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STANDING IN FRONT OF TEACHERS

Experience shared by BeeCreative Teacher: Ms. Anuradha Shrestha 

When your head is empty and your heart is beating fast and you are confused about who you are.

The reason I decided to teach was because I was curious. I was curious about one thing: if I were to stand in front of a bunch of students, what would I be speaking? What would be the words that I’d utter? It has been a couple of years since I had this question. Yet,here I was today – standing in front of a bunch of teachers, who were probably much more experienced than I was and were probably much better teachers than me . I was about to share a part of my experience. But my heart was beating fast and making me forget what I had originally planned.

The emcee, Sushan announced my name for the next presentation on classroom management. One of my plans failed right then. In my head, I had planned to introduce myself using the name game: a technique we widely use in Bee creative classes. I looked at Sushan and give him a ‘you ruined it’ face. I grabbed the mic hiding my nervousness and trying to break the awkward silence. Everyone’s eyes were on me expecting and waiting. I began with the question: ‘How is the day going on so far?”. To this, a few of them spoke in murmurs. As I gazed into the crowd, I forgot what my next line would be. I remembered what Pavitra had told me: “It’s okay to be nervous and it’s okay to show them that you are nervous”.

I forced a smile and started, “Since I am doing this for the first time, I am   nervous” and again, I was searching for words. With a deep breath, I looked at the known faces in the room, I remembered my classroom and I started again.

Let’s go back to the classroom, to being a student once again!

“So when I asked the question earlier  How many of you thought of the answer in your head? Please raise your hand,” I probed. Everybody raised their hand. Then I spoke again, “but only few of you actually said the answer out aloud, which made me as a teacher wonder about the answer. I guess a lot of you have faced  similar situations in your classroom. So, how can we solve this simple problem that every teacher faces in the classroom?”.

The crowd started having talks and shared their ideas. I felt more comfortable and I went on, I told  about BeeCreative and the technique we use in our class to solve this problem. I made them familiar with our two understandings. A. 5-4-3-2-1, to make everyone stop working and grab their attention. B. thumbs-up-down, to communicate answer to yes/no question. Thumbs up for Yes and down for No.  After a while I started feeling like I was in a actual classroom and my only task was to ask questions, ignite their curiosity and share my experience.

My personal favorite from the 35 min:

According to my initial plan, I was supposed to run a simple content the way we run it in our classroom. Then make the classroom management techniques more relatable. The content was to make a loop glider by observing a sample I made. I raised the sample loop glider in my hand and asked the participants to guess what it was. The crowd murmured with many answers. Some said it looked like a dumbbell while some said it was tunnel and some said it was a water pipe.

I smiled and without answering their curiosity I instructed them to make one and think of the answers themselves. While my co-facilitator Amrit distributed the materials, I spoke again, this time what I was speaking as if I was in my own classroom. I told them about the plastic cups that was placed on their desks. It was a medium to communicate with each team while they are working. For every good thing that a team did, the observer would drop a green paper in their cup, while for every improvement they needed to make the observer would drop a red paper.

The participants started making their loop glider. I went around and talked with a few teams just like I do with my students. I encouraged one team to try and fly it. Other team observed and tried flying their own. I instructed them to try flying it and observe if they needed to make any improvements on their designs and also asked them to think of the learning behind this activity.

5-4-3-2-1

The time was up. I started picking names from randomizer (here i used Popsicle stick to write down all the participant’s name so that everyone will get to participate equally in the sharing and discussion) and the participants started sharing their learning and experiences.

One science teacher, talked about science behind the loop glider. Few of the words that he spoke made me feel like I had heard them before somewhere, may be in my high school years. He talked about pressure, weight, thrust, direction and many more concepts. In my head, I spoke to myself- “Maybe this is what you can teach high school students through a loop glider”.

A Nepali teacher about teamwork. Later she shared “Just like the device is able to fly only when the air passes through the smaller loop first, similarly when we are teaching our students we should give them knowledge gradually. From little knowledge to more knowledge, we can also let them explore the knowledge on their own.” Learning should go from simple to complex.

After listening to her experience, I once again realized how different people can have different perspectives of a very simple thing like a loop glider. Experience makes us realize a lot of things. My experience of standing in front of those teachers made me realize that one must first put an effort to do something, and then learning will follow . We just need to make it relevant. We just need to find the connection.

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