Lessons to Learn

On a recent trek I came across an old fallen log covered with moss, ferns sprouting out of its various nooks and crannies, its hollow occupied by a variety of wildlife small, tiny and conceivably, microscopic. My more knowledgeable companion – an eight-year-old – told me it was a nurse log, a dead tree trunk that serves as a nourishing substrate for a variety of life forms, its dead trunk offering shelter to small animals. A lesson in nature’s means of sustainability and renewal. As we move through the month of October, we have many opportunities to think about these issues in our own lives. Gandhi Jayanthi gives us a moment to think about teachings in non-violence, discovery of the self through education, and an assertion of a national identity that is not restricted by religion, caste or social class. Ramzan is a time for us to vanquish more physical demons and discover within ourselves unknown reserves of energy and creativity. Dussera is both celebration and reflection; the conquest of evil, the joy of art and craft and music and their role in taking us to a higher plane. So what is the connection between all this and the nurse log? From the passage of time comes the opportunity to seek lessons from experience, to look into the nooks and crannies of events and interactions for ways to think differently, to learn afresh, for spaces where new ideas may have nestled and taken root. The mind is something like a nurse log; instead of allowing memories and experiences to decay and disappear as the days fall away, we need to use them as frameworks within which new ideas can take root and be nurtured. We need to use opportunities for reflection to breathe life into these germinating ideas. This issue of Teacher Plus explores topics as far apart as child psychology and magic, cricket and mathematics, our pages serving as a nurse log that you can take into your classrooms to grow new teaching approaches!


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