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Torn

I was sitting down with J.  He had approached me for help with his studies. We were solving some sums on electricity. It was leisurely. I had no meetings, he had no lessons. He was irritating me with his blatant disregard for norms. He did not write any units and did not include any symbols, just a long string of numbers and their mathemtical operators. I knew he got the concept right. But he would flunk his tests. Did he understand? Yes. Could he express it? No.

J was a misfit in our educational system. He was curious, vocal and passionate for things that stirred his inteests. Wait a minute. Isn’t this the qualities of a model science student? No, not in our system. He could not sit still in a class of 40, slept when the teacher droned on, refused to do what the rest did. I wondered if he would be better off doing what he liked best outside of school. I wondered if he would learn, not through school, but in spite of school.

I am torn. While not all my students are like J, I recognise that as individuals, I need to capture their imagination. I need to allow them to think, question, get stuck and stick at it even as the clock goes ticking by and the assessment date draws nearer. I need to let them learn at their own pace. I am not sure if I can stand this tension much longer.

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