taught me how to resist temptation to grab the medicines each time.

And the second most fatal mistake I committed was the over-enthusiasm about her studies. When she got confused with P, b, d and 9, or when she flipped over certain letters, (at the age of three!) we often freaked out as if she was going to be doomed. When she could not discern the basic differences between numbers and letters, faltering at the questions like “Which is bigger – 2 or 7?” we seemed to be anxious about the Board after ‘12’ years!!  While we were passionately carrying out our duties, for her it must have been hell!

After her last PT meet (grade 5) as I was proudly looking at the 100% score in her Maths paper, I once again realized the benefits of intruding less and leaving everything to her. It was the fruit of her own hard work.

At times my younger one has to be satisfied with the used toys and dresses. However she enjoys a happier and more carefree childhood – only because her parents’ attention is divided and she has an elder sister who was already ‘guinea pig’ged!

Happy birthday dear! Thank you for all the great lessons you taught me in a decade’s time…

I Shall Do That for My Students


I should teach better – that is it. For the past few days I have been thinking about the new methods and techniques I should adopt for the betterment of my students. Although about to round off a decade in teaching profession, I have no plans to settle down contented with the experiences of the decade.

Many of the methods that I mastered in the beginning of my teaching career have become irrelevant or outdated. The students who I teach today were born into the technologically advanced days. They are more proficient than we teachers in many aspects. But there are a few qualities that students expect from teachers irrespective of the age in which they live – the qualities that stand the test of time.

I respect all my teachers for what they have done for me. But just a few of them are adored – for the seemingly simple things they did for me.  

[I am immensely grateful to the following teachers of mine:

Mrs Annie, for the chance she ONCE gave me to run errands for her while I was in grade two!

Mrs Shobana, for the positive comments she ONCE made on my exam paper!

Prof. E. John Mathew, for the effort he took ONCE to comment on the good features of my essays!

Mr. Ramankutty, for appreciating my answers in front of a batch of aspiring journalism students!]

A personal touch matters a lot in any relationship. So why not bring that into the student-teacher relationship too?

All good teachers are not favourite teachers. And all favourite teachers need not be good teachers (considering the quality of teaching). My dream is to be both to my students.

Tomorrow onwards I will have to teach two large classes – class ten and nine with thirty-five and forty-five students respectively. Personal attention to each one of those eighty students – is that feasible? I take up the challenge – cheerfully!