Today, we were invaded by some six to seven year old children, who had their field trip at IRRI. We always entertaining visitors from all walks of life, but this is the first time we handled children—and not just children, from a kindergarten class!
Imagine a horde of 20 plus, infinitely curious kids who could be rambunctious, ferocious, and naughty. We even role played that I would be the strict elder sister who would just shout “Quiet!” to children.
But then, all of these imaginary “terrorist” attacks dissipated the moment these children walked into our ordinarily quiet space. I was actually feeling nervous as they came in closer to our office. I remember our professor in Scientific and Technical Communication class, Dr. Tere Velasco, asked us, her Development Communication graduate students, “Choose a scientific theory and explain it to an eight year old child.”
I forgot what I have written in that exam, but now, I am more nervous because how the heck can I explain Postharvest process, or machines for that matter,to children, when the last time I was able to babysit a child was ten years ago? (Students, take your Graduate School exam questions to heart).
But then, I was fortunate to have my engineer colleagues with me, who happens to have children (well, one of them. The other is a bachelor, so we felt a bit intimidated with kids. Yeah, we’re that intimidated). Being a parent is quite an advantage because you would have the explanation how to explain an abstract concept to children. What would make them feel interested the most, but to let them see how rice is polished? So, my officemate showed the children how it’s done, and I feel pleased how curious children were. Quoting an Entomologist I recently interviewed, that sometimes, it’s more fun to teach three to six year old kids; “You just have to know how handle their erratic attention span.”
Kids, are always cute, and they are even cuter if they are curious. I hope that the children who visited us today had fun (I heard they planted rice), and learned a lot.
We’re thinking of switching on the laser leveling to reveal the beam it emits (for sending land leveling signals), so we could earn more “COOL!” expressions from the kids. I sincerely hope one of them becomes an Agricultural Engineer, or an Agriculturist someday. For now, I feel contented that they had the time of their lives to climb up a mini tractor and pretend they could drive it (If I have my own child, I would be really thrilled for him/her).