The Thin Blue Line

Today morning, my sister asked me a doubt involving vectors. She expected me to understand it – and I did understand how they found the cross product, how they formed the coordinates from vector, but nothing of the role of “t” or role of “torque” etc., which she wanted to know. I stared at it for a while and started filling my ignorance and her expectation with gibberish, finishing it with the remark

Me: “Also note that I am a mathematician, and I have no clue what these things do here.”
Sister: How can you say that it’s not your thing? It’s just vector calculus!
Me: “It is, but how and where did this “t” come from? What’s torque? What’s force? How does it work here? I’ve got no clue.”

She got frustrated, and I could see that the friction is on the thin blue line between the two worlds we belong to; of mathematics and physics.

Apart from that; I’m getting back on foot when it comes to teaching; having subjects of my liking and excited students with their eyes wide open while teaching. Though sickness is a curse in classrooms preventing me from raising my energy too much (which is out of my control when I have a real good crowd listening to me – I get a bit too excited!) I am getting better at keeping it in check and delivering with enough energy in classrooms.

I started a new experiment – where it’s monotonous lectures; but lectures focus on students exploring the subject. For example; in Fuzzy, I’d give them a concept and ask them to formalise it into a definition; find examples and counterexamples, guide them into discussion rather than teaching it all – more of discussions in class. It is, so far working well with Fuzzy and Java.

Only trouble is that the pain is more openly pronounced at times – and students have raised their concern; funny that they noticed it more than my colleagues. I am learning my new limits; learning to put my excitement under control (failing which the reminder, the pain shoots up – a damage I feared will happen as a part of growing up – finally has happened.), inability to run  around with infinite energy and reach every corner of the world.

Biggest consolation is three first year students who come for discussions in afternoons – I am,in a way taking advantage of their innocent minds – to re-explore mathematics from a fresh perspective. I don’t teach them, but rather give them pointers for a concept, make them explore it – and its properties, operations on it etc.

I feel I am slowly bonding with 1BSc students. Last week, I went as a substitute when Ruby was on leave – and their joy in seeing me made me excited. I left the class with shooting pain having run around with all energy (and trust me – the whole class patiently listened to all I had to say, with eyes wide open!) I regretted it a tiny bit – because of the pain, but it was a consolation that I missed only the biggest rowdy in the class – even his friends listened to me and every word I had to say. Even he, at times, showed elevated interest – I feel I am connecting with him, too.

All regret turned to joy next day morning when a first year girl came and said that I answered many questions that was disturbing her since college began last day in class. I found another three students, who were a tiny  bit excited about abstract mathematics which I introduced in one such class earlier, about whom I told you earlier – they come for afternoon discussions these days, and I have been learning infinitely many things from them.

Not just that – HOD, Robinson sir, on listening to all these events, asked me if I can, in free hours, give the whole class more orientation towards pure mathematics, and that official word from him was exciting enough. He said that I can make use of any free hours that come by, where I can meet the whole class. Well, that dispels the fear if I am overstepping boundaries.

Best part is that off late, the way I speak subject is pretty much different; I emphasise on the core of the subject; I focus on making them explore it, formalise thoughts rather than me giving them concise conclusion of studies till date – which is a surprise for me as well. If you don’t know me, I am of the sort which knows what I am speaking myself only after I speak it out. This way of speaking seems to appeal to students a lot – I have more class and students involvement than before in lectures, almost similar to student centred activities.

I’m now trying to step into student culture; as a department. Having seen many goodness out of working on better classroom culture inside classroom, I am trying to build a healthier interaction between classes – mainly focussing on MSc students, where I teach this semester. Idea of discipleship translated into secular terms, in other words. Also, many 2MSc students have agreed to stick around Sololearn and take time off to encourage their juniors and help them learn better by challenging them on Sololearn etc.

There’s something crazy that I am attempting to do – I would parttake in 3CA along with students – as one of them. While I mark them for their studies, they would mark me for my teaching once in a week, I will write the tests with them, I will do activities with them, be a part of a group taking rounds. Students are still sceptical about it; but I believe I am doing it right. It will make them better critiques of lectures, teaching, my conduct – which might benefit them if at all they are to teach some day, and also keep a check on myself – I have to be doubly careful to deliver my best to them, if I don’t want to fail in 3CA. 😉

I am in am attempt to rethink exams, as well. At this moment, exams test their retention of fact they learned – which is, of course important. But at a point of history, information was not freely available; books were restricted to libraries, knowledge was limited to few – which made it essential to retain information for ready dispense. But this scenario, in my opinion has changed. It’s time that we rethink this exam pattern as information is readily available these days – about anything under the sky. More than retention, exams, in my opinion should test their ability to capture and comprehend new information; and teaching should focus not of making them by heart more definitions and theorems, but rather equip them with ability to read,understand and explore themselves. But it’s still a vague idea, I have to develop on it further.

Anyway, experiments will continue over the semester, and my only motivation to get rid of the pain is that it hinders my teaching – I wonder if I would have even done anything about it if I have not been teaching.

Meanwhile the students and their affection is conquering my heart in and out. They are caring, understanding (though they don’t know what’s wrong with me – they just sensed that something’s not right) and just there to support when I am struggling.

I on the other hand is enjoying this attention and drama, and this couldn’t tie my happiness when I am so – fact that I am relieved from college duties is making me happy more often these days.

Anyway, I have an odd feeling that it’s time for me to wrap up, with a note that I am liking this new WordPress Gutenberg editor. Super-awesome is an understatement.

Ciao.

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Annoying Uncle

Al’s been pondering about her name for few days now and at last, she decided to have a heart to heart with me today morning.

“Achacha, is Bino a grown up name?”

Achacha is what she calls me – meaning elder brother in certain parts of Kerala.

Me: I don’t know! Achacha’s real name is Jesse.

“Yes, that. Did you ever think if your name is a grown up name when you were a kid?”

Me: May be.

“Alana is not a grown up name. Its Ariel’s sister’s name and I’m not a mermaid”

Me: But Alana is also the name of a MasterChef winner. You should be a chef like her one day, too.

“But I don’t want to be a chef! I want to be a teacher!”

Me: No! Chef! I’ll eat all that you make!

“No. Teacher like Amma and Binochacha. I don’t want to die in a fire accident”

Me: Chef! Chef! Chef! I want food! Now!

(Fading annoyed footsteps) “Amma, he’s so annoying no?”

To-to-do

Well, this is just a list of things I got to do in coming days, mostly as blog posts:

  1. Explore the science behind new story-telling timeline for teaching idea I had in mind. Explore, how, adding it to SCL brings about a good, solid idea.
  2. Explore ideas of observation and deduction in SCL – see how to well balance the training in both.
  3. Rationalise the reviews for Java and Graph Algorithms.Classify teaching techniques, review activities, revision activities, understanding activities etc. accordingly.
  4. Explore Fuzzy from zero to full syllabus.
  5. Make game plan for Unit 1 and 2 for all the subjects.
  6. Review topology, IE&CV, Mechanics and Allied. Rationalise, get opinion from others.

How to blabber mathematics

This is a portion of my sermon on the “dais” in 1BSc Mathematics classroom – where I randomly walked in as a substitute for staff on leave.

Prologue: ‘‘Generalisation is a heartbeat of mathematics. If the teachers are unaware of its presence, and are not in the habit of getting students to work at expressing their own generalisations, then mathematical thinking is not taking place’’ John Mason (1996)

Here’s a disclaimer: I am here as a substitute for your ma’am, who is on leave today. I will be speaking subject, but not what you have to study this semester. That also means, if you are planning to disturb the class – I do not mean little chats in between – but the ones which may upset me – you must walk out of the class now.

I waited for a minute, to assure that I have silence, and their complete attention on me.

I don’t exactly remember if I came to your class before – I vaguely remember coming here. Anyway, hope you know me – I am Jesse, and I teach here.

I had their attention, and all eyes were on me, wondering what I am going to speak about. A bunch of students walked in, claiming that their French class finished late.

Have you ever heard about the exciting bit of mathematics? I am not talking about the kind that you do now – and that you did in your school. I believe you have to wait for a year more to get a picture of it – the exciting bit of mathematics, called “pure” or “abstract” mathematics.

To begin with, let’s do some addition. We all know 2+2 is 4. Let’s take a look at this so called “+”, which we have been studying since standard 1. Easily, we notice that a+b, where a and b are numbers, is another number.

I cannot go dry like this – I must interact with them more – I was happy to see those eyes curiously running all over the board, waiting to see where I am taking this to.

Now, what can you say about a+b and b+a? (shouts here and there that they are equal) You are right! Similarly, we can see that (a+b)+c = a+(b+c). Also, we know that if a+b = c, we can write b = c – a; and turns out there will be a unique number which satisfy this, that is, for two numbers “a” and “b”, only one number “c” will satisfy this condition.

Interesting! Did you ever notice that our little “+” sign had so many beautiful properties? Wait! There is one more familiar “operation” that has these nice properties – multiplication!

Clearly, a x b is a number again – and a x b = b x a! That’s not it – (a x b) x c = a x (b x c)! “x” also has the nice properties of “+” we have been talking about! Does it have all those properties?

Tell me, if a x b = c, what is b = ?

I waited for the automatic response – that b = c/a.

But turns out this fails for one magical number – the number we mathematicians are very scared about – 0! If 0 x b = 0; can you say b = 0/0? I must admit – we mathematicians may be fearless about quite a lot of things in this world – but we are very scared of 0/0 – I will tell you a little secret, if you will not tell anyone – it’s because we don’t know what it is!

There were little growls here and there – they knew 0/0 is troubled waters – but many of them confessed, with their eyes that they never knew that the matter was this deeply disturbing, having joined the league to be a mathematician.

Back to b = 0/0 – it is absurd! Notice that in this case, our “x” doesn’t hold the last magical property our “+” holds, for the special number “0” – but it holds all of the others. Are there any other operations that holds these beautiful properties? Turns out there are many!

That’s why we study them separately, in a subject called “Group theory”. We will define a world, where we will see how each operator that follows these nice properties of “+” fare, given a set of numbers. In a group, we associate one operation to a set, and study it’s properties.

In other words, we will be “generalising” the properties of “+” using the groups, for many operations.

When it comes to group theory, I am tempted to talk about one man, who made enormous contributions to this field – his name goes this way: I write “Galois” on board. Any guesses on how it is pronounced?

They were in the league – I could hear “Galoee” and “Galoees” et al in backdrop.

It’s pronounced “Gal-wa”! These weird French people, I tell you. (The French students who walked in late, now looked up). Our man, contrary to popular belief that we mathematicians are “nerds” and do not have a life – had an exciting, adventurous, short time here on Earth – while he wrote a tiny theory – which no one were able to comprehend when he had written it – may be because his handwriting was bad – just like mine (I do some scribbling on board which they tried to read and failed) turns out it was one of the greatest theorems ever written in mathematics!

Well, he only did tiny things – like walking into king’s palace, and threatening to kill the king – something like shouting “I’ve got a gun!” When Prime Minister is in same room as yours – and he was arrested for it! He was a revolutionary, who died at the age of 21 – in a “duel”. There are multiple reasons quoted for that duel – like cowboys where they point gun at each other and start shooting, but one of those reasons is interesting – and I would leave that to your further research online.

Talking about the little theorem he wrote – it was “decoded” only after he passed away – and in fact, today, it is one of the most celebrated theorems in maths world. You will, if you continue in mathematics, have the fortune to read and study it, by the time you are in MSc.

He was a “child prodigy” – just like Akshay Venkatesh, who won the Fields medal recently.

Well, I went on to gossip about Nobel, and why we needed a “mathematician’s Nobel” called Field’s Medal, then a little introduction to life of Euler, and how his evening walk lead to start of two new fields in mathematics, called graph theory and topology, how he said “Now I can focus more on mathematics” when he got completely blind. We touched up a bit on a few puzzles, and observed that we have mathematics in them too – then to a beautiful subject, called “real analysis”, where we generalise the concepts in puzzles we just did – another pure paper they will come across by 4th semester. We indulged ourselves in history of mathematics department in MCC and why it is in Arts block, instead of science, few great names like Gift Siromoney who saw mathematics in everything, including music, archeology, zoology, botany (and the list goes on), Rani Siromoney, a world famous Formal Language researcher, V. Rajkumar Dare who made many of us fall in love with mathematics etc. and their mathematical contributions, all of which I will not elaborate here – because that’s another few pages I am talking about. For now, Auf Weidersehen.

About Teaching Topology

This is a random thought, exclusively for absolute math nerds:

The blame is on me. I taught him topology, he deformed my favourite coffee mug. What better gift can a topology lecturer expect?

Couldn’t help but post this. Sorry, muggles who are randomly reading this post!

Back to Sanity

Well, this is second part of yesterday’s: I was fairly depressed over nothing, and that post was celebrating the same, harmlessly.

I’ve come to a conscience. I must thank Randy Pausch, my students who said “We were reminded of you when we read that book [The Last Lecture]!” Halfway through the book, I feel we have a lot in common – from arrogance, habits, similar teaching styles, aspirations (his ideas are a bit more mature, given he had experience of years!) – I find three pillars of his life missing in mine – the fact that he acknowledged that he is dying (and I must confess each class I took last semester was as if it is my last lecture), Jai, and he was famous. I am pretty sure of doing the first, and at least one of the last two.

I also plan to take a second SIM, to isolate all academic/professional bonding to that number.

He must also be thanked for convincing me to buy a Kindle – which will save a lot of papers next sem, as I plan on using it to read my lecture notes in class, apart from celebrating return of reading habits for the year.

Dealing with Junk

  1. To better deal with junk, and to keep lectures afresh in coming semesters, I decided to delete all slides, other materials I prepared last semester. May be, typed in materials may be saved – because I can always work on improving it instead of retyping it.

Outline for Next Sem

Subject 1

Class Pattern
  1. During initial days, we will spend two hours for lectures, and the third hour for worksheet.
  2. Class will be split into 8 groups. I will be member of a group, and each group will have 5 person each. Groups will be shuffled 5 times. Each time, a new leader will be opted, in such a way that each person will a be leader, at least once.
  3. You will have to sit in groups for worksheet classes.
  4. Leaders/Group Schedule will be given at the beginning of the semester.
3CA Pattern
  1. Every month, one of the third/sixth hours will be used for review quiz, out of 15 marks each. Same day, leaders will be changed. There will be three such tests.
  2. Instead of fourth, fifth, and sixth test, you will be marked for any attempt to write your own proofs. Average of best of four will be taken, out of 15.
  3. Group leader’s worksheets will be collected and corrected, who in turn has to correct other’s papers and report back. Whether or not to work on those sheets is their wish – I will not force anyone, except the group leader – who will be marked with 5 marks in 3CA, for their leadership and worksheets. Everyone will be a leader at least once.
  4. When you are the leader, I will watch you closely and give you comments on how you can improve yourself. To listen, or not, is your wish.
  5. Another component of 3CA will be assignments, as all of you wanted. It will again be for 5 marks.

Subject 2

Class Pattern
  1. As I am exploring the subject myself, I will be making the rules for it dynamically. This will be the second course of my attention.
3CA Pattern
  1. Approximate: Assignments will be for 20 marks, 20 marks for seminars, 10 marks for some extra activity we may do in class.

Mechanics

Class Pattern
  1. First week will be spend on two things: 1, familiarising ourselves with mechanical systems we will be studying in the semester, and prerequisites required for other chapters.
  2. Second week onwards, once basic is set by teacher sharing the paper, I will start with unit 2.
3CA Pattern
  1. 10 marks for seminar.
  2. 15 for review quiz, one every month.
  3. 5 marks for assignments.
  4. This plan is not confirmed, as I will have to discuss further with teacher I am sharing the course with.

Allied I for Chemistry

Class Pattern
  1. One class will be entirely spend on theory.
  2. Next two hours will be spend on problems, which we will work as groups.
  3. You will be split into 10 groups of 5 members each.
3CA Pattern
  1. Every fourth hour, there will be a review quiz for 15 marks each. Average of best 4 will be taken for 15 marks.
  2. 5 Marks for assignment, to be submitted as a group (and each member will have to answer a question related to assignment submitted).

Done. Dusted.

A crazy semester is done and I have re-dedicated myself to my old decision – leave no traces! I applied it wrong towards the end of last one – I made them hate me as I wound up – I can’t think of why I wanted to end so!

You are not allowed to read any further. Major part, that’s nearly 100% of it is pessimism from someone who was very highly arrogant and optimistic. Then why the hell did I post it here? Because it’s my blog, and here is where I vent my frustration, here is where I feel comfortable, and home when I am most insecure. And it never failed to console me, never failed hide the little tears out here – except now and then, when it gossips about it in WordPress Dashboard of unknown entities around the globe.

Read more

BASH: Certificate Generator

Outline

To go green, this time, we decided to avoid printed certificates for department conference. And from there, came this concept.

Input: Certificate template, NAME, COLLEGE and EMAIL IDs of participants
Output: Generates certificates for each participant, and mails it to them.

Algorithm

  1. Generate NAME, COLLEGE and EMAIL list of participants.
  2. Place NAME, COLLEGE (text) on the certificate template (image) starting at given pixel coordinates.
  3. Fire an email client with EMAIL in to: and addressing NAME in body. I would recommend setting it to manually click send instead of automating it – little time consuming, but I suspect quick, automatic mailing to multiple email IDs may cause provider to blacklist you as a spammer.

Sample implementation

Here is how I implemented it – our conference had 85 participants. I used BASH, imagemagick and Thunderbird to achieve the target.

Reason I Chose:

  1. BASH – cut the codes short to less than 10 lines compared to Java/MATLAB which has its own advantages, but not worth the time.
  2. Thunderbird – Was already installed and configured to my taste and had
  3. convert – I’m on Linux Mint and it’s preinstalled.

Pre-requisites

  1. Any flavour of Linux
  2. “convert” from package imagemagick.
  3. Thunderbird configured with the right email ID.
  4. Certificate template in any common image format.
  5. A file named NameList.txt with NAME, COLLEGE, EMAIL  in one line each. File would look like:
NAME1
COLLEGE1
EMAIL1
NAME2
COLLEGE2
EMAIL2
...

Sample Code

FILE=../NameList.txt
cd Certificates
while read NAME; do
   read COLLEGE
   read MAIL
   convert ../Certificate.png -gravity North -pointsize 20 -annotate +100+318 "$NAME" Certificate.png
   convert Certificate.png -gravity North -pointsize 20 -annotate -200+345 "$COLLEGE" Certificate.png
   thunderbird -compose "from='someone@somedomain.com',subject='Conference Certificate',to='$MAIL',attachment='~/CGAM/Certificates/Certificate.png',format='html',body='Dear $NAME,<br/><br/>&emsp;Please find the certificate attached.<br/><br/>Regards<br/>Organising Secretary'"
done < "$FILE"

This code generates a temporary certificate in the folder Certificates notice that parameter “-annotate +100+318” in line 6 give s x and y coordinates of beginning of NAME text, and similarly in line 7 for COLLEGE text.

Certificate template is placed in the same folder as the script, called Certificate.png. Generated certificates will be placed in subfolder Certificates in  a temporary file “Certificate.png”.

Notes

  • Leave thunderbird closed while running the script else the script fails. (Script will not wait for mail to be send before generating next mail).
  • It’s imperfect enough, if interested, please make a better, neater, simpler app (I am lazy to! :D) so that the world can run it in few clicks.
  • Instead of thuderbird, you can automate mailing using command line utilities like “mail” or “msmtp” etc. Read more here.

Why did I post this stupid code/idea here? I don’t know – what if it helps someone, somewhere in future? I couldn’t find a neat app which does the same online, either! I will try inspire my students to take it up as a personal project and come up with some neat click-to-do codes as well.

The Pillars of Teaching

Here is a quick review of my teaching experiment so far:

Teaching

  1. Motivate students to train themselves to learn from the textbook directly
    Students are encouraged to bring textbooks to class and refer to it while session. It helps them get used to the author and learning by themselves, equipping them to learn in future.

    1. Implementation: Students are requested to refer to the textbook along with discussion in class, so that they get used to the language of textbook author. Bright lot is guided personally to read other textbooks (since notational difference across books might cause confusion to many students)
  2. Divide, conquer and combine
    Class is divided into teams, and starts with  group discussion of concepts for the session, during which I personally go and explain the concepts each group. Then the discussion is wound up with a quick discussion to the whole class.

    1. Implementation: Groups are divided carefully, assuring that there is at least one capable of explaining and taking the discussion forward. One or two groups will be exceptionally good, motivating others to try catch up with them (risky, yet, found it working in both the classes).
  3. Mild future references, before the topic is introduced (Inductive and Deductive Learning)
    Words and concepts that will appear in future are mildly referenced in related contexts in previous classes – helps concrete keywords and generate curiosity.

    1. Implementation: For example, idea of sequences were introduced while teaching counting of countable union of countable sets – using the sequence 2,3,3,4,4,4,…. Extra exercises towards the end refers to next section before closing the chapter, attempting to generate curiosity to explore the next section.
  4. Sequential Learning
    Instead of introducing topics in one shot, it is sequentially introduced,periodically. For example, idea of limits were introduced, and explanation was done a week later, and deeper explanation will come in upcoming weeks. Instead of clouding them with a lot of information one day, it is delivered partially, over time.

    1. Implementation: Lessons are planned in ahead, at present, for at least two weeks.
  5. Convince students to write notes themselves
    Helps them organise and write the concepts themselves, trains them to write better answers.

    1. Implementation: For PG students, instead of giving the whole notes, only the questions and outline of answer, like keywords are given. At present, below average students struggle with this, and haven’t had an opportunity to reach them out personally or devised any other techniques to reach them. Also, it takes time to train students who are not used to generating content themselves – possibly they will be set by 2nd CA.
      For UG, notes are given and are encouraged to work on exercises themselves, and also rewrite the given notes in a different way.
  6. Change their outlook about exams
    Portray exams more like a “self evaluation tool”, rather than writing it out of fear to score more for grades/public approval.

    1. Implementation: Unit revision tests were conducted in the pattern they requested – open book test. But voluntary choice was given to students to avoid textbook, and write it as a normal test – and most of the students chose the latter, voluntarily.
  7. Demand and partially force them to prepare for class in ahead and come
    Notes or portions in textbook for next session is passed on in advance, and students are requested to prepare and come. The days they come prepare classes are exponentially better.

    1. Implementation: Prerequisites are posted at least a day before. References are made during class to content included exclusively in posted prerequisites, motivating students to read prerequisites in future. Haven’t figured out how to motivate majority of the class to come prepared, for now, there is response only from 20-30% in UG and 10-20% in PG.
  8. Incorporate technology, and introduce advanced mathematical tools
    Aim is to introduce mathematical tools available and possibly, encourage students to get versed with it.

    1. Implementation: Simpler tools and mathematical computational tools are used in class to solve problems/illustrate concepts, and students are encouraged to try it themselves.
      Students who approach personally are given guidance to explore known mathematical packages and how to use programming to help learning etc.
      Other possible avenues need to be explored.
  9. Engage with students in co-curricular activities outside class.
    Involve students in out-of-the-classroom researches, studies and activities, that will help them communicate, write mathematics themselves, that boosts their resume.

    1. Implementation: 1. Mini-Research
      2. Programming to learn mathematics/how programming can ease day to day business
      3. The book project
      4. Coaching and discussion in subjects
      5. Other secret projects involving students
      6. Convince and prep students for research under others
      (More being explored)
  10. Method varies with subject
    1. Past techniques
      1. Old school, blackboard – chalk teaching (slow writing speeds was a personal disadvantage and caused loss of student attention).
      2. Projector (Couldn’t grab attention of the whole class).
      3. Projector and printed notes (More effective for subjects like Mechanics, Java).
      4. Partial projector and derivations on board (Real Analysis).
    2. Present techniques:
      1. Projector, Textbook, WhiteBoard for illustrations (Graph Algorithms),
      2. Projector, Textbook, Printed Notes, Black Board for illustrations and explanations (Advanced Calculus),
      3. Activity Based Learning – using Projector, Textbook (Java).

Personal Life

  1. Availability to students
  2. Approachability
  3. Moral bonding
    1. Love them
    2. Trust them
  4. (Possible future) Make students call me by name. Haven’t figured out the ups and downs of it, but will reach that point eventually.
  5. Motivate students to aim higher challenges, and be available for them, at any level.
  6. Life needs to exist outside this puzzle of teaching. Need to find other engagements to distract myself from mathematics on non-teaching days.
  7. Teaching and preps needs to be restricted to be working hours.
  8. Break down and rebuild perspective about Christianity.
  9. Surprise a person a month.
  10. Dedicate a share of monthly income for students
  11. Minimise general expenses.

Professional Advancement

  1. Widen the net of subject knowledge, explore mathematics in natural subjects.
  2. Learn how streams of mathematics were born, inspiration for each stream, triggering moment.
  3. Implementation of other subject concepts using programming.
  4. History of science and mathematics.
  5. Research and publication of papers.
  6. More thoughts and efforts needs to be put into this.

Just writing them down to organise my thoughts so far. Will expand them in course of time!

Roadmap

Personal

  1. Being approachable to more students – now, only ones who respond are being welcomed to conversations.
  2. Encourage students to encourage mutually to aim higher.

Professionally

Start doing something solid!

Teaching

  1. Sharpen current methods.
  2. Make methods reach more students.

 

When life give you lemons…

A friend just posted this as her WhatsApp status:

When life gives you lemon, make lemon tarts – foodie

Such a big lie by an extreme optimistic foodie!

I just wanted some junk to start writing with. It’s been ages since I poured my heart out here and I am sure at the end of the day, this is one of the best thing that happened to me – the blog (which got deleted, again and again).

What’s been happening with me? I got a job, which is not trivial according to society. I am at the onset of my missions, drawing war plans. I’m teaching. I realise that students are the best things that happened ot me and are turning out to be my best friends. I love them, love them all, and that kept me away from this blog all these days! A bit less of love to them, a boring class, a word of correction to them, would disappoint me just too bad – and I took all the effort from my side to not let that happen.

I attended Haggai Institute National Conference, too! That consolidated quite a lot of things God’s been talking to me and much more.

First semester was not perfect – but I think I did a good job. These are the scales I tried to implement:

  1. Be approachable to the students.
  2. Love them, more like fatherly love and not be mistaken.
  3. Devise my own teaching method.
  4. Venture into encouraging students to explore textbooks themselves, and out of textbook, taking it to the next level.
  5. Make friends.
  6. Bring in technology – and make the best of it in classroom and outside.

I am glad to say it’s been a great pleasure chasing these dreams. And satisfying, too! Quite some learning, and in grounds of moral, academic and general interest, these are my aims for the next semester:

  1. Trust the students, and understand the right perspective of trust I must use – like how God trusts me, even knowing I am all determined to misuse the trust.
  2. Encourage them to not stop with textbook, but venture beyond that, to make an impact.
  3. Be prepared with classes well in ahead – a week’s portions to be prepared the week before.
  4. Convince students to take higher steps, aspire higher in studies and life.
  5. Help them, convince them to try get clarity on life, on what to do next and help them in preparing to achieve their dreams.
  6. Finish the book project.
  7. With an evil intention – cultivate an interest in astronomy among students. The intention being revival of department telescope.
  8. Spare a good share of my income at the moment for students, to enable them, to help them in need and to give supplements for study.
  9. Finish planning and start the new mission strategy.
  10. Go home, more often.

That’s a long list already I think. Will expand it in course of time, if necessary. Onward ho! The battle countdown has begun, it’s due to start next week!

Apart from that – marriage is a recurring thought off late – not that I want to get married now, ideally, I would love to meet the lady of my life sometime around now, and get to know her better.

Eagerly waiting for December!

The other best thing in my life are my pen friends. I don’t know – there’s a lot of uncertainty about them that adds to the beauty of relationship – in fact, you just have one short mail a week, and you got to tell all that’s needed to be said that you tend to say only things that matter – unlike other friendships in person. And the wait is uncertain – you don’t know when you will get a mail or even if you will ever get a mail!

Darn. I must write back to them all soon. Time’s been ticking and job kept me busy, and I lost track of it.

I’ll kill my random rumblings here.

Ciao. Hope to write soon again!

P.S. I will be all hyper about this post and delete it very soon, the way I usually do it.