Monday, August 30, 2010

Never thought I had to publish this post!

After my BTech, when I started working, I realized that very little of what was taught during my undergrad (at supposedly one of the top institutes in the country) was useful in the real world.

At UCLA, I felt that the graduate education is so much more meaningful since it is very close to real stuff out there and so was my research - hands on.

For joining IIIT-D, one of the primary reasons was the enthusiastic colleagues who were striving to change the undergrad curriculum and make it more meaningful for the next generation. I felt that here is an opportunity to provide my younger friends with something I felt was missing in my undergrad education.

After teaching the PhD level course last semester, I had an opportunity to teach the 3rd year students a course which would have been more meaningful for me with a smaller class size and more interested students. But when there was a discussion of redesigning the system management course and teaching it to the first year students, I got excited and opted for it. Here was an opportunity to teach the students fresh into college, the skills and tools that from my experience are very useful all through the education (and your professional career if you opt for a technical one) but are usually never taught in a class room setting.

A lot of thought went into not just deciding the curriculum but the way teaching should be done. I had always argued with my colleagues and have passed on the same message to all of you that I consider you all as adults - who know what is good and what is bad for your own self; who understand if the other person is working hard for you and have the capacity to reciprocate; who would enjoy the freedom and responsibility given to them (that was often missing when I was a student); and who would love the fun filled teaching style.

But I was so wrong.

Most of you seem to be corrupted beyond a position of return. And the rest of you follow the suit by not raising a voice against it. The person committing the wrong deed is probably your friend and by letting him do it, you are not abiding by the true rules of friendship but actually going against it.

College life indeed is fun and I will be the first one to vouch for it. I thought I could design a course that could make it even better. It is for that purpose, I included the individual assignment so that you will be forced to take out time for doing something you always wanted to do but it took a backseat. It is for this purpose I thought if you guys can learn better by trying to create a play/video out of whatever you learn in the class.

All this means extra work for me as well. I can very easily come and speak up in the class, leave, take exams and then just grade in the end. I never got the sort of feedback I expected. But I still thought that it will take you all some time to adjust and was always willing to give you guys that breathing space.

Today, I was dejected.

There should be some principles in everyone's life that one should always adhere to - no matter what. If you are not interested in the course, accept a lower grade and you should be able to justify it later. Grades do not matter in the long run, principles do. And it is often almost impossible to unlearn things as you grow older. You are in that critical moment of your life when you can question how things have been in the past and create a vision about how you want them to be. If you do not create these set of principles for yourself, you will be leading a hollow life all through. And the sad part is that the realization of this will occur when it is already too late.

I hope at least some of you will do certain introspection after what happened today. It was just a small quiz, probably I wouldnt even have included the score in the final evaluation. And cheating to get a few extra marks may just seem to be not a big deal. The act indeed is not. But the idea that you didnt feel bad while doing it is indeed wrong.

Hope you dont learn too many such things which become baggage for the rest of your life since very soon it will be too late to unlearn.


  1. sorry sir on my part.I cannot say on the part of others that they will change or not but i assure you that such act of cheating will not be committed by me in the future

  2. Sir,It's not abt the 27,it's about all of us.None of us should,or may,put the blame on those who were caught.It's understandeable that it was OUR mistake.
    May be the culture that we had been following at school was responsible for whatever that happened today and before this.We were never taught to appreciate a 'teacher' for his hard work.For us,all that comes from a 'teacher' is only a burden.Nevertheless,It is definitely something I can assure that all of us,atleast most of us do recognize the hardwork and passion u put in.But,maybe because of peer pressure,or to save your image from being that of a teacher's lad,no one bothers to bring it to your fore front.
    To justify whatever i said above,I can only say that there were over 60 students,who were waiting to apologize to you,and this number also had the ones who were caught.However,we were told by the guard that u had left,and then someone else also added that you didn't want to see our faces.Even we felt totally dejected and feeling shattered after reading your email which ended with hints that you would not be teaching us with the same passion and zeal because you realize that we aren't worth it.Sir,we request you to please forgive us for acting so kiddish and for the last time,give us a chance to improve our own selves and mend our ways.

    Sir,we all may have been a little too late to understand that we were wrong and doing only the worse by not appreciating and recognizing you as a teacher(by appreciating I do not mean verbal communication in some or the other way).And also,not recognizing how important the values are rather than grades.We all,atleast some,thoroughly enjoy your lectures despite the fact that the course might not have a theory exam.The hunger for good grades might take some time to end,but we assure you that even if it stays in some of us,none will try to follow the path that some followed today.
    It is a sincere apology from all of us for whatever that happened today,and we ascertain you that you will definitely see a new class altogether tomorrow onwards.
    Btech - 2010

  3. Sir, I totally agree with Arjun. It is just not a fault of some, but a childish behavior from our side as a class. But sir along with our sincere apologies for what happened today, we would like you to know that we feel indeed lucky that we have a mentor like you who cares about our future so much and guides our immature minds towards what's right. Incidents like these and teachers like you make us responsible human beings and we want you to understand that this course and you are very valuable towards our growing up as adults and we hope you are with us fully as we should have been and will be from now on.
    B. Tech. 2010

  4. I realize that most of us in class have a very bad attitude when it comes to learning. I apologize for this, and give you my word that I'll correct this fault in myself, and to the full extent of my ability try to help my fellow students out of this hole we're digging ourselves into.

    We all feel guilty about our callous response to the efforts you've put into this course. And we'd all feel terrible if you lost your motivation to teach because of us.

    I hope this incident is only a minor setback to an otherwise fruitful education.

  5. Sir, we all realize our mistake about the shameful act we all did in class. I think anyone can easily make out that how much effort you put in while designing the course since it is the first time. We all are guilty but everyone wants that you must continue to teach us with the same passion and zeal.

    From the first day even, the day we had orientation, since we didn't know the names of the instructors that time, I heard many guys saying " sardarji ka course sabse badiya hai".

    So, sir it's not like that we don't like this course or we feel it as a burden. But the mistake done was just because till now whatever we all have learned is just to gain marks. The attitude needs to be changed as after all what matters is just the learning.

    So, sincere apologies from us and we assure not to repeat such a careless attitude in future.

    B.TECH 2010

  6. I don't have big words to say, Sir. But this will never happen again. We promise.

  7. Sir,
    I think the views of the entire batch in general has been presented before you in the form of comments made by Arjun,Apoorv,Amol and Kashish.
    The class really respects you a lot and is feeling hurt that our act has pained you so much. We now realize that being an adult actually brings with it greater responsibility something that we have never really appreciated. we always prefer the 'chalta hai' attitude to the hard way. We think of marks as the most important thing because thats what we have been doing all along in our school life.

    Your methods of teaching to say the least have been revolutionary : blogs, lab evaluation, individual projects. And initially we were like what is all this ?

    But today due to you and your passion for the subject we finally do believe that yes people are there who believe in us,who look beyond marks and who think that the joy of learning is the most important thing.

    And we sincerely apologise for our mistake and promise to help you in making the course even better for the coming batches so that they dont miss out on the fun associated with the SM course.

    B.Tech 2010

  8. I guess the guys above have spoken everything I wanted to. Yet I would like to say that I too, and I am sure everyone, wants you to teach us with the same passion and liking. We've learnt loads of things from this course that we wouldn't have learnt anywhere else, and it is clear in every lecture that you're always thoroughly enjoying when you're teaching. We don't want that to end.

    I sincerely hope that you can forgive us all, and that we can move on from what happened recently. I'm sure everyone's attitude will change for the better, and we assure you that you'll see as much, if not more, effort from our side, as you put in the course. :)

  9. I guess since I am the one who posted the blog, I should officially put an end to this discussion as well :)

    Howsoever I want you guys to change your attitude since it will help you in the future, I can tell you I can not change mine :) - the problem of unlearning with the age I mentioned in my post :)

    I very strongly believe that there are new ways that we should try to teach the new things that the world has to offer. And that also means a lot of learning for us - the advantage of being in academic setting. So I would continue doing the same for the rest of the semester and the rest of the time I am in academics :)

    I sincerely hope that there will at least be 1-2 of you who really would change for good! Of course, the more the merrier - I would be the proudest person to claim some good people in the future as my students :)

    So, far now, take some learning and chill! :)


    PS: Enough of sentimental stuff from both me and quite a lot of you both online and offline. Lets put an end to all of this but I am sure it will all be worth at least a good laugh a few years from now if you read all this again - power of blogging! :)