Of, By and For: The RKH Sorting Ceremony

By Harikumar Venkatramani

Two weeks of classes. Some of the best kids MAD Chennai got to teach! A helpful and cooperative management! Ramakrishna Home, Mylapore, Chennai was already promising to be one of the best centers for MAD.

But still, something was amiss. I could feel some confusion in the minds of the 6th standard boys we were handling. Only last weekend, a kid asked me:  “Why are we in a separate group and the others in theirs? Why different books?”

I answered the kid truthfully after class that day, without quite telling him which  the better level was. He seemed to accept the answer, but the thought irked me.

Fast forward. Center Circle Time. We decided this one will have to be online to overcome logistic issues!

We came up with the idea of giving an identity to each level in our center rather than stick to our prototype of ‘Primary’, ‘Starters’ or ‘Level One’. We needed a theme.

The kids totally blew us away with their discipline and obedience. We wanted to give them something inspirational, something they can look upto as a group. Something THEY can choose. After a minute’s brainstorm, ‘Personalities’ seemed to be the way!

 12 Personalities compressed into 12 slides for the kids to choose from. A presentation was ready and the Home  arranged for a hall with a projector at short notice.

All set. Came Saturday. 47 kids sat in 5 clusters.

All wondering what are we doing in a science lab when we are supposed to learn English! Began the presentation, and we were happy to note that the kids recognized some of our chosen personalities.

Among the recognizable ones were Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Mother Teresa, Kalpana Chawla, Neil Armstrong and Vishwanathan Anand.

They were also interested to know about the ones they didn’t know like Bachendri Pal, Bruce Lee and Saina Nehwal.

The presentation had its unexpected highlight too! I, who had the pleasure of giving them the presentation, was stunned, when a kid explained to me correctly, what apartheid was, while discussing Nelson Mandela. ASTOUNDING!

30 minutes for 12 personalities. 10 minutes later, each class came up with unanimous verdicts and luckily for us, without clashes.

Srinivasa Ramanujam, Bruce Lee, Mother Teresa, Neil Armstrong and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam were the chosen ones.

So what next? We had taken colour prints of all the suggested personalities. We also got charts and sketch pens. It took us another 15 minutes to get every group together and help them make their own group chart!

And Lo! There it was! 5 groups OF the kids, FOR the kids, BY the kids.

 

 

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