Teach For India, a 2 year challenging experience and an effective learning one as well.
I chose TFI over my previous work because that’s what I wanted to do. The passion of teaching, belief in equity, love for kids and eagerness to create are all the factors that drew me to the fellowship.
This experience made me dive into the education system more carefully and helped me to understand how every child has the capability to attain his or her potential if given a right direction.
My first year started with a hustle but fortunately ended with teaching my 5th grade learners. The one thing that I notice every day when I visit school is their eagerness to learn. Their zest to learn is so high that it pushes my keenness to teach every single day.
“You do not teach by teaching- you teach by loving”. These are the only kind words I aim to shout out at the end of my fellowship and to gladly confess that I believed and lived by it.
Learning, it’s different for everybody as their life experience is. My class is full of unique learners. I remember Mustafa. He once came with his sister at a PTM and she scolded him for not telling her anything I convey to him about his studies or why he never studies at home. The little boy didn’t utter a word to his sister but when I asked him about English or Classroom culture, he was thorough with it. I told her sister to give him another chance and I know he will improve a lot. From that day till today Mustafa always raises his hand whenever I pop a question in class. This made me wonder about the shy ones in class who are all longing for attention and kindness in and outside class. It’s their zeal to learn that attracted kindness which acted as a medium to achieve what they want. He was the only one who made a highest jump in RC(Reading Comprehension) level score till date (0.2 to 1.5).
Ahmed, he is the epitome of enthusiasm of my class. Sometimes I feel my only job is to make him sit, but Ahmed learns the most when he is energetic. Ask him anything when he is all charged up, he will not just deliver the right answer but will transmit his energy to you and to the whole class.
One day I saw Shalini crying so hard in class and could not stop cursing Ahmed because of his mischievous behavior in class. I told her to calm down till I talk to Ahmed but she abruptly uttered that her previous class teacher would straighten Ahmed by beating him at this behavior. I was taken aback and told her no matter what I won’t hit him but yes I will make him understand the effect of his behavior on everybody as well as on him. After my talk with Ahmed, I tried to explain Shalini why hitting/beating is not the solution of the problem. Not sure that this 10 year old will understand “MY Why” behind it, but still I kept up my hope and explained her. Throughout the day I wondered are these kids taking this gentleness in the right way or am I doing it the wrong way. My doubts headed up until next day as soon as I entered the class Shalini came up to me and said, “I am really sorry Keertika didi,I shouldn’t have said that. I know I was wrong.” Her self-realization matters the most to me.
Failures are the building blocks of my counted success. I find the community, Govandi, not just challenging but difficult. Yes, it’s full of issues that I never imagined was a part of life. I believed scarcity of the three basic parameters (Food, Clothes and House) lead to all the problems in this world, but being in this community for these months made me realize that the lack of belief in LOVE is the real issue.
I learnt that learning is not bounded or controlled. My failures guide me towards my learnings and my challenges to be consistent with my learning amid all my daily struggles pushes me each day.
For me, this journey started with being kind and calm with them. One thing at a time.
During the journey I watch them discuss, debate, cry, express support and love, and then the belief that these kids are capable of just about anything, rises prominently.
There are great teachers all around the world. Do read what she is doing in her class:
Courtesy: Glennon Doyle Melton #ThankYou