By ROLI S
A school is an institution where children of different ages come to acquire knowledge and learn about different subjects taught by their teachers. There are schools that specialise in subjects like dance, art, music and so on. The most common kind of school that I have come across in our country is one where students come to learn subjects like languages, social-studies, science, maths, etc with specialised teachers to teach them these subjects. Their knowledge is tested through written and oral exams and students are made to advance to the higher grades according to their performance. Many dreams have been fulfilled and many have tumbled within the four walls of a school. As an educator involved in teaching, teacher training, school reviewing, today, I find myself standing at a place where I feel that I would have been more satisfied with my job if only I had reached out and connected more with the kind of school that I dream of. Whenever I sit down and contemplate the subject during my leisure hours, I always dream of a school with nothing around me, but happy, cheerful, eager, full of life and healthy faces of children having a spring in their steps and joy in their hearts. No matter how impressive or plain the building of a school, I always visualise that the school is filled with the sounds and positive energy of children. We all know that children are sent to school to be taught and to think – in my dream school, children are taught to think according to what works for them, rather than what we teachers impose on them. In my Dream School, schoolbags of children are lighter and homework diaries are not filled up; the so called examination sword does not always hang over the necks of students and teachers and there is enough time for heart to heart talks. My dream school always accepts the fact that every child is different; the school system does not try to fit a hunter in a farmer’s world. The child’s individuality is accepted and welcomed. They are allowed to soar high in the sky with their own fantasies, in their own little world. My Dream School boasts of the fact that no child of the school is afraid and has no burden of studies on his or her little heart. Students are not ambiguous about facing a teacher and the image of the teacher always brings a smile on their faces. I stress on the words “every student’’ because in my Dream School there is a place for dreamers , discoverers and dynamos so all children are always happy. The most important facet of my dream school is that teaching is not taken as a profession, but it is a passion for the teachers; teachers are not mere educators but facilitators, students are not mere children but precious little bundles with so much of love for life and so much to give and share. The school that I dream of gives more emphasis to good values and how to face challenges in life. Every student of my Dream School upon being asked the question – “What will you be when you grow up?”, answers – “A good human being”. My dream classroom does not rattle with dull facts and statistics in monotonous crammed speeches but has a lot of spontaneity and practicality. There is a lot of sound and music, colour and drama in my dream classroom. Students treasure the words of Ashoka in their hearts and flow along with the every movement of the spectacle called ‘The Ganga”. In my Dream School, children do not work to please their teachers and parents but are encouraged to think for themselves, write creatively using the imagination, draw outside the lines and attack problems from their own perspective. The child is allowed to think differently, independently and is allowed to challenge authority. In my school, acquiring genuine understanding of the concepts taught is more important than getting good marks; rigid comparisons and competition are avoided so that children develop a love for learning, rather than hate it. In my Dream School, marks, exams, credits and other external measures of success have little place, but there is more concern for a happy, creatively alive and fully functioning child. My Dream School is a caring place full of passionate teachers who teach students to love themselves, to feel positive, to control their own lives and give it as much attention as they give to learning geometry and grammar. Teachers of my dream school when teaching these lines of Robert Frost: Oh! Give us pleasure in the flowers today, And give us not to think so far away, As the uncertain harvest keep us there, All simply in the springing of the year. Believe in these words and let children, be children. My dream school will have separate classrooms for “academically oriented” and “gifted and talented” children. There is individual consideration for the child. The children take exams at their own respective pace and there is individualised learning, which naturally keeps those eyes sparkling! Shoulders straight! And spirits high! So my dream school, dear readers, is a school which has more heart, more honesty, more tenderness, more understanding and more life. It does not merely have many smothered souls going around doing their duties mechanically waiting for those “ink blobs” called “marks” at the end of the term. The school that I have dreamt of is such where all children stand taller, walk a little prouder, talk a little happier and understand life much better, on their terms.