Tarun Seth , Faculty of Maths , Scindia School : I arrived in the US on 2nd August, 2010 with excitement and enthusiasm. I wished to fulfill several dreams like garnering cultural experiences, getting an insight into a global educational system and getting to know and understand a new set of people .I reached San Francisco, a city of immense natural beauty and many tourist attractions on August 7,2010. I joined Lowell High School on August 13 to attend their professional development workshop.
The Principal introduced me to the members of the faculty and I was completely astonished to find that the School had a very large staff. The number of students in Lowell High School in San Francisco is five times more than that of The Scindia School. The first official teaching day began on August16 and I found the strength of the class more than what we have here in Scindia.I was assigned five classes per day. On the first day I began with an introduction of myself along with a brief description of The Scindia School and the Indian educational system. It didn’t take much time for me to understand the academic expectations and the students’ value system about education at Lowell High School and I soon adjusted to my new school setting.
Of the several things that I got to see and imbibe I particularly like the idea of the school semester system that the U.S. uses. I also like the building block format used in the U.S. When I say building block format, I mean that the teachers have set up a system of learning that relies upon and is built on prior knowledge. For example, at Lowell High School, a student would take an Algebra course first. Upon completing and passing that Algebra course, the student would step into a Calculus or Geometry course.
I also noticed that the teachers in the U.S. have autonomy to decide their grading policy. As a teacher, I liked that idea. After all at the end of a semester with a particular group of students, it is the teacher alone who knows the abilities and the deficiencies of those students. Hence the teacher should independently declare the final grade of his/her students.
I think, students were drawn to me when they saw that I had a keen interest in them and their struggles with school life and Math. The students of Lowell High School were disciplined and diligent with an inclination to work hard at their academics. Still, being youngsters they coped with the typical challenges that go along with being teenagers.
My aim was to provide my students with the best mathematical education that I could offer. I fused the US and Indian ways of teaching together. After I implemented this fused method in my presentations, I saw that I was getting wonderful results. The students used calculators for simple arithmetic problems. Although that is probably acceptable, I encouraged them to perform calculations manually along with the occasional use of calculator. I explained that working arithmetical calculations manually would help in the development of their thinking skills and build brainpower. I also gave them some tips about ancient Vedic mathematical techniques for performing faster arithmetic calculations.
I also got an exposure to a variety of cultures in San Francisco. The population in the city by the bay is made up of North Americans, that being people from Mexico, the United States and Canada. San Francisco is also called home for many Chinese immigrants as well as China born U.S. citizens. Many people from Europe also live in the San Francisco bay area. I have made friends with many people from many different walks of life and I hope that these friendships will remain forever.
I visited the stupendous Golden Gate bridge, China town, Pier 39 and Napa Valley. I also enjoyed an air show performed by The Blue Angels, and I went to a music festival and enjoyed listening to a funk and blues band. I went beyond San Francisco to see several places. I also flew to Boston where I attended a Fulbright workshop. During my stay in Boston, I had the opportunity to visit Harvard and M.I.T. that was a math teacher’s dream, come true.
I am grateful to have been given the chance by the Scindia School Principal Mr.Samik Ghosh and the Fulbright Foundation to change places with a US teacher Ms.Laura Telep for half of a school year in order to grow professionally and personally.I want to extend my sincere thank to the Vice Principal Mr.Jayant Tengshe , HOD Mathematics Mr.Dhirendra Sharma and ICT head Mr.Raj Kumar Kapoor for their continuous help and support during my selection process.
Faculty of Maths