HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF PARENT TEACHER MEETINGS

Parent Teacher Meetings are an opportunity for both parents and teachers to collaborate for the improvement of the child’s education. Parents and teachers need not approach the interaction as if going into a war-zone. Instead, if they come to an agreement that the purpose of the conference is to benefit the child, the meeting can take on a more positive direction. Parent Teacher Meetings are taking on a new dimension of partnerships between the parent and teacher in the best CBSE schools in Bangalore and other metropolitan cities. Here are some tips on making the most out of these meetings. Continue reading “HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF PARENT TEACHER MEETINGS”

REPORTING TO THE TIMES

Times of India – NIE conducted a five-day workshop on Journalism from 24th April 2017 to 28th April 2017.

About twenty-five students from the best schools of the twin cities were present at the workshop. By the end of the workshop, we were all good friends with one another. I would like to thank the Times of India for such a thoughtful initiative – conducting a student workshop on a subject which intrigues people from all corners of the world. Our classes were conducted by Mrs. Ruth Dhanaraj in the conference room at Times House, Banjara Hills. Ruth Ma’am was very warm and patient and did not mind clearing our seemingly endless doubts. We learned about a variety of topics, such as reporting, editing, feature writing and reviewing. On the fifth day – the last day – we were taken to the Times of India Press in Nacharam, where we discussed in detail about how the press prints newspapers for tens of thousands. At the end of the Internship Program, we were given certificates of participation as well as water bottles to commemorate our time spent at the Times office.

I am very glad that I am now my school’s NIE reporter. Ruth Ma’am encouraged us to write articles for the Times NIE and I am definitely going to do that!

This internship program was an excellent learning experience and a brilliant exposure for me. I am extremely thankful to my school for giving me this opportunity that I can cherish for years to come.

Ruhaan Chand

Class 8

ADJUSTING TO A NEW SCHOOL

Moving to a new school can be a very stressful time for children. While making the transition from an old community to a new one, children and their parents go through a gamut of unavoidable changes and their consequences emotionally, physically and relationally. There could be various reasons that a family moves – the change of job, immigrating to a new country, and moving closer to the family; however, the fallout from these life-changing shifts need to be handled with care. Here are a few things that parents can do to help their children adjust to a new school during the first few weeks.

Make It An Adventure – Children love new things but they can be very scared and overwhelmed by the idea of going to a new school and class. Parents can prepare their children for this new phase by buying them new bag packs, lunch boxes and stationery items. Children would be excited to use these belongings in the new school environment. Additionally, parents can explain how exciting it will be, to make new friends. By doing this, parents are strengthening their child’s friendly and cheerful side. Children will then be better prepared to embrace unfamiliar experiences with optimism rather than fear.

Observe And Keep Updated – Changes in the child’s behavior such as separation anxiety, shyness and nonstop chatter is natural. However, parents can be observant that such behavior does not reach extremes. Instead, they can help their child become stable in the new environment. Parents can meet their child’s teacher and stay updated on their progress both academically and socially. Parents can also praise their child’s resilience and capacity for settling into the new school; which can boost the child’s adaptability and social skills.

A Positive Attitude – It’s natural for children to get emotional and anxious as they leave behind something familiar and venture out into the unknown.  Parents need to talk to their children daily to inculcate a positive outlook, focusing on all the things their child is doing right and inspiring them to do better. Also, parents need to care for their child’s new routine by going through their timetable and keeping track of their teacher’s feedback. Parents can avoid unnecessary embarrassment by packing their child’s school bag carefully to ensure they’re not forgetting any homework, books or notes.

Safety In Routines – Parents can provide an anchor to their child in case the rapid change of moving to a new school has left their child reeling. Knowing what’s expected at home can be soothing to a child’s troubled emotions.

Making Friends – Friends are the greatest support systems a child can have in school. Although it’s tough to leave behind old friends, a child can be reassured at how wonderful it’s going to be to find new ones. Parents can help their child make new bonds of friendship at school by inviting their child’s classmates for a small snack party over the weekend. Networking with other parents can be one more great way to help their child make more friends.

Being Patient – The latest research says, when starting in a new school, it is possible for children to be withdrawn, more sensitive, uncooperative and not doing as well as expected. However, this will pass as they settle in. Also, school psychologists expect most children to have a hard first six weeks or so. If a child is still struggling and complaining of lack of friends, after six months, then that might be a cause for concern. In that instance, parents can talk to their child’s teacher and the school counselor.

The top international, CBSE and ICSE schools in Bangalore and other metropolitan cities provide new students and their parents with counseling staff that help them navigate their experiences in a new school.

Although parents can expect their children to react negatively to the ups and downs of making new friends, participating in new activities and learning new material, they can also be reassured that it is a phase in every child’s life that some children race through and others toil away at. Most children, however, are capable of adjusting and do just fine, despite the many hurdles faced along the way.

WHAT DO STUDENTS THINK ABOUT THE COMPUTER COMPETITIONS?

Talking to a cross section of students from the Marredpally and Keesara campuses of St. Andrews School, I have discovered one of the most popular and well-liked classes in school. The Computer class has been described as a ‘wildcard’, ‘a way to express feelings’, ‘a place to improve communication’, and ‘a place to learn new technologies’. Students across the St. Andrews School branches have one thing in common – they are unanimous in appreciating their computer class and teachers.

During the months of June and July, students at St. Andrews are busy preparing for and participating in the Computer Competitions where they demonstrate what they have learned over the previous year. It was my pleasure to speak to Saurabh Chabra and Jerusha Kota of Class 3 as well as B. Aishwarya and M. Evan Jason of Class 4 to gain an insight into what our students go through during these competitions.

Interviewer: What do you like in your computer class?

Saurabh: In my computer class, I get to learn many things like how to make straight lines, how to use tools properly and when to use these tools on the computer.

Jerusha: The first thing I like is that there are many things to draw like trees, the Taj Mahal and other pictures.

Aishwarya: I like my teacher because she teaches me very nicely.

Interviewer: What do you think or how do you feel about the computer competitions?

Saurabh: After the competitions are over, I am excited to discover who won the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize badges.

Aishwarya: I thought I would get the first prize in the computer competitions this year. I worked on my own and I got a little scared because I didn’t get time to practice. However, it was very easy to do.

Evan Jason: I like competitions because we’ll have some fun and we’ll learn something. It is my great opportunity to participate in these competitions.

Someone once said, ‘Winning provides happiness. Losing provides wisdom.’ After discussing the computer competitions with the students of St. Andrews, Keesara, I learned that winning isn’t everything; what matters is learning from one’s mistakes. Aditi Thirkateh and Chetan Sai Satvik of Class 6, Praneeth Simon and Harshith Suda of Class 8 and Anish Nookala and Rohan Jayanthi of Class 10 sat in a group with me and shared their views on their computer classes and competitions.

Interviewer: What do you like about your computer class?

Chetan: This is the best subject. I feel that I can improve my technical skills and improve my way of communication. I can also improve my typing skills.

Aditi: Our teacher is very supportive. Our teacher always helps us if we are facing a problem and she explains how to solve the problem.

Rohan: The different operating system Linux on which we learn allows us to explore the other Operating Systems apart from Windows.

Praneeth: St. Andrews, Keesara provides a lot of opportunities in computers, for example, learning C Language in 8th class which helps us in the future with courses like engineering.

Harshith: We students are given lots of opportunities to represent our school in the interschool competitions where preselected students present what they have learned. We get to freely express our journey in computers so that the judges can see what we have learned.

Anish: I love to come to the computer lab. I feel a sense of freedom here. The computer labs are kept very clean and are well ventilated which creates a good environment in which to study.

Interviewer: What is your opinion or what do you think and feel about the computer competitions?

Anish: I’m very competitive and I feel very excited about these competitions. I want to get the highest marks so I make sure I work hard for it.

Rohan: Everyone feels nervous and competitive at the same time which makes them all the more hardworking.

Chetan: This is the right stage to test children as when they are tested they will make fewer mistakes when they go on to software engineering.

Praneeth: The students approach the toppers and ask them for their ideas. The competitions are all about learning something new and exploring. It’s about telling the world about the abilities and talents we have and expressing them.

Harshith: Even if we lose we can learn more and can implement what we learned and do better in the next competition.

Aditi: The competitions are helpful to us for the future as there will be many more competitions to face. I would like to work hard in all competitions.

Getting to be in your teacher’s shoes is an exciting proposition. The students of Keesara had to dig deep to answer the question, ‘what would you do if you were the teacher and you had to run the computer competitions?’ Both Anish and Harshith replied that they would use creative techniques to add some humour to the otherwise serious environment of the computer class during the competitions. This, in turn, would get students laughing, their ideas would start flowing and they would participate with greater focus.

While being the teacher is not an easy task, these young students can still dream of a day when they would be using these computer applications in the workforce. After all, sometime in the future, a few of these students might, in fact, be sitting in the teacher’s chair shaping the lives of those who will come after them.

BEYOND ACADEMICS

Extracurricular activities have always been promoted amongst students by St. Andrews School. Students are often encouraged to join these activities as a way to find an outlet for self-expression, learn a new skill, be involved in the school’s repertoire of teams, develop a vocation and add to their lifelong learning.  I got to know personally from two of our alumni that St. Andrews not only conducts a wide variety of co-curricular activities but they also ensure their students’ loyal participation.

You can take an Andrewite out of school but you cannot take the school out of an Andrewite. It has been a joy to speak to two ex-students, V. S. Grace and Sirisha Janampally. They have shared their memories of their time spent at the school, especially those carefree hours between three and four thirty when extracurricular activities were the happening thing to do.

Interviewer: Can you take me through a typical day practicing for a major school event?

Grace: We used to enjoy spending time with our classmates when practicing for events like the school play and, do you remember Lloyd, he was the Pied Piper in one of the plays.

Sirisha: Oh I remember Lloyd; he was in your class?! I was in the school band and also a member of the NCC with NCC practices every Saturday after school. I used to go off for ten days to the Gymkhana grounds for the NCC camp which taught me how to be independent.

Interviewer: When you were in school, how much time do you remember spending doing extracurricular activities?

Grace: I don’t remember how much time, but I do remember that we used to eagerly wait for the chance to stay back and take part in an activity just so that we could spend time with our friends.

Interviewer: What was your favourite activity to be involved in?

Grace: I remember winning the first prize in the Snowman Making Competition. I thoroughly enjoyed Art and Craft activities. The things I learned from these activities have stood the test of time as I am able to use the same skills in teaching pre-primary students right here at St. Andrews.

Sirisha: I would say my favourite was being part of the school band. It gave me more time to spend with my friends during class hours and we were always excited to learn new instruments.

Interviewer: Did your teachers encourage you to participate in extracurricular activities?

Grace: Mary D’Silva ma’am, who was our Vice Principal, encouraged me to take part in extracurricular activities. Shamita ma’am, the Principal of St. Andrews’ Bowenpally and Marredpally campuses, was also our English teacher at that time. Both she and K. Anuradha ma’am inspired me to speak and narrate plays on stage. This support has made me the person I am today, a courageous pre-primary teacher. Also, Gracy Rajan ma’am motivated me to participate in the Story Writing Competition and I won the first prize. My Class 2 teacher, Maria ma’am, taught me cursive handwriting for which I am appreciated even today. All my teachers at St. Andrews were sure to provide us with wisdom and discipline as well as encouragement for our creative abilities. They have had a lasting impact.

Sirisha: Gracy Rajan ma’am encouraged me too during my time in the school band.

Interviewer: Could you share your memories from one of your Sports Days?

Grace: We used to participate in many formations and drills, such as ‘Animal Drill’. It was a lot of fun as it involved moving to jungle themed music. At one event, the 2007 Military World Games, our then President and Chief Minister were the chief guests. We danced to the sounds of the Michael Jackson song ‘Heal the World’, during the event, and I got to wear a shimmering golden dress which I still have today. The rehearsals for this dance gave us many happy hours of being exempt from studies.

Interviewer: What skills/qualities/values did you gain from participating in extracurricular activities?

Grace: My teachers at St. Andrews have taught me to carry myself with dignity and speak with confidence. St. Andrews has also given me the discipline to manage my day-to-day routine.

Sirisha: We have also had a chance to develop our leadership qualities by being chosen as United Students Organisation officers several times during our school days. We now know how to manage a group, inculcate discipline in a large number of students, maintain cleanliness of our surroundings, and manage the punctuality and dressing standards of multiple students.

Interviewer: If you had a chance to relive your last year in school, which extracurricular club would be involved in and why?

Grace: I would join the Literary Club and narrate plays again because in our day there were no clubs or organizations to join.

Sirisha: I would go back to the school band and become their captain. I would love to give the special signal to my band mates when starting, changing or stopping the formations.

While reliving the past might not be an option, Sirisha and Grace have the opportunity to work at their alma mater and continue their association with the school. In fact, Grace has even enrolled her daughter at St. Andrews and says that every time she dresses her daughter for school she is reminded of the good old days. Both Grace and Sirisha cherish the moments they spent with school friends especially during the fruitful hours exploring St. Andrews’ range of co-curricular activities.

Like their counterparts in the top CBSE, ICSE and International schools in Hyderabad and Bangalore, the students of St. Andrews get to experience stimulating and competitive extracurricular activities that are designed to expand their horizons. The clubs and organizations offered at St. Andrews include – the Literary Club, the Quiz Club, the School Band, the School Choir, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Youth for Service (YFS) and the Student Council. The depth and range of our co-curricular activities allow our students to develop outstanding skills that stay with them throughout their lives.