When I was in school, June would usher smell of new books, new uniform, and familiar buddies – and nose up in the air, we would welcome what is pedantically called a new “academic year”. But the honeymoon of newness lasted only for few weeks.
Soon the sweating palm below my chin waited either for recess or last bell. In betwixt, I often dreamt, of the kind of school I would like to have, the kind of learning I would like to do, the kind of life I would like to live.
Fortunately for me my dreamland came alive once I was back from home – my parents giving me a space of not just understanding but also of vibrancy. I share below few views from my dreamland, maybe some of these could make your child's year at school a little magical.
I dreamt of a laughing mirror classroom:
Everything in the school was too straight, too serious, too academic, too result oriented. What each of the classes, textbooks, teachers, homeworks, exams needed was to be twisted and turned, to be dressed in long pigtails, to be coloured in crimson and blues, to rock with samba beat and to make learning joyous.
So at home, we (as a family) somersaulted with learning, giggled at our mistakes, tickled at our disinterest and treated every test and examination as the melodramatic ending of Bollywood movies.
I dreamt of a kaleidoscope:
For some funny reason school cuts all learning into straight strips called subjects. Keep both eyes fully open, look straight – one at a time – consume each methodically and regurgitate at the time of assessment.
But my parents allowed me to go exploring geography of fantasies, language of exploration, mathematics of exclamation all jumbled up in a journey ten thousand leagues under the sea. Learning was many a times nonsensical but hugely colourful.
I dreamt of a fish aquarium:
In school everything was uniform – same for all - dresses, teaching, learning, homework, assessments. But whenever I would press my nose against the inviting glass of an aquarium, a variety of swim, flip, pout, style, colours, design and life would enthrall me.
And so I went on to create my own world of eshtyle - to sing a book, to paint an essay, to disprove a theorem, to write a dance, and to dream a sixer!
I dreamt of a roller coaster:
While most in my school were competitive, my mother lead me to treat life like a roller coaster. If you miss the whole fun on the way – the achievements at the end are only full of sighs and mostly we're only out-of-breath (literally).
Result: I caught more butterflies in my garden than stars at the back of my hand, I collected more bruises on my knees than trophies in my drawing room and gained more learning in my mind than marks in my report card.
I am perhaps still in my dreamworld. I am perhaps still in a school called life. I am perhaps professing that if I had to say something, everyday when my child goes to school, I would say, “Go discover yourself”