Rajasthan & Agra: Class VI Excursion
by Riad Mahmood
Subject: Back Home!
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 12:37:04 +0530

As the trip comes to an end I can't help but acknowledge the deeds teachers do. It touches me to see people do things out of concern and passion rather than duty. Every day was a new day. Never did they carry the fatigue of the previous day into the new one. To them the need to reach out to every child was from the heart. The desire to make sure that every child was okay or comfortable was paramount. Never did I see anyone wanting or unattended to. I think this is something we can be thankful for. The Head Start teachers overall think with their entire beings and this is something a student will look back on in time and remember.

Our teachers were able to put aside their own issues and concerns for the entire trip to make sure this was their family for the week. It was a long journey covering good one thousand or so kilometres within Rajasthan itself, and needed their complete attention every minute of the day. Some had worries of things back home but carried on with smiling faces. Thanks friends!

Our last night in Ranthambore was a time of reflection and fun. The children thoroughly enjoyed the camp fire and local music that got them dancing and singing. They were allowed to stay up till ten o'clock. We even cut a cake for a child who was celebrating his twelfth birthday. I guess he missed his family but did not show it. He thanked us for the gesture and we felt happy we could do this for him.

Some said that they learnt a bit from the trip. Some said that all good things come to an end. Very true! However I am sure they are all looking forward to going back to school. I do hope they like going to school; if a school can be a fun place to be in then why not. Gone are the days when fear was the big motivator. Learning comes from the freedom to think; freedom to be able to think and to express and to exist without the fear of what lies too far ahead. The ability to live each day to its fullest and to want the next day to arrive is an ideal scenario. How wonderful it would be if learning could always be through real time experiences.

Our eyes have opened through our travels. We are a nation full of talent and potential. If only an opportunity was provided to one and all. True education can bring about the change we so badly need. We live in urban India and have very little concern for what lies outside of our immediate world. We saw a nine year old boy selling water bottles in the evenings after going to school in the morning to improve his house hold income. He was smart and was able to make a sale. He was learning and in some way knew a lot more than other boys his age.

May be the rickshaw drivers can be good botany and zoology teachers, may be the guides could be good history teachers and Hindi teachers, may be those young boys selling bottles could be trading stocks one day or may be one of our young children will get into education and change who and how the future youth go to school. Who knows what our children will grow up to be! All I know is that true learning comes out of exposure. Exposure to more and more means more education. We need to work towards making learning more meaningful and thought provoking.

I have seen that children can be so different outside of their homes. They are accepting, they are forgiving and have a sense of compassion. Allowing children to think for themselves, letting them learn to take decisions, can be a very important part of their education. It can complete it.

Lately I have discovered that it has helped me as a parent to show my son more instead of giving him more. There are so many realities that lie out there and at times I think I might have shielded him from them. I have begun to realise that exposing him to what a place is actually all about in terms of its culture or its beliefs makes him a more discerning person. Much can be learned from ones travels but at times the lure of the good hotels, malls, theme parks and shopping rob us of so much positive exposure or in simple terms "an education ". There is so much to see that the opportunity can actually make you as Montessori says "a citizen of the world ". If not you end up seeing the same malls and parks and shops and hotels, the only difference being the countries or cities change.

I am glad we could do so much more with the children than we could ever do in a classroom. These are great moments and I sure hope we do many more trips in the future. Thank you for sending your children. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing about our experiences and it has given me a chance to feel more connected with you all. Thank you also for your condolence messages on the loss of my grandmother. We look forward to seeing you at the airport.

Best Wishes,
Riad Mahmood
Founder, Head Start Educational Academy

Posted in Travel & Learning.