This week, I could feel winter in the morning air. The days are still warm, almost as if summer were beginning, not winter, but there’s that distinctness in the air when I climb downstairs to get the newspaper. The vibe of winter is here. That’s a good sign; it means my wait is almost over now. I might have to wait until November to actually start wearing full sleeves and go to bed with a blanket, or the weather will turn so rapidly we might not have enough time to get all the woollens out and put them out in the sun. With New Delhi (and global warming), it’s hard to tell.
I realised recently that I’m using this wait to procrastinate. I have some things I want to do; I’m just not doing them because I’m waiting for better weather. I don’t really have a good explanation for it, except that winter just feels so much better. I’m waiting for the temperature to drop, a signal to finally get started on writing short stories, reading physical books, changing the drawings and posters I’ve put up on my wall, watching all the movies on my to-watch list. There is no reason for me to not do these things now; I’m just letting my want of an aesthetic make me procrastinate. And since these are not really important things that need to be done but simply things I want to do because they’re fun, the delay isn’t ruining anything, fortunately.
But it’s not as if I’m not working. College and teaching keep me busy enough, and I’m enjoying it. I didn’t blog at The Bell Papers last week, but I’ve been thinking about what I’ve done on that blog, and that’s got me excited.
I know I want to be a child psychologist. I don’t like the idea of a private practice and for a long time now I’ve imagined myself working as a school counsellor, though I also know I don’t want to do just one thing all my life. When I was a winter intern at Youth for Mental Health back in December and attended some of my first psychology workshops, I started getting interested in experimental education and new, creative ways of learning as well as teaching. The workshops gave me another goal to work towards: I knew I wanted to conduct some of my own in the future.
And now with The Bell Papers, I have one more goal. I love kids, and I’m especially interested in the time they spend in school. I’ve mentioned it before how my existential crisis, climate anxiety and death anxiety made me want to do something that would let me change some part of the world. It’s what made me take up psychology and got me further interested in child psychology (well, that and because I don’t like the idea of working with adults all the time). I realised that a lot of the problems we have can be fixed (maybe not completely) if our schools do education right: not the memorisation of facts, but the implications of what they mean. Teaching them not just skills that will get them a job but skills that will make them better humans.
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
― Margaret Mead
The education system won’t change in a day or a year or even a decade. But from what I’ve been reading and watching and learning and observing, there are changes we can make, big and small, that make schools a fun and safe space to be, not a source of stress. I think I’ve said this before: schools should be places kids look forward to going, not places that drive them into depression (or worse).
Schools can be mini utopias. And I want to spend my time making them so.
The goal was always to help change the world by changing how we educate kids. Now I’ve found several ways to make that happen, ways that are in my control and don’t make me feel helpless about making a change.