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Watermelon Is What I Remember
Inspired by a simple conversation with Vijayam-ji and Zarin, we hosted an Educators retreat -- mostly with principals of many schools around India. Three folks spent 3 days traveling in buses, to join us all the way from Nepal! Our core inquiry was around Compassion Quotient, in light of "reinventing schools, revolutionizing education and rediscovering our values."
One recurring theme was around how we teach who we are. That the most effective teacher is one who teaches from the heart, not the book. Malathi, who runs several schools in Bombay with several thousand students, shared a beautiful story of her earlier days as a teacher:
One day, I ran into an old student of mine at the market. When I recognized her, she was elated.We heard lots of great stories, like how a teacher would respond when children misbehaved or pulled a prank. Swara shared how she was transformed when she popularized a nickname for a professor, and the professor called her in. "My professor's name was N. A. Patel, so I nicknamed him Sodium Patel and everyone really caught on to it. One day Professor Patel called me in, since he somehow found out it was me. And he tells me, 'That is a good one!'"
"M'aam, how did you recognize me, after all these years?"
"Your eyes. And your smile."
This young girl from my class was now a mother, carrying her three year-old beside her. As she proceeded to introduce me to her daughter, I was curious what she would remember from the class. "This is my teacher who really loved all us," she explained to her child. "One day, she gave us all watermelon juice in class."
Watermelon?! That's what stuck? Not curriculum. Watermelon juice! At the end of the day, what kids remember are the small acts of love.
I’ve been holding lots of circles with educators this trip, and it’s great to see their deep resonance with ServiceSpace values. An engagement spectrum ought to emerge.