Friday, 19 December 2014

Skill and Job Mismatch



This is what happened when a diehard literature teacher was made to teach science…

The topic was ‘frog’. 

The literature teacher explains frog….

 ‘The Frog. Oh what a wonderful creature it is, though considered by most as an ugly creature, the snakes love it. In the eyes of the snakes it look like a delicious food. The frogs can live in water “as well as” on land. Stressing more on “as well as” (twisting his body holding his hand, bent at 90 degree angle at the elbow and moving it in a sawing movement as he says “as well as”) Did you read about the princess and a frog? Where, when the princess kissed the frog it became prince, a handsome young prince. When students replied, “No sir” in unison, he went on to tell them the story about the princess and the frog, the frog being the prince cursed by the witch to take the form of a frog and until he is kissed by a beautiful lady he would remain as frog…..and how the princess kissed the awful looking creature with her eyes closed shut, breaking the curse……………’

The bell rings, signaling the end of a science period and the students looked at the action packed teacher with awe not learning anything related to science but they did learn some good English lesson. To add on to their dismay the homework was – write a poem or essay on frog.

The lesson actually should have been…. About frog being amphibian… its species…to which family it belong…mammal or reptile…. Vertebrate or invertebrate… its place in the food chain, etc.

When they came for us to help write an essay about ‘The frog’ in science subject, it dawned on us that literature teacher, almost with PHD in literature, was assigned to teach science in lower classes. And we knew how passionate he was in literature subjects, nothing can change him to see anything from other point of view other than literature. He can romanticize everything from a rainy day to a sunny day into a poem or a verse. Something as simple as leaves falling from the trees in autumn can make him think in many ways, other than the leaves just falling because of the trees being a deciduous tree. 

A great teacher to be remembered but I dare not name him here, for the fear of how he might take it. But those of us how have been taught by him or been with him, must have already known the great teacher through my description.