‘Every profession has pros and cons. Nothing to worry about it’- I heard this quotation so many times. When I first joined as a teacher, I was nervous, scared, and inexperienced. As with most things in life, I enjoyed my life being a teacher as time passed. Now my teaching days are over but some sweet memories are still keep popping up every now and then. My husband's job transfers across the country over these years helped me to join new places, new schools, and teach hundreds of new children. Amazing experience!
Some incidents were so remarkable that often it flips in my mind and automatically my lips widened with a smile. One such incident had happened in class ninth. I was their newly appointed teacher for Biology. Their regular teacher was on sick leave, and I had to take over the classes. I had to be well prepared before answering the tricky questions of the children whether class sixth, seventh eighth, or ninth.
As I entered the classroom, the students started glancing at each other with a surprised look, expecting their previous teacher. I grinned at them, and started, ‘So children! For the time being, I’m your new bio teacher, ok! Don't get surprised.’
‘Ooh! Thank you, miss!’ chorus voice responded. They sat tightly fidgeting their fingers.
After delivering a short introduction of myself, and some formal talk, I started the class with the topic ‘Systematic study of organisms. What is meant by systematically organized?’ That's the topic I’ll discuss today.
One of the students stood said politely, ‘Ma’am! We have learned this concept more or less from class sixth onwards. But I have some doubt- confusion about systematic and organized because both the words intermingled together. Can you, please opt some new method to explain both the meanings in the simplest way that I’ll never forget in my life!’ Other children stared at his face.
‘Sure, why not. But one thing,’ looking at my wristwatch, I continued, ‘only five minutes left class to be over. How about tomorrow?’
‘Of course, ma’am. You are most welcome!’ promptly they said in chorus again.
I cheered them with some light jokes and waving my hand left the class.
The next day, in the same class, the children waited with bated breath to see what new method I would opt for. Senior children like to challenge the teachers, especially new teachers. But I was least bothered on that issue. I was new to them but not in the job. I entered the class with a mini trolley carrying some small containers and some bowls. Everybody's eyes enlarged with one question in lips, ‘What's that ma’am?!’
I smiled at the class then asked them to keep patience and watch it. They craned, cocked, twisted their bodies to see what the things were. I called two volunteers to stand by my side next to the teacher's desk. Promptly two children rushed towards me. I instructed them, ‘Look, I’ll put all the items on the table. In two columns, I’ll write the instructions on the board, ok. Read it and follow the instructions exactly step by step. No mistake at all, right? All the containers are well labeled, got it. Now, follow up the instructions and start your work, be quick.’
‘Yes, ma’am,’ they said with excitement.
I wrote the ingredients in the first column one after another vertically while in the second column all the measurements of ingredients but mixed up, not in order, written horizontally. After finishing my writing, I grinned at both the children and asked them to start their work. Enthusiastically the other children observed them. They fixed their eyes on both the volunteers. It was absolutely fun for them. They shouted, ‘Ma’am! These are cake ingredients. Can we taste it?’
‘Of course, you can! Let the cake be baked first,’ I chuckled.
Smart children! Within fifteen minutes they mixed up all that was required. The follower of the first column instructions took a little longer time than the second one, because the second child mixed all the ingredients in a container at a time, stirred it, and kept the container aside. When both of them finished their work, they went back to their seats.
The remaining time I covered up with a short story of Hanuman carrying the whole mountain for one medicinal plant ( Bisalyakarani- tridax procumbens ) which was required for Lakshman.
The whole classroom resonated with laughter. I promised them to let them taste the cake the next day and left the class.
The next day when I entered the class, I heard only one sound, ‘Ma’am cake..’
‘Ok..ok. Wait a minute. Let me settle down.’ First I gave them to taste the second boy’s cake. Everybody's nose formed a wrinkle, lips smirked. ‘Not bad but something is lacking,’ they screamed. When they tasted the second cake, brows pulled up, grinned broadly remarked jointly, ‘This one is very tasty, ma’am.’
‘Well- well, relax! My intention was not to feed you a cake but to explain the question you put ‘the meaning of systematically organized, right?’
‘Well- listen to me carefully. Before starting the cake, I decided which type of cake I want to make. Accordingly, I arranged all the ingredients required, and step by step I wrote how to follow up the procedure. The exact measurement and time gap required for adding the ingredients while in the second column, I just wrote without any particular order. So, the net result is the difference of taste, right! When anything is well planned, arranged in order, followed methodically- the work becomes easier, good, and fruitful. And we can otherwise say it- well organized by a person. While the work is in a hurry without any sequence- the result is not satisfactory. Am I right?’
‘The second cake is a better one only because it was prepared systematically step by step in an organized manner. Another simplest example is... your supermarket! Everything there is arranged categorically which makes it easier for you to sort out the items you require. On the whole, you can say well organized, right? Similarly, the vast number of animals and plants on our planet are systematically organized by great scientists for our convenience to identify the living things- it may refer to animals or plants without any confusion. That systematic study like- Classification, nomenclature everything helps you to reduce your tension to identify. As a whole, systematic is carried out using a planned, ordered method while organized, is of a person who does the work efficiently.'
You remembered Hanuman?! He rooted out the whole mountain for one plant- Bishalyakarani. He could have taken that plant only if he had that knowledge. However, he helped Laxman to regain his life back.
However, hopefully, all of you have understood. Any doubt?’
‘No ma’am. It's clear. Thank you!’
The bell rang. I smiled at them, waved my hand, and left the class in the hope- teaching with fun gives a better impact than the simple lectures.