last year (you need to be manu’s friend on LJ to see this), it was my turn this time. Judging the school science seminar that is. I’m not too enthu about making a nice essay out of it, so let me do it in bullet points
- The reverence for Sri Aurobindo and “The Mother” seems to have gone up big time. Aditi aunty (the principal) invokes them much more often than before and quoting passages from savitri seems to be the in thing to do in school today. There was one right at the beginnign, after the prayer and stuff, and a lot of people also quoted Sri Aurobindo. Oh, and this thing is new. Every time a speaker rises to speak, he/she has to go near the photos of Sri Aurobindo and “The Mother” and bow his head and pray for a minute. We’ll soon be giving good competition to the Christian missionary schools i guess.
- The school hall has finally been completed nad we had the competition there. Unlike in our years where we had to make do with the “dining hall”, “meditation hall”, etc.
- Some topics that the students chose were downright obscure. Ranging from stuff like “Insula – the brain chip” or something to some “Nanoputins”. And in my evaluation at least, that went against these guys.
- While on the topic of topics, some 5 of the 7 people had biology/medicine related topics. Probably that’s the reason they got a doctor to be my co-judge (my junior Tejus Tatachar’s father, for the record).
- Now with most of the topics being medicine-related, and with a doctor as judge, he ended up answering most of the questions. I was forced to give everyone equal marks in the Q&A column in order to avoid bias.
- Along with the seminar, all participants were asked to submit a report. And it turned out that seven out of seven participants had mugged up their respective “reports” and spoken it out. Or rather, they had drafted their speeches and then submitted the draft as report. I forgot to tell them this at the end when i gave my “expert comments”.
- So now they have a computer and a LCD projector, so they can make PPTs. And there is also a board where they are supposed to (compulsarily) stick charts of what they are doing! And hte charts were hardly visible and none of the seven used them. So as part of my expert comments i questioned the very need for that. And aunty seemed adamant “no no that’s necessary. no way we are scrapping that”.
- A lot of speakers spoke as if they were giving an election speech. with full emphasis (mostly in the wrong places) etc. Was tough to concentrate on the speech part. Finally i told them that this is good for elocution but they need to speak normally in a seminar.
- Midway through the seminar there was a 20 minute tea break. Aunty took us to some room on the first floor and fed us chowchowbath (kesri bath and khara bath for the uninitiated) and coffee. Must’ve been sourced from the nearby SLV. A strangely good feeling that the school still has it’s KT foundations.
- Finally when it was time for results, I tried (obviously in vain) to convince Aditi aunty that we need to use non-parametric methods in order to aggregate results across the judges. I tried to tell her that if we simply sum up scores, the scores given by those who have used a larger range will get higher weightage. She refused to listen! 😛
- Later, I went to my 10th standard classroom. Some Sanskrit class was going on over there (yeah now you can do sanskrit also in 10th, no need to take hindi.
, you should’ve been born a few years later!). Went in and took a couple of pics.
- The loos have been interchanged – what was the boys’ loo is now for girls and what was the girls’ loo is now for boys!
- Contrary to expectation, I found quite a few teachers who I knew – Shyamala (the only one who had taught me in 10th who still remains), Nirmala Rajesh (who had taught me Hindi in 5th but now teaches Health Science), Jayashree (she has been teaching geography from my junior batch onwards but i knew her though she hadn’t taught me), Roopashree (she taught English for 2 months in 8th standard before she fell down a flight of stairs and had to go on long leave. I’m still afraid to run down stairs after that), Padmini and Murali from the sports department, Lakshmi (admin), Veena (office), etc.
- I confessed to a few of the pranks we’d played in school, such as hiding Shyamala’s spectacles. I also told her that we had nicknamed her “dhing”. Her reaction was ‘how the hell can you name me that? i say “thing”! “thing”. not dhing!’
- Dhing told me that my generation was full of angels compared to the current batch who she said are damn troublesome
I just had a look at manu’s account of last year’s thing. I noticed that i have repeated a few points – such as the spiritual bit. Serves to emphasize i guess…
Overall a damn good experience.