There are a lot of things going on in my life now. Of course there is my job- I have the delightful task of interacting with all my ebullient and charming students. I also have my family- consisting of Mr V and my two kids, Arjun and Rishi. The second is the most important part, as I am sure you will all agree it should be. Arjun is in Primary 6 and Rishi is in Primary 4. Both are students of Henry Park Primary School. I stayed home for 10 years to be with them and be maximally involved in their early development, and only got back to work in January last year.
But there is a new aspect to my life now, and that is my studies. I am enrolled in a Masters in Educational and Social Research course with the University of London. It is an online course, so there is a lot of independence and self-discipline involved. But it is very exciting because in my virtual classroom I have friends from all over the world. My classmates hail from Ghana, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, US, Canada, Ireland, Australia, South Africa and so many other places. It is like a mini United Nations.
The first module I am doing is one entitled “Research Methods”, and it starts with a section on using interviews as a research method. We always just think about interviews as being occasions for people to ask questions while other people answer them. But did you know that there are many different types of interviews? There are structured interviews and more creative ones. Face-to-face interviews and electronic ones. Individual interviews and group ones. There are alsso many issues involved such as how the interviewer perceives the respondent. Does the interviewer think of the respondent as being an expert in a particular field? Does othe interviewer want to control the course of the interview? Does the interviewer believe that the interview should be more like a conversation that should be allowed to develop freely? And above all, the main question is what basis does the interviewer use to make all these decisions?
It has been ages since I read academic writing, which is much more meaning-packed and highly coded than most other types of writing. So the first few readings took me ages to get through. Now it is going much faster. My kids find it amusing that now they can remind me to study and do my homework. You should see us at home. My husband, my kids and I all study/ work at the same time, and the kids can ask for help whenever they need it. The house is very quiet until we take a collective break. And then all hell breaks loose!
I never stop learning. I have always loved reading and studying. So what if I am older than most of the people doing the course with me? Better late than never. And now I have my wonderful children to back me up and urge me on.