If you know me, like really know me, you have seen my nerdhood creep out. That is an understatement…leap out and attack you. I am such a dweeb, but I have been more reserved about it lately. Or at least I seem to think I have it under control…until Monday. I stopped by “study hall” (read: 10th standard boys studying in the dinning hall after hours). Steele was also there and we were trying to quiz the 3 boys on their work. It was then that I said you guys should do flash cards. Apparently this is not a regular concept (unless they were playing me) so I said I would come show them the next day. I also started explaining how they ask confusing word problems at home incorporating the current topic we are supposed to be doing. Essentially a brain teaser. This consequently led to me coming up with one on the spot that ended up being way too easy. The boys were still super excited to try it though so we tried a few more just as examples. Towards the very end of study hall, Steele hit us with a riddle. And then the floodgates opened. They loved it (as did I). We all used up a few that we knew and the boys just lit up. They were tired and we were all having a hard time thinking, but they were so hungry for the answers. It was awesome to see, especially in an environment where they are usually just memorizing and regurgitating.
My inner nerd emerged after realizing how much I liked answering riddles and brain teasers, and that moreover, I loved seeing students excited to solve them. So yesterday I came prepared and after studying for their test and learning flash cards, we hit up some Mensa style questions. It was funny to see all of their personalities come out in the process. One just wanted to dance instead but peer pressure won out and he would play along, the other was trying but was hit or miss with the answers, and then Krishnamoorthy just came out of his shell. I mean he doesn’t have a problem being outgoing or anything, but he just lit up like no other and was running for his math book and scribbling away on the page. The nerd in me was so proud and happy to see him soaking it all in. By the end of study hall, the boys were inspired to send me home with some math related riddles of their own. Steele couldn’t make it so I had to go back to the Elephant House (our hostel) and tell him all about it. We solved one quite quickly but the other I had to spend some time working out. Sara totally called me out as I sat with my calculator punching away and talking to myself determined to get the answer by morning. In fact her laughter at me continued as the riddle/brain teasers continued through today. I solved mine, but after seeing how engaged Krishnamoorthy was, I decided to write some new ones down and leave them for him to do on his own time. I was not going to make it to study hall and I wanted them to remain focused on their work due for tomorrow.
There were many highlights today, but one of the best was after Life Dance (which was amazing today) handing KM a paper with some questions on it. He clutched it, grinned from ear to ear, and simply said “Thank you, Melana.” Seriously, kudos to any kid who thanks me for math problems. I saw him a little later and he had already been working on them…I may have created a monster 😉