Fuzzy thinking across time zones!

Jist accept defeat - you're just not going back to sleep!

Just accept defeat – you’re  not going back to sleep!


3.00 am and I’m wide awake. After turning around under the duvet for half an hour, trying not to wake Sara, I decide that I have no hope of getting back to sleep. Abandoning a warm bed I tiptoe to the study having decided that I might as well work if I can’t sleep. Bramble, our small black cat who usually does the night shift curled on a chair in the study, is not happily disturbed, she gives me a look of disdain but quickly manages to tuck her head beneath her tail and pretend this isn’t happening. She slips back into the arms of Morpheus in a manner that makes me envious.

Jet lag is the inevitable consequence of long haul travel, but I have learned that it takes a few nights like this until my body clock returns to normal. No point fighting it, just accept the situation and move on. I know that any attempt to return to slumber will be ultimately futile. Sorry Bramble but you’ve got company until breakfast! Looking from my study window I can see the glistening of a hard frost on the road and a lawn still covered in snow. How different a sight from the last few days in Bangalore? I suspect that some of my friends in India have never known sub-zero temperatures, and may even recoil from the thought of experiencing an English winter. Right now I can understand why the warmer climes of India have an attraction.

The first few days back in England in addition to the readjustment to the time zone, also provides a period of reflection on what has been learned over the past couple of weeks. As always, I come back enthused by the commitment of  colleagues and students who are often working under difficult circumstances in India. However, it is equally possible to be daunted by the mere drop in the ocean that our work there constitutes in terms of instigating change. When fatigue takes over it is easier to see the difficulties ahead rather than to review the many positive outcomes of our work.  I am constantly reminded that every journey starts with a single step, and that unless that first stride is taken then nothing happens, and this enables me to continue thinking about the road ahead.

I am fortunate indeed in working with colleagues whose dedication to the MA course we run in Bangalore and the work we do with teachers, is more than equal to my own. I am also mindful of the fact that the time for change in respect of special and inclusive education in India is here now. Debates around the Right to Education Act mean that there is a far greater focus upon the causes of exclusion, and the responsibility of schools to challenge these, than there has ever been in the past. The teachers I meet are all keen to confront the difficulties of including children from maginalised groups that are being perpetually highlighted in the media, and to prove that they are equal to the task. I already hear of the difference they are making in their schools, and the changes they are promoting amongst their colleagues. Theirs are the stories that give us the energy to keep moving forward.

In the near future I am sure I will be hearing many reports of the leadership that our students in Bangalore are providing in the creation of more inclusive and supportive schools. It is this thought that will assist me as I try to shake of the jet lag and get on with my work.

3.45 am. In a couple of hours it will be time to get myself moving and prepare for another day!


6 thoughts on “Fuzzy thinking across time zones!

  1. I agree that the loneliest part of any day is that period between 2-4 am, whether jet lagged or not.
    Your post reminded me of my father’s advice whenever I was trying to persevere with something: the dripping water wears away the hardest rock.
    In your case it seems that you are joining droplets as more MA students join the programme, as you make contact with more people and more lecturers and teachers become interested in the programme. I know my own interest in what you are doing has increased as I read your blog.
    Even the mightiest river has a tiny beginning.

    • Yes Carmel, you are right. Pilgrims in India walk to the source of the sacred Ganges where it is a mere stream. By the time it reaches th holy city of Varanasi it is a vast flowing expanse of water. A lesson here somewhere for all of us I feel.

  2. dripping water wears away the hardest rock… yes Carmel, we all need to remind ourselves about that.
    Ever so often in a class of 10 kids, there is one kid whom you cant reach out to, whom you dont understand.. thats when optimism is the emotion..persevere is the word..
    In India, we will be completing another academic year in less than 2 months. And yes, there are a couple of them in whom the progress / growth / development isnt tangible.. But, I am sure that there has been a difference, we need to wait and watch for it to show.

    • Rajani as a fellow teacher, I can appreciate how hard it is when you feel that you have not connected with a student. I have come to research late and am learning a whole new way of doing things. I have been working for the last four years on involving young people and learning from them. I do not know you, so have no awareness as to whether you have been observing and asking your student about how you can help him or her. That you are thinking about your student shows how much you care. Best wishes, Carmel.

      • Hi Carmel and Rajani,
        It is pleasing to see this conversation across thousands of miles and different cultural contexts. We can all learn so much from each other – I know that I have already learned from both of you. The sharing of ideas is something I have hoped to encourage through this blog, and you have provided a fine example of how this can become a useful platform for learning. Thank you both.

  3. Carmel, I too am a late entrant in the field of education. Ask your child, that the child is a collaborator in his/her own education is what i learnt a couple of years ago. Thanks!

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