creating time

IMG_1962Nobody has free time; the only thing is that you have to create your own time for yourself by shuffling your own priorities. I too found my own free time to engage myself in doing the things I like even if it looks bit fancy to my age. I always had a craze for guitar. Right from my young age, I had that craze. Whenever I saw people playing guitar and humming their favourite songs, I used to envy them a lot and wished I could also play like them not realizing how tedious it was. Since then, I had been trying to learn one and thought of buying a guitar. Unfortunately that thought remained mere thought until now! Although the kambakth age had brought lots of change inside me but somehow it failed to diminish my long time passion and craze for this guitar. And then one fine morning, I bought one; a second hand gb&a guitar and it was perfectly fine except for the small dent somewhere on the bottom, which I thought would not affect its melody. Since it was owned by some great guitar player in Dharamsala, it would fasten my learning with his blessings.
So lately I have been practicing; not every night but sometimes. With the help from YouTube tutorial, I take my lessons. I can now play few Tibetan songs which have simple major chords. And this new craze somehow keeps me happy and occupied after my office hour. Sometimes, I got over excited and practiced long hours resulting ultimately in finger ache, which I guess many of the guitarists had gone through. And this is not a big deal in every learning stage. I consoled myself saying “without pain, no gain”. ‘It is never too late to start anything’ and this maxim always pushes me to move forward in accomplishing my childhood passion, which remained unfulfilled even to this day.
Like I have said, nobody has free time. The only thing is you have to create your own by rearranging your priorities. And here I am doing without any complain. So, create your time and

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journey

 IMG_1940Never in my life have I travelled so much like this year. My present designation as the Education consultant or rather specialist of Tibetan Fund entitled me to make frequent visits to neighboring Tibetan schools in connection with the ongoing Teacher Professional Development project. So, on Friday after my short 3 hours session at Sarah with the 6 new Religious teachers on Teacher Professional Development, I made my way to Tibetan Homes School Mussoorie in Dehradun.

Earlier, whenever I got any engagement that needed me to undertake night journey, I used to go a day in advance because if I didn’t do that I would always feel weak and sick. Lately due to these frequent journeys, I realized that I needed to force myself into sleep no matter what. And I did that and it worked. I no longer felt weak and sick. I realized that the reason why I felt weak and sick earlier was my mistake of staying awake looking through the windows and playing with my mobile. So, these days, the moment I got into bus, except for few minutes settling down here and there, I always forced myself into sleep and kept counting the hours I slept to make sure that I got enough sleep to keep me fit the next day.

Due to the acute shortage of passengers going towards Dehradun lately, the regular deluxe buses plying from Mcleod ganj was reduced to either Tempo Traveler or Tata Sumo. So, I preferred taking the regular government bus service. The bus left exactly at 5:30 in the evening and dropped us around same time the next morning; me and my colleague at Dehradun bus stand. It was still early when I reached Rajpur, my colleague’s home and my transit.

After my ablution and petty engagement at THF Rajpur school,  I left for Mussoorie in the car my team mate owned. We were lucky to arrive there right on time as when we arrived the teachers there were carrying on their discussions about their PGP (Professional Growth Plan) to which we were supposed to be attending. The program started at 1:30 and went till 4 pm. We used that wonderful opportunity to talk to the teachers there once again about the TPD and its importance.

Returning the same day, worse than Dharamsala scenario, there wasn’t a single bus going to Dharamsala from Dekyiling that very day I was to return home. Luckily my team mate Gen Tashi Dhoundup la dropped me till Dehradun bus stand. I had to change two buses before reaching here. The bus I boarded at Chandigarh was half filled. And one could well imagine how it would be inside the bus especially when half filled that too in the night of cold November month.  The bus was ordinary and thus windows remained half opened irrespective of how many times one closed the window!

I was wearing the same formal dress that I wore during the presentation; the pant and the blazer and the cold breeze was killing me softly. I occasionally took out my changes one after the other and stack it up on my body! In the wee hour of morning when the bus stopped at some tea stall, I got down from the bus and looked at my clothes. Lo! I was wearing the blazer covered with another coat with thermal casual trouser below. I looked fully blown which reminded me of an English movie I watched long time back; the Nutty Professor! Thank God despite that funny attire, it gave me great relief in keeping me warm throughout my journey after all.

IMG_1948I went straight toward the chaiwala and he gave me a hot nice tea, I could enjoy each and every sip when it went down through my throat. There was a left over charcoal fire from the previous night bornfire. I squatted around the faint fire which was more than enough to give me some heat. When the chaiwala was done with the tea serving, he came near me and joined the fire. He too looked cold and showed me his stack of clothes. I said to myself wow! I was not the only one after all! As usual I started the conversation like since when he started serving the tea and how many buses had already left and how many more to come. He was kind of amiable person and started his long lecture as if he finally got someone to whom he could share his expertise on this field. He said he stayed 24 hours. I was surprised when he said there were around 15 to 16 buses going to Delhi alone and the same number coming from Delhi  around this time! Such number of people travelling every night that too towards Delhi and from Delhi alone! Then he  started telling me even about the schedule of each and every deluxe and ordinary bus and the travel agencies too. While fully immersed in his interesting and informative talk, I completed two cups of tea. By then I gained much heat although the fire we were enjoying gradually got diminished. Suddenly, the driver started the engine and I entered the bus waving my hand to that chaiwala promising him for another visit soon.

Next three hours, I had a sound sleep. When I opened my eyes I was at the Dharamsala bus stand. Since it was government run bus, it had taken us straight into the bus stand otherwise those private buses would drop us in the center of the Dharamsala market. Anyway, it was still early; the sun was nowhere to be seen. So, I walked all the way upto my room. The whole town was wrapped in deathly silence except for the occasional barking of the dogs and the shrieking noises of the baboons and monkeys who were so early yet jobless.

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4th after work

After my work, I took my scooty and went straight to the Kotwali bazaar ATM machine to withdraw some money for the monthly rent and expenses for my Mussoorie official work. I turned towards Amartex on my way back for some shopping. I got call from my new found friend enquiring about dinner. I told him that I would prepare the dinner. I thought of preparing thukpa and so I did buy the ingredients from the kirpa mor veggie vendor.
IMG_1938Back to my room, it was kind of mess with clothes lying everywhere. I really wished to clean my room a little during my week days but could not so far! But I must say that every weekend, I used to clean up my room thoroughly.
Any ways, after putting my personal stuff in my room, I went down to his room with the thukpa ingredients. As usual, he was enjoying his daily peg and it was Rum, which was supposed to keep you warm. That’s their saying! Whatever, I put the things in his kitchen and he had prepared tea because he knew I was not drinking. But, the idea of Rum sound good, so I took one peg from his quarter bottle. While nursing my small peg, I started preparing the thukpa.
Due to my practice, the thukpa turned out well. Normally, my friend would always tell me to wait until he finished his pegs completely. But today, before he could say anything, I somehow managed to convince him to have thukpa first and while it was hot. To my delight, he listened and we both had a bowl full of hot thukpa. It was better than the two three pegs of Rum.
Here I am myself in my own room, scribbling down my feelings. For the next couple of hours till I go to bed, I would be busy brushing up my next day’s presentation at Sarah. And of course to prepare dough for the next day’s breakfast, which I promised to my friend. The previous day, I served him Roti and omelette and it seemed that he especially liked my Roti! Lol

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4th Dec morning

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My friend momo la, bent down by ages

Every morning, while circumambulating the library, which is filled with priceless relics and monuments, I always come across elderly people, some of whom were walking with the help of their walking sticks. The momo la in the picture here is the one to whom I was most connected. Nevertheless, not even once, I dared to ask for her name and family! I had just taken her the way she was; may be the right way of choosing one’s friend?

She could neither hear well nor could she speak , the age has taken its toll on her. Time has made her bend down, despite that she had never given up the habit of circumambulating the library. By the time I reached the library, she would have done 6 or 7 rounds. I would pat on her back; she would look up and say something which I could not understand. Then we would go for a cup of tea at Library café. I would pay the bill and trust me, I feel great. My mother is no younger than her. And talking with her in sign language most of the time, made me feel I was talking with my mom.

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early morning

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Day break scene from my one bedroom window

Lately, there came a trend in my life when I would have distorted sleep and the next day gets spoilt. It may be because of my age.  It was said that one tends to sleep less as one grows old! Well I don’t know! Whatever, last night was one such night. In the middle of the night I could feel myself turning here and there. When I opened my eyes, the first thing I did was to count the number of hours I sleep in total including those twist and turn wake hours. Somehow it comes somewhere around 6 – 7 hours, the required amount as per many experts.

Oh yes! I forgot about the dinner. Well, in the kitchen my eyes caught the sight of leftover cooked noodles, thinly cut cabbage and carrot. There was no better food than thukpa or chowmein for those combinations. So, I made thukpa and luckily that thukpa turned as yummy as hotel thukpa!

I chat with my wife and children. They were also done with their dinner and almost ready to retire to bed. Normally, their side of the world sleeps earlier because they are following the school schedule.

I didn’t watch any movies on my lap top last night. Oh yes, I don’t have TV in my rent room. I would be here for a couple of months and as such I would be good with the bare necessity and not more. My laptop replaced TV and the internet entertained me when there wasn’t anything I was engaged in.

Nevertheless, I am feeling fully refreshed and I am ready for yet another exciting and eventful day. Next two days, I will be bit busy with presentation and school visit somewhere in Dehradun area.  The sun is peeping from the mountain now as I am scribbling these words here. Early morning people going for work, the labourers from the plain; the man with their little children on their shoulder; and the women with huge basket with their packed lunch and water in both their hands, climbing the slope listening to their favourite Hindi oldies songs from their mobiles.  It kind of remind me of the long time romantic story of Thomas Hardy ” Far from Madding Crowd” in which Michael was walking town from the hill towards the country fete with his wife and children. Wow! Before I get lost retrospecting into those good old days, I must cease here and begin my morning rituals! Bye n have a gud day……………….

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3rd Dec

3rd December: The day was usual except for the unprecedented encounter with my three colleagues from TCV Suja near Nechung Gompa while I was on my usual circumambulation. I looked at my watch and it was quarter to 9 am, the time my office hour starts. We stopped for a couple minutes’ conversation, through which I came to know that they had come back after having an audience with His Holiness at the main temple early in the morning.  Having heard that and taken for granted that they were tired, I took them for a cup of tea at nearby Library canteen. Three Ginger hot Lemon for them and one milk tea for me.

Since the time was about to Office hour, there were cluster of people around the premises of the Library, sharing their events past and future. There were few elderly people busy circumambulating the Library in their small groups and pairs. We took our seat near the main gate of the canteen where we could get sun light. Our short little conversation took us from the 20 years service, which they had completed this year to the current condition of our school.

Gradually people started going to their respective departments and offices.  I hurriedly bottom up my cup of tea and cleared the bill. Lhakyi la, one of them loves capturing every special moment in her tab, suggested for a group photo. So. I took her near the Library gate which was filled with beautiful designs. We had to spend few minutes waiting for someone to take a group picture! Somehow, as if the God had sent, there came a man and so we asked for his favor, which he did happily. Here is the picture with myself in the middle of three ladies! Lovely start of the day!

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myself in the middle with the ladies

I bad then good bye and went straight to my office. I extended my whirl of apologies to my boss and my lovely colleagues.

I was asked to give one session TPD presentation to the newly recruited religious teachers, whose workshop was presently going on at Sarah.  I prepared some ppt for that.  It would be my second presentation, the first one was a couple of months back for the newly recruited Music teachers.  I am bit excited for that day!

The lunch at Chethab (Common Mess) was rice, Bok Choy, Dal and Tingmo. My colleagues and I ate around one table enjoying our petty little pocking business here and there. LOL  The afternoon tea was great relief. The Library staff was enjoying their Theb-lay, in which one of my friend Dr. Chok was expert. My two colleagues joined them while I joined the conversation going on among our other friend circle.

After office, I retired to my room. First thing, I served myself a wonderful sweet tea which I took outside my balcony. Just opposite my building, there was one young boy flying kite. He was trying his best to fly his kite higher and higher. There was no good wind and I could see him push his kite stronger and stronger but each time he tried, the kite shoots downward. His struggle went on and I didn’t lost my patience but he did. He packed up his string completely and by that time my tea was finished! The darkness cast over and the lights in the nearby houses lighted up. I found my way back to my room thinking about my dinner.  Seemed to me dinner comes very soon!

I was alone in my room. Sound of the music from nearby wedding could be heard. My mobile was lying few feet away from my desk. I could hear my next door neighbor chopping something hard. I inspected my kitchen and saw my sink choked with last night’s dishes. Rations were in ample. Could not decide what to make for dinner.

I will stop here and let you guess what happened next. See ya tomorrow

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journal 1

The previous day, after my hard day’s work I relaxed myself for a cup of tea as soon as I reached my room.  After my usual customary things at room, I watched “Finding Neverland”, a movie based on the life of playwright JM Barie who falls in love with a widow, mother of four children.  In the movie, the main hero never misses writing his journals. Every day, he would write daily journal, which ultimately made him a great playwright. At once, I made up my mind to write atleast few journals which would keep me in touch with writing and jotting down my feelings and emotions. Earlier I had tried many to write journals but failed somehow. After watching that movie, somehow I felt the importance of writing journal so that I can share my feelings with my readers, especially my children.

So here it goes my first journal today!

2nd December,Tuesday: The sun had already entered my room, whose curtains were wide open. The time was 7:30 in the morning which was quite late as compared to other days. May be because of the late night movie watching!

IMG_1926After ablution, I made Alu Parantha, omelette and left over mix vegetable. I left my bed unattended and went to office, but only after turning towards Nechung monastery as usual for offering. Daily one round at LTWA makes me feel satisfied spiritually!

The work at office was all same.  My office is on top of Gangkyi ground and can enjoy the whole scene of Gangkyi. Around 9 everybody is back in their office except for people coming and going for other purposes. The lunch was Thukpa, which kind of suit the weather. I had two bowls. One hour lunch break was great relief after staying on the chair for few hours! Groups of people in their own friend circle were found basking in the sun and enjoying their daily dosage of gup-shup.

Days are getting shorter these days. The cold we once had has not yet come, thank God!  Around 5 pm by the time office closes, I came back to my room which was heated well by the sun. A cup of tea and sweet music announced my own personal time. When the darkness spread over, I move towards my balcony to enjoy the beautiful night life of the Kotwali bazaar.

IMG_1931My mood was on and I made a time consuming veggie chowmein following an elaborate procedure, with soft music accompanying me in my room. I watched “Like Crazy” an English movie I recently downloaded through utorrent. It was a love story and perfectly went went with my chowmein. I could not connect to my family today and assume they were just fine.

The night was getting dearer, lights around my neighborhood were going out one by one. It was also quiet except for the occasional barks of the dogs. The eventful day comes to an end and on the other side of the world, their eventful day starts.

My journal continues then…………….

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A personal thought on Teacher Professional Development

imageMy present job as the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) officer, offered me not only a whole new opportunities for knowing various Tibetan schools- which I should be knowing earlier being a teacher though- but also a good opportunity to reflect myself as a teacher, which is one of the most important clause in the Teacher Professional development. Frankly speaking, as far as my photographic memory is concerned, I seldom reflect myself as a teacher which I now realize form a big blot on the face of my career as a teacher for all these years. And like me, there may be or may not be who had the same take on this either due to ignorance or lack of reading books related to pedagogy. I used to have the same traditional way of thinking when it comes to teacher professional development i.e. to merely wait for some external resource persons, which I now realize is out dated. Having now learnt and worked actually in this teacher professional development project myself, my eyes are kind of opened widely to the new developments that are taking place in countries like Sweden, Japan, Finland etc whose Education systems are exemplary. Not only myself, but all those who are related to the Education of children, particularly the teachers, should feel proud of practicing this new paradigm in our Tibetan schools.

This TPD, like I have already said above is not something teachers or the Department of Education has not thought of or done during the course of the evolution of Tibetan Education. It had been given top priority then but it was basically done in the form of, like I have said before, workshops most of the time. Some workshops are arranged and a couple of teachers attend these workshop over a period of time, drink as much wine of knowledge while in the workshop and then go back to their respective schools, where they share with other colleagues. As simple as that! And I must say that we are not the only one who follow this system, in fact there were many others sailing in the same boat with us until recently.

Like the new paradigm that is taking place around the globe in the field of Teacher professional development, the Department of Education, CTA with the fund from USAID through Tibet Fund put forward its baby step by having its first Education Advisory Committee meeting in June 2013 which strongly recommended this new paradigm in the Tibetan Education system. And this was further followed by a series of meetings and discussions like the 6th Tibetan General Conference on Education and the workshops for the school heads in January this year. And finally, Dr. Mati Bernabei, a Canadian Educator working along with the Department of Education through the USAID, Tibet Fund published a culturally relevant document titled: Teacher Professional Development Framework and Guidelines after undergoing lots of feedback sessions among educators, schools heads and teachers. This document, which carries huge resources for the teachers and educators was published by the Department of Education, CTA and had been distributed in all the 11 pilot schools in the first phase. With the formulation of this important document, the Department of Education hopes to see a new constructive change in the Education system among Tibetan schools.

What is Teacher Professional Development?

Teacher Professional Development is a program by which teachers take their personal initiative to develop their own profession by working collaboratively with their colleagues rather than depending solely on workshops. In this competitive world, each and every professional is having a rat race inIMG_1060 developing and refining themselves in order to give better yield than the others. Teaching is one of the many professions, in fact a very important profession which deals with shaping the students’ future. More than the other professions, teachers whom the students look up as “knowledge giver” of course have to develop their profession. I retrospect Mr. Meganathan, a professor at NCERT, New Delhi echoing during one of the workshops I attended “Stop teaching like the way you have been taught when you were students!” Likewise John Dewey said, “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of their tomorrow”. Very true! Books have changed, times have changed and most importantly students have changed. So, in order to teach in a new way we need to grow more professionally. The knowledge we had when we did teachers’ training course is insufficient to cater to the needs of the new students. So, we need to read more books related to pedagogy and children, which were already fulfilled by this project through providing books for the Teachers’ Reading corner in all the 11 pilot schools. A lot of developments have been taking place everywhere in everything especially in the teaching. As such through teacher professional development programs like this, teachers without relying much on the outside resource persons, come together and do collaborative practices such as forming lesson study groups, peer mentoring, lesson observation, co-teaching etc apart from these they can have subject matter book discussion groups, where there is no room for outside resource person and where teachers take ownership of their own professional growth. Such programs have to done on a regular basis.

Why Teacher Professional Development and its benefit

It was proved through researches that the quality of an education in a school reflects the quality of TPD and the effectiveness of the school leaders. Better the TPD, better the quality of education in a school. Researchers have found that a good education for a student revolves around the teachers, school and the parents. Out of these three, it is the teacher who plays very important role in the kind of education he or she gives to the students. As such, teachers need to grow professionally rich every year by learning new things as John Cotton Dana puts, “Who dares to teach, must never cease to learn”. By taking part in TPD program such as collaborative practices, it will give the teacher a chance to learn new methods and strategies of teaching from one another which will eventually affect his/her teaching. A teacher with 20 years’ service for example, if he or she did not bring any change in the teaching, it is same as one year experience repeated 20 times! So, the kind of education a teacher gives to his/her student hugely depends on how much he or she has grown professionally. So, teacher professional development is indispensable for the improvement of education quality. Paradoxically, all the schools and the nation aspire for better education system.

What Next

P1030741Having realized the important role TPD takes place in giving a quality education, which everybody wants though, all the stake holders need to be mentally prepared for some small changes and without drawing any conclusion. Generally any change especially towards a productive result, is something that get on everyone’s nerve without realizing that gradually with the passage of time, especially when you really get the taste, it gets into your routine completely and you don’t feel it at all! Having worked as teacher for a long time, I have undergone the same phase whenever a new program comes. Through this TPD, we need to work collaboratively to make our teaching more effective and refine. Keeping aside all our personal liking or disliking and our own created walls, we need to work collaboratively once a week or a month on a) and prepare a lesson plan or b) demonstrate a lesson, or c) have post teaching discussion and feedback session or d) rewrite some previous lesson plans. As I have said earlier, it will be uncomfortable especially if you have not done this before but I bet everything will be so enjoyable and fun once you carry on. It is now almost 4 months since this program has been implemented in the 11 pilot schools; 6 TCV Schools, 3 Sambhota schools and 2 Tibetan Homes Foundation schools and the way the collaborative practices are going is highly commendable although there is no limit for success. So, it is important for each and every teacher to take serious part in such collaborative practices to develop professionally which ultimately affect the student’s education. And the schools heads need to give priority to this teacher professional development program and give support and guidance from time to time.

Remember

To sum up everything here, the teacher development programs which are being carried out in the schools in various degrees need to be treated with top priority by the teachers and the school heads keeping in mind the fact that the quality of education is directly proportional to the quality of teacher professional development and the effectiveness of the school heads. The collaborative work of two or more teachers is far better, effective and refined than that of a single teacher. Let us all be ready to incorporate this little indispensable change in our daily profession for the good of our future generation. Let us all sail together and drown together but let us not give up this positive endeavor we have already begun. I remember a quote from Robin Sharma which says, “Who will cry when you die”. While working whatever and wherever, we need to do it in such a way that everybody misses you and literally cry when you die or leave and that will be the most satisfaction part of your life. Together we can and will take this TPD to the height we all have been aspiring for.

Tenzin Dhargyal Tibet Education Project Specialist The Tibet Fund, Dharamsala

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The First Day of My Contract Job at Tibet Fund Office, Dharamsala

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One bright Sunny morning in the office

 After working in a school for a good twenty years, I thought of taking a year break and doing a new job just for a change. Lately, I developed some fancy for working in some offices near my resident. Actually, I had wished I could join a monastery or an old age home to give whatever service I could to the best of my ability.  In the wake of all these pondering, one of my friends informed me about this present job at the Tibet Fund. So, after discussing with my family and relatives, I decided to give a try.

So, I came to Dharamsala for my first office job with a free lodging from my friend, Dr. Chok. I joined the Tibet Fund for an eight-month contract job, to replace one senior Education Specialist, who would be soon joining TCV School.

The office was located on the top floor of the former Khashag building, which is shared by the Department of Health. There is a long stair going straight towards our office. From my office, I could see the beautiful view of Gangchen Kyishong, the tiny roads and the snow capped mountains.

As I walked into the office I was greeted and hand shaken by my new colleagues. The office was small and cosy with only five staff members who look nice and pleasant. The very first impression I got about my colleagues was good. Mr. Bob, whom I was supposed to be meeting, was not there but there was someone next to him. He gave me some documents to read which I completed.

It was 9 am and I had to stay in the office till 1 pm when the lunch would start. Since it was my first day, I did not have to be serious. I just sat at one corner and read some documents which Mr. Kalsang la gave.

I came from a very active and lively environment, in a sense when I was teaching; I would go to a class, run here and there, and talk with the students and colleagues. There was not much time for me to sit and do long work. Over here, it was bit different as I was in my office occupying one chair doing the work continuously except for the occasional fresh air break. Everyone seemed busy in their own desktops and there was silence except for the occasional enquiry here and there.

For me it was very difficult to occupy a table and sit on a chair till 1 pm and then from 2 pm till 5 pm. I was not used to such an atmosphere before.  I remember going out of the office so many times to stretch my legs, take long breath and stretch my head and shoulder on the very first day. Probably, my colleagues understood me. During the one hour lunch break, I asked one of my colleagues whether it was okay to go out often. I felt relieved when I heard that I could!

The office has a big thermos, which was filled with hot water all the time. And there at one corner were coffee and the tea leaves: both masala and herbal, which we could have anytime. So, that was something that really came to my help as I had missed having hot water during my long educational tour.

The lunch started at 1 pm. I had heard a lot about “Gangkyi Chithab”, the common staff kitchen. So, I went with my colleagues and joined the long queue. For me, the long line was not a problem as I was fully excited to get the experience of the mess. While waiting in the queue, I kept sending my eyes here and there. There were so many young staff members and it was good to see them.

Within some minutes, we were in the mess. The mess fare for a meal was Rs. 15/- which my colleague sponsored. The food was nice and there were so many familiar faces too and my former students. The whole mess was buzzing in their small cluster of groups here and there, which I liked because it was a bit change of air from the office.

___________________________________ X X X _____________________________________

An apple of one’s eye

The recent news of Tenzin Chokyi of THF bagging the most coveted Sikyong Merit award for her 95.4 percentage in the All India class XII CBSE board thronged the social media like face book and twitter and generated much excitement amongst the Tibetans. The news came as a blessing in the wake of a time when everyone was worried about young Tibetans not performing as well as their Indian counterparts academically. One could feel the joy and ecstasy among Tibetans from all walks of life, on hearing about Tenzin Chokyi’s achievement, irrespective of  whether they directly know her or not. This shows that our ears are always longing to hear about such great achievements by any Tibetans in any field. The CTA under the leadership of Sikyong himself took the matter seriously; she was given the due honor and publicity.

Thus, this gesture from Sikyong and CTA has sent a strong message of encouragement for not only the young Tibetan students to excel in their studies but also for both the parents and teachers to motivate children to achieve academic distinctions. Tenzin Chokyi’s performance has broken the long held notion that securing more than 95 in the class XII board exam is not possible! It is also a new beginning and a good omen for producing more Tenzin Chokyis in future.

Namgyal Rapper’s song “No Next Time” quite vocally asserts that it was high time for the students to show their results, riches to show their economy, heroes to show their valor etc. I really agree with him. It’s time for all of us to show the perfect results in whatever we are engaged in otherwise there is no next time.

I feel the need for holistic effort; focusing only politics will not serve to fulfill our immediate and ultimate goals. Jamyang Gyaltsen la, the Education Officer at Department of Education CTA in his article “BEP Myths Debunked” April 13 2013 in Merabsarpa.com had lamented that most of the discussions in exile community was political in nature and that discussion on education was rare.  I agree with him. Discussion about Education should be held at all levels and it is as important as our political discourses. Further, the role of improving the educational standard should not be confined to educational institutes alone- all should share the responsibility.

The introduction of various scholarships by Sikyong through the Education Department had motivated the present students a lot. And today, Tenzin Chokyi had done her part and made all of us Tibetans proud. I hope and pray that this may not be the first and the last but a beginning for thousand others to follow her footsteps. The need of the hour is to make the younger generation aware of the importance of education in the field of our freedom struggle.

As it is obvious that we all yearn to hear the news of Tibetan students bringing laurels, we need to cultivate the habit of giving importance to education from all the stakeholders; students, parents, teachers, administrations, and organizations alike. With that synergy, I hope there will be not just one but many more young achievers among us.

Tenzin Dhargyal

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Retrospection into my early English learning

My first formal introduction to English Language began when I was admitted in my primary school located in the heart of the village I was born. My parents had escaped from Tibet due to the Chinese occupation of my country. They gave birth to me in that small Tibetan colony. It was back in early 70’s. I had a vague knowledge of my English teacher. She was a Tibetan lady, same as me having small eyes, dark hair and hardworking. I put my first step into learning the disassociated words like the 26 alphabets and some registers of English. I would be very happy when I was able to narrate all the alphabets and words given by the teacher then. When I went back home, my parents were illiterate and as such could not give much input. Some students who were better would narrate the alphabets backwards. There was a textbook too. English was taught with same importance given to the mother tongue. That was how people of that generation had been taught.

Gradually I moved from primary to secondary and secondary to senior secondary. All the schools I had attended were English medium schools. All the textbooks we had used in all these classes were NCERT publications. I remember mugging up the textbook exercises then. The one that comes in mind even today is, “Where did Ramalinga live? Ramalinga lived in the kingdom of Vijayanagar”. The teacher would translate line by line what was written in the textbook. Grammar was taught in total isolation. There was very little or nothing when I remembered talking and discussing with my peers in the class then. I really didn’t know how my English was then but what I could guess was I might be good for the fact that I cleared all the subjects related to English like Social, Science, math etc. apart from Tibetan subject. If I had faced problem in English, then I would have faced the same problem in all non Tibetan subjects!

During the time of my schooling especially when it comes to English language which was my second language in early 80, there wasn’t much changes or development in the ESL I guess. The methods used by the teachers were mostly Direct Translation, Grammar Translation etc. There was a great role of rote learning. I don’t remember my teachers attending workshops like us. There were very few native speakers as well as people who speak English language. But whatever we had learnt that time had helped a lot because the basics of English were taught whether we had understood or not that time. English at time, when I look back was taught only for academic purposes and not on the basis of Inter-personal communication. The teachers were very hard working and would do all they could. That was how they had been taught to teach that time.

I finished my +2 in 1990. Some of my class mates were very good in English. They had already started reading novels and could understand well. I was still very good. I remember my brother complaining about my poor English. I really didn’t understand why there was much difference. Today I realize it was because of the interest and the awakening. I was not that much awakened and I didn’t feel the necessary that time. Even after completing my schools, I felt uncomfortable speaking.

Gradually, I graduated and became English teacher. And today the children are taught by me in a total different way which was not the way I had learnt when I was a student myself. I got exposed to many native speakers and faced the real language in my life. I studied English with lots of interest as it was my profession. So, I studied with reason so that I could answer my students’ queries. After attending language teaching, B.Ed, reading, attending workshops, I came to know various methods of teaching English. I made myself aware of various methodologies related to teaching of English. I realize that English can be better learnt in real life context.

Over the decades, lots of revolutions had taken place in the field of learning especially English language. The research in the field of teaching English is still going on and the learning process has no end. Teachers are also introduced to various updates about teaching of English. Today my students are more exposed to English language outside their classrooms.

Most of my grammar and linguistics were learnt in the school but the speaking and reading were learnt outside my class room when I mingled into real world. The method of teaching was not refined during the time of schooling.

 

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