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Hip Grandma has written a wonderful blogpost where she talks about innovative methods needed in teaching today’s generation and how most people who join pure science seem to be a discouraged lot; on how it’s become kind of compulsory to pass students whether they grasp the subject or not, on how people who graduate usually do it only to get into high paying jobs. I passed out of college 6 years ago (gosh its already SIX years, I am ancient!)
When I completed my class 10, I wanted to take up Arts, and then didn’t have a choice of arts in Gujarat since the SSC board offered either commerce or science in English medium (why I wanted to take up Arts, I don’t remember now honestly!). We didn’t have any counseling or sessions in school to tell us where our aptitude lay and we ended following what our friends took up or parents told us. So I ended up taking science and then once I passed my class 12, my enthu for joining Arts had died. I took up B.Sc Geology in our university – now note that my dad is an engineer and my mom is an English teacher, but both of them never told me what I should be doing.
In fact, I was one of the lucky few who had someone to guide her and give her the pros and cons of taking up a subject to study further. I was sure I didn’t want to do engineering and my parents were pretty cool about it. However, two of my friends compelled me to fill up the form (yes, I admit I succumbed to peer pressure) and I filled it up on the last day.
With the engineering admissions delayed, I started out with the B.Sc course. The fact that I had scored a pretty decent percentage in class 12 turned out to be a problem! Initially when I had gone for admissions for B.Sc and told them that I wanted to join Geology, the teachers in charge of the admission process practically refused to give me admission, saying that I cannot take up a subject that was the lowest priority with people and usually selected only by people passing in third division with no other alternative. But, thanks to my dad who stood behind me like a rock (literally!) I chose geology and started attending classes…
Honestly, the classes were a torture in themselves…firstly there were not more than 20 students attending the classes (despite there being about 60 odd seats). The teachers who would come in initially and then ask us to introduce ourselves, insisted that we told our percentage in class 12 and when I told my percentage, they would gasp and try to dissuade me from taking up the course since I was not ‘geology’ material and I could do so much more in life than study rocks and dead stuff. Not one teacher, I am so sad to confess this, but not one teacher ever told me that I did the right thing by opting for a pure science subject. I felt very dejected and this continued for about two months…
My dad used to encourage me by saying that education tends to follow a cycle….a cycle in which for some years applied science (engg) is the choice of career since we need to apply all the fundamental research work of pure science in practical life…but there will be a time in the future when pure science will need to come up and become the choice of career because without research, applied science will become stagnant…
Inspite of all his words and encouragement, I was so fed up with the attitude of the college (and I guess some amount of peer pressure), that I ended up going for the interview for engineering and graduated out with an engineering degree.
When I think back, I sometimes feel that if I had been given a more positive feedback by my geology teachers, may be I could have done so much more in life….
I don’t blame those teachers because they all felt that being an engineer is better than being a geologist – it pays more, I guess. They didn’t have anything against me personally, but I only wish they were a little more supportive of a student’s decision to take up something. Of course, I am to blame as well – they couldn’t have forced me out of the college, but I guess at that time, my maturity level was not what it is now, and I fell to peer pressure.
I wish, I just wish, at least one of the teachers would have been positive about the whole thing…I would have perhaps become a good geologist!
At the end, it all boils down to how teachers mould you and guide you…
On a different note,
My mom has been a teacher for 30 years, and there have been times when she has failed a student in a lower class (usually class 1 to 4), and when the parents would get angry at her for failing their ward, she would tell them that it makes sense to get the basics clear instead of just passing them without them even understanding what’s going on in the classroom and then suffering later, and in most cases, the student has ended up being doing well after repeating a class.
A lot of them came back to her agreeing with her logic that it makes more sense to fail in your class 1 or 2, instead of in class 10 when there is so much of pressure from all sides to excel.
….it’s sad that our education system does not realise that every child is different and has a different aptitude and learning curve. I seriously hate it when aunties ask whether your child is studying well or how much percentage did your child get in the exams.
Because, after 6 years of working, I can say with confidence that I hardly use 1 percent of what was taught to me in my engg. course, but yes, I do use a lot of my class 1 to class 10 knowledge – and this is an opinion which 99% of my friends agree to. We have realised that whatever are your marks in your grad courses, it doesn’t really matter….
Get your basics clear, and you will always do well.
R’s Mom is a working mother in Mumbai trying to balance work, home and
I feel sad that your teachers and not neighbors or relatives who discouraged you from continuing your course in Geology. Fossils give a lot of insight into life forms that existed years ago and explain the theory of evolution. They might have been one of those who aimed at becoming engineers but never ever made it. Your fathers assessment about fundamental research work returning as a sought out course not only in science but arts as well has some basis to it but right now it is going to take a long time for people to realize it.
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