WatersToday: Alright, Mr. Raman. Now that we're a month in, let's get right down to it: What's the hardest thing about pandemic teaching?
It's been really challenging to help my students embrace the love of learning while stuck in a situation that has made learning seem difficult.
Mr. Raman: What's one positive thing that you think will come out of this whole situation?
I think people have slowed down (or have been forced to slow down) the pace of their lives and focus on many things that can truly bring happiness—family, time alone, personal growth—as opposed to chasing after ephemeral pleasures.
If you could give your junior high self one piece of advice, what would it be?
That I am responsible for the life I want to have. Teachers, parents, and friends are there to help, but ultimately it's up to me to decide what kind of life I have—and a good one comes from having a great attitude and from creating opportunities rather than waiting around for them to come to me.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a teacher?
I'd be a musician. Not sure I would want to be touring all the time but I would love to make a life out of creating music...it’s good for the soul!
Love it! Do you have a favorite band?
I love Hendrix and the Smiths, but my favorite band is the one I'm in with my daughters. And Pre-Covid, I played around Chicago with my other band, Hilltop.
And you lead the Rock Band at Waters, right? What do you play?
I do! But since we can't get together right now I'll be offering online guitar classes to anyone who hasn't had enough screen time. [Editor's note: Stay tuned to Green Notes for details on that!] Personally, I play guitar, bass, piano, and sitar, all to varying degrees of annoyance.
If you could take your students on a field trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’d love to show them the country of India. It’s so very different from the United States, and I think field trips are about opening your blinders. The culture is so welcoming and mind-blowing, and you are instantly made to feel as if you have always belonged.
What’s something your students would be surprised to know about you?
I really try to connect with my students and so they end up knowing many things about me, but perhaps they don’t know that at one time I had a mullet and an earring. So now, everyone knows. Don’t judge. It was the 80’s. 35 years later, I am still ashamed.
Ha! Unless the answer to the next question is “my mullet,” there’s no reason to be ashamed: What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Great answer. Thank you Mr. Raman!