My primary school building was an old-fashioned one. Classrooms on the first and second floors opened into an open balcony protected by a sloping tile roof. Three classrooms opened into these. The ground floor classrooms were connected and opened into a gravelly playground, the school church, the ‘grotto’ with a statue of Mother Mary and … More Celebrating a diverse Republic
December and January in Chennai are not just months of relatively decent weather, but also a time of holidays and disruptions. In a good year, students break for the Christmas-New Year week and then very quickly, for Pongal. In other years, climate emergencies disrupt their routine and they spend the rest of the academic year … More Citizenship, Protest and Democracy: A Teachable Moment
[This article appeared on the Open Page of The Hindu on September 29, 2019.] These are tough times to raise children. News, both true and fake, inundates us, and much that is considered newsworthy relates to violence and injustice. Children cannot be protected from this avalanche, and parents and teachers must contend with its effect on their sense of … More Teaching Peace, Learning Peace
I wrote about the ‘Write to Reconcile’ project in Sri Lanka for the November 2019 edition of Teacher Plus. My objective was to explore and show how creative writing has been used as a tool to build bridges between people from communities with a history of conflict. Here is an excerpt from the article: The three-year project … More Write to Heal
I love meeting teachers who know that making their classroom a safe and affirming place for LGBTQIA+ (queer) students is part of their job. However, this awareness may not translate into a priority because most teachers in the world are overworked and underpaid. Priya Dali and Pooja Krishnakumar have created a fun and friendly zine … More A teacher who openly advocates for queer students makes a big difference.
What do LGBTQIA+ people mean when they speak about allies? “An ally is a person who is a member of the dominant group who works to end oppression in his or her own personal and professional life by supporting and advocating with the oppressed population,” writes Shruti Venkatesh in the beautiful new e-book, How To … More What does it take to be an ally? Hear it from this LGBTQIA+ rights activist
(Here is an excerpt from the article ‘To preach or not to preach?’ published in the March 2019 issue of Teacher Plus.) Let me narrate to you an episode from a conference I attended recently. I was speaking with a sexuality educator, who gave me a detailed picture of the curriculum he is expected to … More To preach or not to preach?
(Here is an excerpt from an article titled ‘Body Politics in the PE Class’, which was published in the May-June 2019 issue of Teacher Plus.) Is the body some kind of neutral thing that is objectively understood, bereft of history, and readily available for training? What happens when a student’s body is not able to … More Body Politics in the Physical Education Class
Nemat Sadat is an author of Afghan heritage who lives in the United States of America. He identifies as gay and ex-Muslim. His incredible openness in talking about love, racism and geopolitics moved me as much as the characters in his novel The Carpet Weaver. The book was published earlier this year by Penguin Random House … More Crushing the taboo on homosexuality: An interview with author Nemat Sadat
In July 2019, the Bangalore-based White Swan Foundation for Mental Health published an e-book titled Mental Health 101: LGBTQIA+ Edition. It is a useful resource that has been diligently put together for readers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, or as belonging to the wider LGBTQIA+ community, or as allies. I … More A mental health resource for the LGBTQIA+ community