Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Teaching the most important things....

"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given"

I have a younger brother and sister. Back when I was growing up, I was very involved in my brother's education. He is almost 8 years younger to me. My mother always encouraged me to get involved in his education. "You are the eldest... you have to teach your siblings... you need to teach them all the important things they need to learn". And I took that responsibility pretty seriously. When he was in grade school, I even used to go to his PTA meetings, and talk to his teachers.

Now, when I have two kids of my own, I want my daughter Reya to be involved in Rithik's learning. I keep telling Reya that she can teach many things to Rithik. Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression. I tell Reya to influence Rithik by teaching him all that she knows because Rithik observes everything that she does. And looks like Reya has taken the role seriously. She made me open the foam alphabet puzzle (A birthday present for Rithik that I had been hiding because of all the mess that it would make in the house) with a promise that she will teach alphabets to Rithik.

This is what happened one fine day...

"I already did alphabets and numbers with Rithik today. what can I teach him now." Reya asked
"Oh! There are so many more things... you can teach him words, good manners, songs, games.... there are so many things he can learn from you" I said.
"OK! I know what I will teach him today" Reya smiled brightly.

About 15 minutes later, I go in the kitchen and this is what I saw...

Reya  and Rithik were sitting on the dining table. There was a jug of water in front of them. Both the kids were holding a glass of water in their hands.

Reya was saying "Rithik you are not following! Look at me. This is how you do it."... I was curious... what could Reya be teaching to Rithik with a glass of water. Then I got the answer when Reya drank some water, let out a big burp and said "SEE RITHIK! THIS IS HOW YOU BURP! NOW TRY IT"

That's teacher Reya for you! A mediocre teacher tells , A good teacher explains , A superior teacher demonstrates. Clearly Reya is a superior teacher!

And that's not all. Over the last month, Reya has taught Rithik among other things...
  • How to wear a cape and act like Superman.
  • How to make the most annoying slurping sound.
  • How to take a bubble bath.
  • How to jump in puddles, especially the muddy ones.
  • How to spot ripe tomatoes for picking "Rithik, no green ones, only red ones".
  • How to pester Mommy for some TV time.
  • About 100 new words.
  • To kick Mommy's seat in the car while sitting in the back.
  • Corrected Mommy so many times "Mom! Don't say Doggy, say Dog. Otherwise he will learn the wrong word"
  • How to laugh hysterically
  • Make a shrieking screaming noise, especially in public places.
  • Jump on beds
  • How to spill water all over the bathroom while taking a bath.
In the end, I may not always agree with what Reya is trying to teach Rithik on a given day, but I am surely glad that she is taking an interest in shaping his personality. And I am actually glad that from time to time, Reya disagrees with me on what is "important" enough to teach Rithik because that tells me that she is developing her own independent thinking!

Like I said in the beginning, "More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given"

Signing off,

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  1. Lovely blog girl!!! I read all your posts in a single sitting. There are so many things I could relate to.

    Yes, my daughter does the teaching thing and at one point she was worried my son did not know his alphabets and my son taught her to pester mom, ask for more tv time and all other life skills.

  2. Geeta, Welcome to Reya and Rithik. I checked out your blog too and it felt as if our lives are parallel universes. BTW, I think we share the same birthdays too.