Jumbled paragraphs may seem very innocuous on the surface, but they are mean horrible things. And they are definitely the enemy when you trying teaching a bunch of BMS aspirants who don’t really care about syntax et al, rules about solving jumbled sentences.

It is hard enough trying to be enthusiastic about grammar and vocabulary when you see a bunch of I-hate-this-shit expressions looking back at you. But it definitely is changing. Right from the first 5 minutes the kids take in settling down, throwing paper balls at each other and flirting, the change continues. I try and lecture them on the value of time and how important it is to be punctual for class, when suddenly the boy with the big, floppy hairdo grins and says something funny. The entire class cracks up, including me. Then things are not so boring anymore. The I-hate-this-shit expressions change to Wow-I-think-she-is-cool expressions. And when I see that happen, when I see their grudging admiration and the shining respect, I know that I am standing at crossroads. Responsibilities weighing heavily.

Jumbled sentences are nonsense. If had my way, I would be teaching my class how to think. I would teach them to structure their ideas and then jumble them up, so that they search for the coherent whole later. I would help them face life with its emptiness and the melange of people and situations that are a part of it. Then maybe, all this will help them put things in their proper place; no space for confusion, chaos or disorder.

Sometimes I look at them, bent over their worksheets, trying their best to get all the answers correct. There’s Farhaan, with the scrunched up forehead, hear wild and wavy. Karan, his usual co-partner in mischief, strains over his shoulder, whispers ‘Dude, what’s the answer to question no 2?’ Ashni, the quiet, studious girl with the cute smile shhh’s him and frowns. Shahzzad, regal in bearing looks at me and rolls his eyes. Sonia and Aesha look scandalized at this kind of behaviour but I grin and they smile back. Gaurav, the intelligent boy, with the intelligent questions puts his pen down and starts fiddling with his cell phone. And that snaps me back to my teacher mode. No cell phones in class I bark. He sheepishly puts it away, giving it one last loving look. I look at all of them, letting my gaze linger and then fall.

It feels good to be a teacher. And it feels good to feel so protective about these kids.

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