Relearn : for the sake of your child.

The week gone by had been pretty hectic for me. Quite challenging too. And all that had nothing to do with my work life or with the books that I write. The challenge in fact was from unexpected quarters – Seventh Class Physics. Yes… you heard it right. Seventh standard physics. The last time those books tormented me was three decades ago. And now they have come back to haunt me. Three decades back, mind was young, and brain was fresh. It was easy to deal with it, and must confess without worrying about being modest, that three decades ago, I managed it deftly and conquered it effectively.


Over the last few days, as I read through the books trying to teach my daughter and help her prepare for the physics exams, I suddenly found myself inadequate. I knew what electrolysis was, broadly. But trying to explain and ensure that I don’t leave out even the smallest of details was a challenge. I knew how a dry cell worked. But I had forgotten that its made of a carbon cathode surrounded by Manganese dioxide and ammonium chloride electrolyte and a zinc container which doubles up as a anode. And for those who read this, do you remember how a domestic electric meter which is connected to your mains functions? Many of you, like me, would struggle to speak more than 5 sentences on it, I am sure.

I managed. Just about managed. I googled and read up quite a bit, to make sure that my daughter, who currently thinks that her father is probably the most intelligent man on planet earth continues to think so. Maths was easier to manage as a lot about maths is about fundamentals which once you learn, you seldom forget. And its about attitude (towards maths) too. And I have always believed in my mathematical abilities.

But today, I am proud that i managed to successfully teach Anusha what I wanted to. She knows how electricity is generated, What is the constitution of a dry cell, how electrolysis happens, whats an electrode, what is resistance, why is heat generated when electricity flows through a conductor, and what is Joules law (how many of you know it…….. H = I*I*R*t..where I is the amount of current in amps, which flows through a medium of resistance R ohms, for a time T secs… wow. I remember). She even knows how an electromagnet works.. I ripped apart the door bell to get her to understand principles of electromagnetism.

Sometimes I wonder, if i should give in to the prevalent practice of sending children to tuitions. Atleast they will learn from someone who is clued on to the current trends and will prepare them in a manner that they will do well in exams. But my only concern is will they ever be able to get todays children to have blind faith in what they tell them and hence learn from them — the same way as kids sometimes trust their parents. And most importantly will the tuition master be willing to rip apart his door bell to make sure his students understand electromagnets.


7 replies »

  1. I can so relate to this post:-) the thought of Maths scares me big time. I never enjoyed maths in school. I loved history and languages. I at times wonder how will I teach my daughter maths..??
    But then as the title of the post goes, we need to relearn. Also kids these days have become so inquisitive…their hunger for knowledge is increasing.
    All d best to Daddy n Daughter!


    • Thanks Gayatri. 🙂 Kids are a lot more inquisitive than what i was in my childhood. I guess its just that the entire growing up process has changed dramatically thanks to the exposure that these guys have today. The education system too needs to undergo a change.


  2. I can relate to this post of yours because I myself never took tuitions till standard 12th. My father used to teach me but not always as he always kept busy with his work.

    Moreover, I started teaching my sister and my neighbour’s kids when I was in class 10th just to earn some pocket money! 🙂

    Post my engineering, I used to give tuitions for maths, physics and chemistry to class 9-12th because teaching is something I enjoy. I still do it if a student turns up.

    What I observed while teaching students that everyone is in a rush to grab questions and find answers to them without giving much thought about how actually are things done and that is what I always focus on and lay stress on. The method of learning. It is always easy to mug and score but to understand the concept and logic behind everything is what I believe should be every student’s priority.

    Simplifying concepts and theories is something today’s teachers do not focus on and those who do, students tag them as boring lecturers, which is kind of sad.

    What I would recommend here as a tuition teacher to you is, ask Anusha to go for intensive studies on her own. Be there to guide her and solve her problems. It would be good for her if she stays away from tutors because you don’t really know what exactly a tutor is teaching your child, if the things are being taught correctly and if she is able to cope with it properly and regularly or not. Its the basics of everything that she MUST focus on and help her with interlinking of concepts and deriving things. If she masters this, then everything would be a cakewalk for her.

    I appreciate your effort that you’d put in to dismantle a door bell to make her understand what electromagnetism is. This is what students require, logical reason behind everything that is written in their text books. Makes things easy for them.

    Wish you and her all the best and let me know if I could be of any help with her studies! 🙂


    • Thanks Yatin. I am quite inclined to think the way you are thinking. Tuitions are like dope.. once you get in..very difficult to get out of a vicious circle. In education the learning process is more important than the outcome… and tutors largely focus on exam results and not learning..and the two are not necessarily related. And thanks for the offer 🙂 will take you up on it someday.


  3. I can fully relate to this post. I think all parents are in the same boat when it comes to children. I never liked teaching as a profession. and thought to be a boring and a thankless one. But teaching my son brought out the latent talents in me. Not only I enjoyed the process but elicited awe from my son on my memory that i had learnt decades ago. and i learnt that teaching is not a thankless job. When my son’s teachers complimented on his sound basic knowledge I know I have earned a pat on my back. As parents we have to relearn a lot for the children as its pleasant.


  4. our priorities change with time..but they may demand the same resources we need to pursue..your priorities are different then (academics)and now(your daughter), but you got to learn and relearn the same physics..:-))All the best sir..you got many things to prove yourself a good father..


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