When I was invited to give a presentation on our school in the Annual Regional Conference of IBO held in Singapore this march, I was very excited.
I guess our uniqueness lies in the fact that we transformed an existing school affiliated to state board into a school with student centric methods as developed by IBO.
I have my own reservations about calling it an international school because the term ‘international’ is so grossly misused in our country that I hesitate to use it for our school.
I would rather like to say that we have international mindedness which means cross cultural understanding !
My presentation about our school and the unique practices that develop good human beings have been duly recognized by Marcia Behrenbruch, Head of the global professional development in IBO.
She saw our practices as sustainable education and invited me to join her as a workshop leader along with her in giving the first workshop on ‘sustainability as international mindedness’.
Our common passion in the belief that education is for sustainability got us working for months online, in developing this workshop.
For me the second fortnight of November has been a brain storming and conscience awakening period.
13th 14th and 15th of nov we delivered this workshop as a part of the regional workshops conducted by IBO annually in India.
This time it was in Bangalore.
Working with Marcia opened new horizons and posed new challenges to me personally. Her passion for knowledge and ability to relate it to sustainability is amazing.
That she was a student of the world famous environmentalist Professor David Suzuki made me begin to look at her with new awe.
I learnt that teaching science needs a complete revamping in our country. Compartmentalizing it in different classes makes it all the more confusing.
That is the reason that we are not able to instill a scientific temper in our people. Often times what we are teaching is almost outdated concepts.
Marcia infected me with her enthusiasm for science and I have once again started exploring science from a new dimension.
During our conversation with other workshop leaders from different countries, what struck to me immediately is that these are not just teachers- these are professional educators!
From books to education policies of countries to different approaches in teaching- they sailed from one topic to the other with ease.
Stimulating conversations and mind boggling ideas are what I packed into my mind while returning .
I may have gone there as a workshop leader but I returned as a learner.
Soon after returning I went on my next mission- to train the teachers of 5 rural schools run by a NGO called RDF.
As a community service project of our school, I and my team of 6 teachers stayed in Kalleda village for 3 days and trained 75 teachers into creating stimulating classroom environment and developing student centric methods.
The teachers belonged to these villages and we were amazed to see their commitment and zeal to learn more.
They were not ordinary teachers- they were social reformers.
From teaching in the classroom to discouraging child marriages and dowry, they are working relentlessly to transform rural India.
I went there to train them but I learnt from them that teachers need not limit themselves to their subject-they can actually make a difference in the society- they can be social reformers.
In one fortnight, I met two diametrically opposite teachers – one lot who belong to an international organization for education with professional expertise and knowledge and the other lot who belong to the rural community and working with commitment to transform rural India.
I wonder –in this scale of professional educators to social reformers- where do teachers in urban and rural schools fit into?
As for me, I will always be a lifelong learner and try to fit into that scale that I have seen.