I do not help when they think it is needed
One child was climbing a tree and asked for my help. I asked, “How do you want me to help you?” He said, “In climbing down.” I asked him, “How did you go up?” He looked down, found his foothold on the tree and showed me, “This way.” And he came down. I asked again, “Where do you need my help?” He replied, “Nowhere” and he climbed the tree again.
I help when it is not needed
Four kids were working on a tree house. Everyday they were doing something, and they did not need my help (intervention). I asked, “How are you tracking your progress?” They said, “We did not think about this.” This started a new chapter in their life. First they guessed how many days, how much time everyday and how much they were able to do in one day. They were tracking! They made a graph to track – “How much we think we are doing and how much we are actually doing.” This brought a complete twist to their work.
Talk when not needed
Two dogs were mating, one child said, “When will they stop doing such sick things?” I invited him, “What does ‘sick’ mean?” He said “Them doing this.”
I asked, “Do you know when our body changes, hormonal changes also take place. As we grow our feelings change. Do you feel something when you see people of the opposite gender?” He said “ My CP grows bigger when I see bikini scenes on the TV.”
I shared, “What makes penis and vagina centre point. I see no proportions height-wise.” Another child educated me, “It is not lengthwise, it is sideways center point.” I further asked, “Have you heard about sexual abuse? When it is nice and when it is abuse?” Some kids said “Aunty, please no-more.” Some said, “Tell us more.”
Do not talk when you need to talk
We were doing experiments with air. During the session I introduced the concept “cause and effect diagram.”
One child used the same concept in reflection, I did not correct him or change anything. I did not want him to understand now what I understood about cause and effect. I wanted him to try in many different ways and construct his own understanding.
Here is what he tried:
Cause – In tree house railing, I was aware that I am suppose to do the railing.
Effect – But I was talking to other children.
Cause – I was nature leader for this week.
Effect – None came to me asking for the things in nature club.
Cause – Running is must for me.
Effect – On Wednesday I ran slow, because I lost my energy laughing and teasing others.
Cause – I was supposed to make a comic on self learning.
Effect – Instead of that, I was working on a video and seeing what others were doing. I learnt that I am supposed to do my work and not bother others.
Do not remind when they forget
One child set his goal and I asked, “How will you track your time planning? He asked if I did not know how to track? I asked again, “Tell me, how do you keep track of what you want to buy for your b’day?” He said “I know what I want to buy, then I collect and keep track….”. He exclaimed “I now know how to keep track.”
Learn when you want to teach
One child in my session likes to mimic winners and heroes. He buys their clothes and accessories which makes him look like them (latest is football players), he watches their actions in the match and copies the same actions and announces, “I did this like him.”
In the beginning, I was irritated with his attitude. I also had a choice to complain about parents in general, the present environment and how children were pampered. I decided to do it ulta pulta.
We talked about “inspiration”.
We looked at the dictionary to find the meaning of “inspiration” (this is how I introduced the word, without worrying about the meaning.
We talked about the different usages “How can oceans inspire someone to paint?”
We looked into the various things we can do to inspire – copy, read about them, develop skills, spend time with people who inspire us, do something with that inspiration.
Suddenly my irritation turned into inspiration:
I got inspired by this child.
Be silent when there is turbulence
During an outstation trip, I told the children that since it was dark, they should go behind the bus, take their luggage and then proceed towards the hotel. One child however went into the dark. I spoke to her, “Let’s discuss your understanding about safety”. She started “why should I talk to you, my parents did not send me to talk to you, why should I waste my money and talk to you and not go and play with my friends? I do not want to talk”…………….. I listened silently for half an hour. In between, when I got the chance to speak, I repeated “I am talking about safety and listening”.
I do not remember how we ended the conversation.
Next day, she came to me and said, “I am sorry about what I did last night”. I was angry. I started “I do not deserve, I am not going to listen again…………..” Other children told me “she came to you to say sorry and you were angry with her.”
I went to her and said “sorry, you came to say sorry to me and I was angry.”
She said “It’s okay, I know sometimes people cannot tell sorry when they are still angry, I should have waited for your anger to come down.”
After this she said again, “I am really, really ,very sorry for what I did last night.”
Phew!!! This child made me think with her own thinking and simplicity and complexity of her expressions.
Create more resources for them
A 16 yr old came to me “aunty I want to learn English”.
Another 5 yr came to me “I am reading a book, I want to work on my reading”.
I asked, “how about both of you working together?”
They read together, later they wrote together.
It’s in my hands, not yours
One child used to go out of the session and it used to worry us. But we also did not want to stop the child from going according to her/his need. The child’s safety was our concern. We created hand signals for them to inform. Everytime a child was out of the session, we would work with “how will you inform”. So the child understood that our concern was not about he or she going out, but about informing. And soon it became a nice communication between us. We had three fingers – one for informing, one for asking and one for keeping it back.
Give me surprises
Often a number line with beads has the 10th bead differently to mark the unit of 10. We painted a number line on the wall of Aarohi. We used bead strings with something different at all uneven intervals. For instance, a card was hanging at number 17 and not at number 10. The whole thing made it unpredictable. It was an ulta pulta resource.