Einstein, yeh kya kar daala?

While browsing through Facebook. .. I came across a man staring at me with a huge smile on his no- nonsense kinda face. He said: My son has improved dramatically in Science and Math. I am relieved. It obviously is an advertisement for online tuitions.
But what caught me is Math and Science.

In my teaching career, I have come across enough number of parents who openly say to me, “This is English, all this is okay. Ma’am, show me Math and Science marks.” (PS: I am an English teacher)
I share this with many, and they ask me how I react. Well, I do not. Because each of these parents or children at some point of their lives will need something more than Math and Science.

I thought the 90’s was over. But frankly I feel it will never get over for Indians. Well.. we are the global leaders who are running board meetings now.  The new face of the global market. Are we?

This post is in no way saying that these subjects are detrimental. Oh my… how can I say such a thing?I am an Indian parent! But may I please take the liberty of saying they are err… over-hyped.

I was in for a pleasant surprise on my recent trip to Thekaddy. There was an in house shop run by a Kashmiri, and I happened to like quite a few things in his shop. While making the payment, he asked me about our family. There was a casual Hmmmm when I told him that M was in the IT field. He smiled and said, “Everyone is into IT nowadays. What about you ma’am?” I said, “I teach English”, and handed over my card for billing. He stopped packing and looked at me. “You are a teacher? An English teacher?” I nodded with a smile. He didn’t say anything for a few seconds. After a while, he kept his hands on his heart and spoke. “Oh my God. Aap teacher hain. Woh bhi English ki. Mein kya bolu?” I was a little surprised. “Have you even been to Kashmir, madam?” He asked. I said, “No.”
He lowered his eyes and said, “It is a beautiful place. I am also a student. I study Political Science. But because of the conditions there, I am unable to write my exams. I want to become a teacher. I have chosen political science to understand how our country is run. Only we can bring a change. IT field main tho sab log jaate hain. But I did not choose it because I want to study something ‘more’. I will become a teacher like you. But of political Science.”

I was humbled that moment. Before leaving, he sad, “I am very lucky to have met an English teacher.” All I could manage was smile.

The next day when we visited a tea estate en route Alleppey, the lady who walked us around impressed me with her smartness. Even though she was an Oriya, she had learnt decent Malayalam to communicate with her staff. (Malayalam is one of the toughest languages to learn). She asked my husband what we did in Bangalore. He told about himself and then about me. As soon as she heard that I am a teacher, she asked me what I teach. “English”, I said. “Oh really! You teach English?” Before leaving I said to her, “You are quite smart. I really liked you.” She quipped,”No, It’s been my pleasure to meet an English teacher. Language touches heart.” I said, “Yes, absolutely it does.”

Sitting in the car, I couldn’t stop wondering about these two individuals. For me, they had glamoured a subject other than Math and Science.

A few of my friends tell me that because my kids are still young, I talk like this. When they reach Grade 8 or 9, I would also be quite keen that they take up Math and Science. I don’t have an answer to this. I will cross this bridge when I reach there. But I also remind myself that I am a 90’s product of a family where no one had studied anything else other than Science and Math, (barring my aunt) and guess what? I DID NOT take up Science or Math after my 10th grade even after scoring above 95% in both the subjects in my 10th board exams. I do not know whether you can imagine the hell I went through and made my family go through too, having to convince them that I do not like either of the subjects. So I still have a hope that I would do just fine if my kids take up something beyond these subjects.

Someday I will blog about that day when it actually happens. 🙂

2 Replies to “Einstein, yeh kya kar daala?”

  • Thanks to our education system. As early at the age of 14, children are forced to choose such subjects (Mathematics, science, economics, etc…) to align their career goals.

    In my opinion, it’s absurd to mandate career subjects at that early age but the fact remains that parents’ guidelines and directions add to the play. We, the "responsible" and "protective" parents in the view to "secure" the child's future, end-up choosing Mathematics and Science. There always is a choice where the child can still opt to change the subject according to their passion from Maths / Science to English/History / Commerce etc… but not the other way !!! This perhaps is one of the main reason for the "aspirational" parents to choose Maths and Science in Higher Secondary. You can barely call it as the minimal guarantee for children.

    Having said all, the best side to it is that, parents are still OK for their Doctor / Engineer children to pursue a career other than what they are educated for (arts / theater etc…). The risk mitigators !

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