CLAYLAB EDUCATION FOUNDATION

Every Act Counts!

Human beings are interesting species with respect to their understanding and interpretation of the world. We have an incredibly unique ability to construct and create intricately woven stories. This ability to form schemas, patterns, links and ideas, differentiates us from all other living beings. The most intriguing story is the one that holds the plot together. Would it be a great movie if everything was independent of each other? Definitely not! Likewise, it is with life – It must be intelligible. How do we establish that with absolute certainty?

The answer is quite plain, if we accept one simple truth: ‘Everything is connected.’ Not only does every action have an equal and opposite reaction; every act counts. No act, as simple as breathing goes unnoticed by the universe and its sense of maintaining balance. More often than not, we have a tendency to take things for granted; this arises from a deep rooted integration of ignorance. For instance, we all know discarding waste anywhere else other than a dustbin is not right, yet many of us do engage in convenience over the right act. We think how does one wrapper matter? Imagine if all of us thought the same way, can you fathom the debris all around us? This ignorant callous behaviour not only hinders our personal growth but also obstructs the progress of other people who are trying to achieve their goals. This leads to the formation of a rather vicious cycle, that we do not have the faintest idea how to put an end to.

On the other hand, people conscious of this fact understand their ability to change old patterns and create new ones. For instance, hundreds of people gather on the beaches to clean them up and save the ecosystem, one clean up at a time. An act does not refer to an only a verb, but in fact even our thought process. Thinking however internal is an act. Humans are thinkers, inventors, and creators. We all are great stories and therefore, we must remember, we are significant; no matter how trivial we think our act might be, affects someone or something. This does not mean we redefine our expectations from life but they must be endorsed by a firm and worthy motive.

Be it an act of kindness, strength, courage or fear, if it does not translate into a positive outcome, drop it. If we assume that our actions have no impact, aren’t we questioning the very foundation of our existence? We aren’t responsible for other people but we do owe ourselves the dignity to be thoughtful, centred and mostly, an impactful human being. We must always remember it is not the size of the act that counts, but the sheer thought and intention. We often burden ourselves to change lives but in reality our primary purpose is to value ourselves and our surroundings to the best possible echelon. It is human to make mistakes and be ignorant but so is, to think, learn, grow and change constantly, for the greater good. Remember –
“The theatre of life has no retakes, make every act count. Small acts, when multiplied by millions, change the world.”

A FEW BREATHS A DAY, KEEPS THE ANXIETY AWAY!

We all have aspirations, dreams and goals from the time we start comprehending life. The way to achieve these goals or dreams is to go through several tests, obstacles and hurdles that make us stronger and sharper. More than anything, these shape us into who we become.

Of course, these things make a lot more sense when one is an adult and navigating through life becomes a habit. But for those in school, dealing with the pressure of a pandemic that has completely changed lives, the story is a little different.

While we try to accustom ourselves to the unpredictability of the current situation, a few old things continue to be with us, like, examinations. Originally, examinations were meant to test personal growth; but eventually they grew to be tiring and competitive process. The inapt understanding of something so fundamental to this concept, has led to stress and anxiety amongst students across the globe and yet, discarding the idea of examinations seems rather extreme and not healthy for the growth of an individual’s ability and potential. So where does that leave us? How do we deal with the pressure, stress and anxiety before, during and after exams?

While we are no mental health experts, there are ways in which the above questions can be tackled healthily: especially for those who might have an exam or two looming in the foreseeable horizon.

Therefore, here are a few tips to help you kick that stress away and live a little more freely, like one always should:

REWARD YOURSELF: Scientifically, as important as the preparation is, so is the rest you need and deserve. So, treat yourself to breaks after the completion of the portion that was to be studied: do a fun activity or simply sit!

DON’T (ALWAYS) LISTEN TO THE NOISE: While it is great to discuss things with peers it is not necessarily healthy when one is experiencing stress. We all process and study differently. So never compare with your peers.

SPEAK TO SOMEONE: If it becomes overwhelming discuss it – with an adult, a friend, an elder sibling, or just about anyone you think will understand and empathise with what you’re going through. Talking always helps. Get it out of your system.

GET SOME SLEEP OR DO WHAT YOU LOVE: Indulge yourself with some rest and entertainment that your mind requires, without feeling guilty. Don’t forget – all work and no play makes you dull!

EAT AND EXERCISE: Engage in a physical activity (sports, athletics) to sweat the stress out. Mostly, eat well and on time because while studying can be mentally taxing, your body needs its bits too.

AVOID POSTMORTEM: As tempting as it may be, avoid indulging in the need to know how other people have fared. One can only do his/her best and that is all that matters. Remember, comparison kills.

BREATHE: Take a deep breath in and release all the stress whenever overwhelmed. Things are going to be okay.

Lastly, as important as exams may seem, we are more than that. One examination does not determine the course of life. An examination cannot define or redefine who we are. Focus, be sincere and give the best but above all that, remember to breathe. We are meant for bigger and brighter things!

Let’s learn about OURSELVES?

You are NOT Hyper!

Well, here’s the great thing about the brain, it functions differently for different people. Unlike our other body parts that are effectively instructed by our brain to do a certain activity a certain way, our brain enjoys autonomy. Often we might wonder that why do we learn or unlearn things differently than others? That is the absolute beauty of the Multiple kinds of intelligence. While some might just be able to look at something and register it forever, others might feel the need to note it down for better retention and understanding.


Point being, none of us are slow, we just understand things in our own way. This amazing understanding of the mind and thereby the brain was aptly put forth by Howard Gardner in his Theory of Multiple Intelligence. Do not be surprised, but there are eight great ways of being intelligent and yet we all are trying to race to the finish line by the most superficial understanding of intelligence. Basically, whatever majority of the population does, we assume it is the ONLY way to do things and this only damages our unique ability to perceive and interpret things. We literally curb our own unique attribute.


While we are at it, let’s understand the most commonly misunderstood intelligence. It is often seen as being hyperactive, fidgety or rather people who need to engage in some sort of bodily or physical expression. They are rather swift, quick on their feet, LITERALLY and often engaged in two activities at a time, if not more. This is not them being hyper or all over the place but in fact they have superior mind and body coordination than the rest of us. They have this amazingly astonishing quality to use their body parts or the whole body to solve problems or create new tangible things. Oh, also they do it with utmost precision.


What makes them so special is while a majority of us can either do the THINKING or do the DOING, Kinesthetically intelligent people can do both of these activities together with absolute perfection. It might seem as overdrive for most, for them it is simply the way they function. The best way to describe them would be – ‘people who have the ability to move from intention to action rather quickly and precisely.’ The way they remember or retain is specifically by DOING than just hearing or seeing something. They have a more hands-on approach to things.


Before you start putting a face to this type of intelligence, here are a few famous people who might make it easier to understand. Michael Jordan, Jim Carrey, Serena Williams, Tom Cruise; basically the best of the best possess this intelligence and they are our heroes. For everyone who identifies them as a person who feels the need to doodle, note down, who would rather stand than sit, you are not weird and you definitely are not alone, you have Tom Cruise on your side.


We all learn and effectively use learning in different ways. We possess all types of intelligence in different measures. Do not be afraid of doing things differently, that is the exact thing that sets you apart. If the kinesthetic shoe fits, embrace it, Cinderella. You could be a surgeon or the greatest sports person to have ever lived. Doodle and jump your way through life!

CLAY SPONSATHON: A HUNDRED REASONS TO SMILE

Dear… World,

We spent a lot of time trying to figure whom we’re really addressing this to, but since it really is not a SINGLE entity or person, we decided to address this love letter, to everyone. Yup – that definitely includes… YOU.

You see, at the beginning of this month, we started out with an idea to help our kids by finding them a few sponsors who could potentially help them get the education they deserve, regardless of where they come from: literally and metaphorically. We wanted to overcome geographical and socio-economic barriers that stand in the way of quality education for all kids. Yes – it’s just about that simple.

If you’re here, you obviously know the role of technology in what we do, because after all, it is by using technology that we’ve been able to provide quality education to all our kids (over 300 of them now), even during this pandemic. But – now, we’d like to go one step further and we’d like for you to take that step with us. Here’s how:

According to reports, the average Indian spends anything between Rs 4,500 – Rs 6,500 each month, just… dining out casually (of course this was before the pandemic hit us but have we REALLY changed all that much?). Even if we take the median here as Rs 5,000 per month… we’d like for you to take a guess as to what else you could do with that same amount.

Take a moment…

Have an answer? Great. Please keep reading:

We assure you this; With the aforementioned median amount of Rs 5,000, you can enable 5 children to have access to quality education a month.

Surprising, isn’t it?

Rs 1,000 – which is an amount most of us would spend on casual dining without much of a second thought, could potentially be the difference between the future or the lack thereof, of a single child!

Hang on, hang on.. don’t get us wrong when we’re telling you all this: we just want to help put things in perspective for you. And it is because we’d like to put things in perspective for our kids too, that we’ve opened up:

Our #CLAYSPONSATHON and the #100DONORCAMPAIGN !

What does that mean?

It simply means that we are looking for 100 Donors each month – who can sponsor one (or more!) child(ren) for just Rs 1,000 each to help them, support them and ensure that they get the education they deserve, with Claylab.

Not just that, as donors, you also get to keep real-time track of the monthly progress of your kid/s (yup – your kid/s) and make sure what you’re aiming for is happening! Pretty cool right?

So, dear World – we’d love for you to be a part of this because we can’t think of anyone more loving, more supportive or more cheerful than you, to help us help the leaders of our tomorrow: our kids.

You can always use this link: https://forms.gle/haaN8iAoLr1mBsZR9 and / or reach out to us to know more.

But until then,
Always hopeful,

Yours,
Team CLAY

Five minutes…. for me!

2020 has been…. unusual, if nothing else, for most of us. With a horde of disasters that have plagued the planet in different aspects of our lives, most of us have been in either recovery mode or discovery mode of the many surprises that have come our way.

And yet, while nature seems to be taking a breath of fresh air for what seems to be like the first time in years, a lot of us have also been struggling with the weight of everything that has been going on: at a clearly personal level. Mental impacts of global crises are at an all-time high for people across age and background spectrums and it’s no secret that more and more of us have been feeling the pressure, somewhere or the other.

Well, as much as we hate being the bearers of the bad news that there isn’t much any of us can actually do about it (though we REALLY wish there was), we did a little bit of research so that we could bring to you some quick ways in which you can invest less than 5 minutes at ANY time of the day, to give yourself a little extra attention and a little extra care… so that if nothing else, you’ve allowed yourself to be cared for, for those five minutes.

Without any further ado, here are 5 things you can do in under five minutes to care for yourself:

Drink a Glass of Water

“Wait a minute. Why are you asking me to drink water?” – we hear you asking us. Here’s why: more times than not – and especially when we are not in the best of mental states ourselves, we tend to get so “caught up” in a moment that there is a chance we ignore our most basic needs… like water!

Of course, when we are asking you to drink water, it’s not just about the activity but rather, we hope you pay attention to every sip, every gulp – so that by the time you’re done, you’ve had a quick mental reset from whatever it is, that was potentially bothering you earlier. Oh and though we know water won’t really solve a problem, your body will thank you for the extra hydration and in the long run, your health will be one less thing for you to worry about! Win-win, don’t you think?

Listen to A Song You LOVE

Not just any song… THAT song. You know the one we’re talking about? The one that puts a smile on your face, no matter WHAT? That song. The one that you have a happy memory or maybe even a special reason to remember for! Well, if you’re not in the best of moods or if you’re not feeling your best, listening to a song you absolutely love is the quickest, most low effort way to almost instantly brighten up your mood. Again, doesn’t shoo the problem away, but certainly helps you clear your mind and focus better, once the song is done.

Word of caution if you’re anything like us though: Sometimes, we tend to get a little carried away, jumping from our favourite song to another, and another and another… and before you know it, a few hours have gone by…? Well, if that’s a possibility, we recommend setting a timer to remind you, before you begin, so that you don’t get swept away in your playlist!

Make A List Of 10 Things You Are Grateful For, Right Now

Yes, this year has been pretty awful. There… even the most optimistic ones among us, have said it. Yet, if you really think about it, even 2020 has had a bunch of reasons for us to be grateful for, individually.

Thinking about and making a list of all the things you are grateful for at any point, is a great way to put ourselves back into the groove of some good vibes, because after all, even the most terrible…. How bad can it really be?

So, we suggest either a mental list of everything (and we mean EVERY little thing) that you are grateful for at any point, to watch yourself feel better and better with every passing item in the list! Don’t believe us? Try it yourself!

Step Somewhere for Some Fresh Air

Outside your house? In your garden? In a balcony? At least at your favourite spot by a window? Despite all the restrictions on movement and meeting people, even in the pandemic, we’re sure you know of at least one place where you can safely go and enjoy a long breath of fresh air… and we want to remind you to use it as often as you think you need to.

Just like water, the fact that most of us are home bound in a pandemic means that we forget what fresh air feels like and sometimes, this one thing could make all the difference. So, no matter what your mood is, allowing yourself some access to fresh air that you can breathe safely while still socially distancing might just be the activity you didn’t realise you needed – to lift up your mood!

Practice Focused Breathing

No – focused breathing is not the name of the latest album from home by your favourite musician. Focused breathing refers to mindfully engaging in the activity of breathing and paying attention to the process while you clear your mind of any other thoughts. Sometimes, all we need is a moment of peace and quiet, no matter what the situation is and for those times, instead of holding back, try taking a minute out to get your breathing exercises done.

Find a quiet, comfortable place and position and start breathing in and out deeply, with your eyes closed while internally observing the flow of your breath. As you inhale and exhale, try to bring your focus back to your breathing and your breathing alone and for that time, don’t focus on anything else.

Before you know it, you’ll find yourself far calmer and more relaxed than when you started and this in turn, will help you cope with whatever you are going through, with a far clearer head and a far lighter mind… and sometimes, that’s all we need.

While we are no mental health professionals and if you find yourself in a situation where you could use professional help, we most certainly encourage you to do so, these are some quick things you can do as a pick-me-up on any day or at any time you think you could use an internal boost. As promised, all of these things take just about five minutes to get done with and we really hope you’ll be able to find a way to incorporate these into your routines as often as you can.

Are there any activities or measures you use to keep yourself calm on a day to day basis, especially in the pandemic? We’d love to know.

Until next time!

Love,
Team Clay.

TIPS & TRICKS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR GOOGLE CLASSROOM

Aaahhh – 2020! If anyone had told us before this year that we would be spending all our time at home, it would have seemed like a dream to most of us… but while this year has been quite the adventure so far, one major shift we’ve seen, especially in the space of education: has been the almost overnight move of all forms of education, into a digital space. While e-learning in and of itself is not a new concept at all, the drastic increase in the usage of digital forms of learning in the past few months, has not only been unprecedented, but also unlike anything we’ve ever seen, thanks to platforms like… you guessed it, Google Classroom.

And, we’ll be honest, we’ve made the shift ourselves too! Which is why this week, we thought it imperative to bring you a few tips and tricks that will help you make the most out of your online learning experience with the most popular server-based educational tool from Google. Thus, without further ado, here we go:

  1. Get Everything You Need, In One Go

Using Google Classroom using your Google Email Address, opens up a range of opportunities and applications that are at your disposal, to do your best in every class! From using Google Docs to create online documents to Google Slides to make a presentation, you can use all the tools available to you to make the most out of what you are learning, without the menace of hard-copies of your work.

  1. View All Your Work In One Place!

With as many classes as there are and assignments in each of them, it can get really hard for you to trace what is due and especially when for every class you take. Well, don’t worry – there’s a way for you to know exactly what is due and when for each of your classes, by following these steps:

  1. Open a class 
  2. Go to Classwork tab  
  3. Click on View Your Work 

Here, you can view all the assigned work with title, due date, attached file and you can also use the side filter menu (the 3 lines) to streamline the list! Pretty cool right? 

  1. You Can Un-Submit Your Work

Yes – we said it and you absolutely read that right! While this feature can come in handy when you make a mistake, be careful of using it too much or too often! Sometimes, we might accidentally land up attaching the wrong file or making a submission by accident – and for times like that, this feature is a life saver!

You can do this by simply clicking on a submitted assignment and with it, you will find a button that says “Un-submit” from where you can choose to remove the existing file / submission and upload the correct one!

With most of our lives changing practically overnight thanks to the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that Google Classrooms and similar online learning platforms have become the most important online tools for most of us when it comes to learning and education. If you’ve liked these quick tips and tricks for Google Classrooms or if you know of any more tips or tricks that the world needs to know about, feel free to let us know!

Oh… and happy online learning, from all of us at CLAY 🙂

Hacking Our Memory: Remembering A LOT, with little effort!

As you’re reading this piece, allow us to take you back to a time not too long ago (though it just seems like yesterday): You’re walking up and down your usual stretch, or worse, sitting where you always are, around this time of the year. The exam is in less than a day and all you can think to yourself is, ‘Why Is This So Hard For Me To Recollect, No Matter How Hard I Try!’

Well.. the uncomfortable feeling of just thinking about this experience is daunting enough to make most of us feel irked at the thought of having to do it again – and that too, quite possibly for much larger pools of information. And we’ll be honest: while most of us know someone, who is the human version of a memoir, remembering every detail of every possible thing in life and academics alike – the rest of us aren’t blessed with this superpower. So, what do we do instead? We find quicker, smarter ways to make life easier. 

Presenting: Mnemonics.

Pronounced as ne-mo-niks, mnemonics have been around for almost as long as languages have, because essentially, a mnemonic device is any learning technique that helps us to retain and retrieve information in our memory. Most commonly found mnemonic devices use various short-forms, pictures, sentences or sounds to help us remember things quicker, faster and more efficiently – but the absolute best thing about mnemonics? You can make up your own!

Since the objective of mnemonic devices is to help you retain, but more importantly retrieve information you already know better, mnemonic devices can be universal (that is, applicable to anyone) or they can be personal (that is, sensible / applicable only to us as individuals). Also known as memory devices – in the context of human learning and memory – for anyone who hasn’t been able to follow this far, here are a few awesome mnemonic devices for you to learn so that you’ll never have to forget these facts, ever again!

  1. The Value of Pi

If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering ‘These numbers are SO random. I can’t remember beyond the first two digits’ – don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Just remember the sentence: 


“Man, I need a large container of coffee”


Why? Each word in that sentence is exactly the number of letters as the value of Pi. 

Don’t believe us? Look again: 

Man – 3

I – 1

Need – 4

A – 1

Large – 5

Container – 9 

Of – 2

Coffee – 6


Value of Pi – 3.1415926


In this process, did you notice that there is a comma after the word ‘Man’ in the sentence? That comma represents where your decimal point goes too!
Pretty cool, right? You can thank us later. 

  1. The Solar System 

We know it starts with Mercury… we know Earth is somewhere closer to the middle, but what about the order of the planets in our solar system, when taken in an increasing order of distance from the sun? While obviously no one is going to ask us this in our day to day life, this fact is the basis of a lot of other knowledge and information we are exposed to via different channels, every day! So… how do we remember this? With:

“My Very Elegant Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets.” 

This statement stands for: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto – in that correct order. 

But, wait a minute, since we decided to kick Pluto out of this sequence a while ago (Sorry, Pluto!) – we also have an upgraded version of the statement, which is:

“My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Noodles.” 

There we go… much better than remembering random names of the planets, right?

  1. Classifications in Taxonomy

To all our science peeps who asked, “But what about us? How do we do this for more technical things?’ – We heard you and we have an answer for you too!

Struggling to remember the order of the classifications to be made in taxonomy? Here’s a quick mnemonic sentence to help you: 

“Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach.”


What does this sentence represent? Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species, ranked in a decreasing order of size. 

Now, we also have two additional words for you: You’re Welcome.

  1. Coordinating Conjunctions

At this point, you’re probably thinking: ‘Fine… fine… you’ve covered social sciences, pure sciences and math… but what about languages? How do I remember rules, and specifications in languages?’

Well, the truth is, you just got to be a little creative and mnemonics can rescue you from language remembrance troubles too! Don’t believe us? Keep reading. 

Coordinating conjunctions in English are one of the quickest list of words that a lot of us need to remember: for use in our formal and informal communications alike. But when asked off the top of our head, a lot of us struggle to remember the list. This is why we want to help you with: 

“FANBOYS”

“I’m sorry… what?” you say and we remind you:

F – For

A – And

N – Nor

B – But 

O – Or

Y – Yet 

S – So

…. The list of coordinating conjunctions.

So, as you can see – any seemingly large chunk of information can be remembered: that is, retained and retrieved easily from our memory, using mnemonic devices. What we’ve shown you in this piece is not even close to the smallest fraction of the possibilities once you begin experimenting with this incredible way to remember things. 

Oh – and once you get more comfortable with mnemonic devices and make some yourself, don’t forget to let us know! We’re waiting to see what you come up with. 

Until next time!

Once a Classic, here is why it’s Always a Classic!

If you are someone who says you weren’t too fond of stories growing up, you are either lying or you simply didn’t get a chance to live these out in your imagination! With the pandemic around us leaving all of us with plenty of time on our hands to start (or re-start) our old favourites, here are a few books we recommend, to get you back in the reading game, no matter how old you are! (Oh and we promise – this list is NOT an order of our preference)

  1. Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Caught in a spooky, other-worldly situation, Coraline opens a forbidden door where everything looks just like our world, but not, at the same time.  Read this book to find out how she finds her way back home, fighting her ‘Other Mother” along the way, to keep her family safe.

  1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum

Making list of children’s classics without this title wouldn’t just be wrong… it would be a crime! 

When sudden flash of lightening transports Dorothy from her drab life into a magical wonderland with strange looking people, little does she know that she is about to set out on the adventure of a lifetime. Finishing the book makes us wish: ‘If only cyclones worked like that in real life as well!’

  1. Nancy Drew – The Hidden Staircase

One of the most famous collections of detective books ever written, the greatest mystery about the Nancy Drew Series, is in finding a way put them down! Though the entire series is worth reading, we recommend The Hidden Staircase as a perfect starting point, as you solve crimes with one of the best female teen detectives ever written. 

  1. Swami and Friends – R. K. Narayan

You are either growing up or have grown up as a misunderstood teenager, in an Indian household! In Swami and Friends, R. K. Narayan brings our collective teenage years to life as Swami struggles to piece his life together, with vivid yet relatable descriptions and characters we see in our lives every day!

  1. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

Disclaimer: Tear-proof this book before you start reading…. because it will make you cry (if it hasn’t already)! 

Pick this book to go along on the journey of four sisters amidst the American War era, in a time transcending readers’ favourite. Laugh, cry and fall in love – with yourself and each of the characters as they battle against all odds: the elitist social world they live in and of course, their inner demons. We don’t want to give away too much – but here is what we WILL say: this book might be a romantic-drama, but it is also much more than that!

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What were some of your favourite books to read, growing up? Did we miss them? Tell us in the comments below!

Things no one talks about: Teachers’ Edition

Ah.. the beautiful, incredible feeling of being a teacher… What most of us thought to be just another 8 – 4 job before we got going, today is an irreplaceable part of our lives. Questions, queries, preparation, delivery, lesson plans.. these are all some of the more known sides of what we do – but here is a quick, fun read for all the things we often never talk about.

 
1. We call them (YOU!) our kids, because that’s exactly what we think of them (You!).

No… we’re not joking when we say that we say you’re our kids. To most of us teachers, every class we take and every batch we interact with regularly, holds a special place in our hearts. This is often why when there is a serious discussion or even when we’re not paying too much heed to the things we are saying, we use “kids” as if they (You!) are our own. 

2. There are TONS of things we learn in class!

From gaining different perspectives on what we’re teaching, aspects & questions we have never thought of ourselves, to the unbreakable bonds shared between some of our kids (see? We told you!), there is so much we take back from every class! Of course, sometimes we’re met more groans than we anticipate for some activities and suggestions, but even those help us get insights into what really works and how what doesn’t, can be made better!

3. …. In the same way, there are also TONS of things we don’t know!

While we are usually well prepped before every class, there are more times than we can count, when questions catch us off guard. And yes… most of us tell our kids (Clicker Count: 3!) that we’ll get back to them about it, it also gives us a lot of joy to go back and find out more before we solve another doubt. Who said being a teacher is actually very different from being a student, huh? 

4. One of our greatest skills lies in making this happen on the go

Now, not to give you the wrong impression but as a teacher, you’d expect that things go according to our lesson plans and time tables more often than not…. But the truth is FAR from it! Whether it’s as simple as going over a past lesson again before proceeding on a day when we’d hoped to get a good deal done, to accommodating for the many many activities life usually loves to surprise us with – being well versed and mentally prepared to find a work around that allows for our kids (Count: 4!) to learn despite everything, is usually a good….. 40% of our days. 

5. And despite everything….

All said and done, there is nothing else we’d rather do. Sure… a lot of us didn’t expect our journeys to look like this, some of us stumbled into the profession and others have had their lifelong dreams of making a difference come true – but no matter how we landed up here, as teachers, the only thing we can all say for sure and for each other, is that there is nowhere else any of us would rather be!

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So… now you know a little more about your teachers and what it’s like to be on that side of the table. Is there a teacher you understand better now? Someone you appreciate a little more? If there is, be sure to let them know because you could put a lasting smile on their faces by just telling them what you feel. What’s more, we’d also love to hear from you in the comments below!

Every step matters

As we all know that the world is going through very difficult times. During these times we can see the hidden inequalities of the society being highlighted. At the same time, we can also see a lot of people extending help towards the needy. 

    We are seeing people volunteering to the government to help, we see people donating heavy amounts, some people distributing food packets in the communities and some spreading awareness. Some of us here might feel little sad about how we are not being able to do anything, but it’s ok to be at home at this time, that itself is a major help to the whole humanity at this time. What i want to highlight here is for making a difference you don’t need to take some very big steps and initiatives, because every small step matters. We need to understand that change is something that is not small or big , it doesn’t need to be compared. So, even is if u are staying at home, it’s a difference you are bringing, since you are ensuring the safety of others. Even if you are teaching a neighbourhood child that is a change, even when you are not forwarding fake news that is also a change.

    We all need to understand that though the society is filled with immense inequalities and our every effort in this process may feel like a drop in an ocean but then still you got to operate as this ocean is going to filled by drops of water only.

By Raghvendra- A student leader

How is our current batch doing

We started from 27th April with almost 10 students in Science stream, 20 in commerce and 2 in Arts. In 2nd week, number has increased to 15 in Science stream, 25 in Commerce and 5 in Arts.

The subject wise plan is shown in the table below along with the responsible teachers.

ScienceCommerceArts Stream
Week 1 (27th April)Chemistry- Ch 1
Basic concepts of chemistry
Economics- Ch 1 Money
Sociology- Ch 1
Introduction to sociology
TeacherVivekPurvaVivek
Week 2 (4th May)Physics- Ch 1
Units and measurements
Book keeping and accountancy- Ch 1
Introduction
Psychology- Ch 1
Introduction to psychology
TeacherVivekSoniaPurva
Week 3 (11th May)Chemistry- Ch 2
Introduction to analytical chemistry
Economics- Ch 1 Basic concepts in EconomicsSociology- Ch 2
Contribution of sociologists
VivekPurvaVivek
Week 3 (11th May)Maths I- Ch 2
Sequences and series
Vivek

Week 1 has been successfully completed with a student’s average mastery level of 60% in Science and 80% in Economics. Almost 90% of the students are satisfied with the classes and enjoy attending them.

Now from 2nd week, we have started morning and evening dedicated doubt sessions and Saturday Learning circles to increase the engagement of students.

The first step- Making an online class good enough for our students.

Online Learning, being the latest wave of education, is already having a fair show despite posing challenges for both instructors and students. While instructors need to put in intensive work and time to design the instruction, students need to equip themselves with some technical knowledge to engage with such content.

A week ago, we started 11th grade (FYJC) Online Classes for our students who had just written their 10th Board exams. Due to the lockdown owing to COVID-19 pandemic, there’s still a lot of time before our kids finally start college. This pandemic might have set pause on a lot of things around, but not on us.

We kicked off our online classes finally with 25 students and by the weekend the number increased to 40. It was actually more important for our students who come from less privileged background and can’t afford to have quality material or teachers for online.

Once we started planning for our online lessons, we realised that there are lot of ways by which online classes can be made quite similar to offline classes in terms of engagement and learning.

The most important thing is to ensure student engagement in some way or the other in every 3 minutes. Otherwise, the students start losing concentration and interest. This involvement can be ensured in the classroom by multiple ways. With something as simple as asking a student to read what’s on the slide to more rigorous tasks like making them solve/answer a question in the chat box.

If used the right way, online learning and the technical tools provided on these platforms can really help with engagement and pacing of the lesson. Tools like Raise hand & Thumbs up save a lot of time and ensure student participation.

Another important factor which shall be kept in mind that students should have a motivation to continuously pay attention to the teacher. In an offline class, a teacher can observe each and every student, but that is not possible in an online class. Therefore, a teacher should create good incentives like reward systems or shout outs or random call outs to make students pay attention every single second during the class.

At the same time, a teacher should also ensure that in every 15 minutes, there should be some fun elements in the class else the students will find it really difficult to keep themselves happy and motivated during the class. It can be done by playing various games like identification of pictures or by allowing the students to scribble on the screen.

At a more technical level, this can also be done by using videos, storytelling, gamified solutions, simulators to ensure practice and game-based learning.

And the last but not the least, a teacher needs to spend some informal time also with the students to develop a stronger bond and therefore, at least once a week, such a space should be created. It can be a group dance or an online game or at least a space for informal chatting with the students.

We personally believe that it is not easy to make an online class as effective as a physical class, but keeping the current situation in mind and the background of our students also in context, we believe that we all should definitely start exploring the possibility of online classes with our students, even if a small number of students participate and we all shall continue to try our best to leverage the technology around us to ensure that our children don’t go without learning and growing even for a single day.

-Purva and Vivek

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