Ever since i have started teaching at Khushi, my own limits have been so so badly challenged that i have now almost become clueless to what i can do and what i can’t. I am so numbed and overwhelmed by the nature of the challenge that i have before me that all i can do is to smile at it and keep trying to push ahead. However, the kids have finally started resonating to my untiring, repeated efforts and have started coming to me with the problem they face in their studies. Before this, the only response that i could elicit out from them (upon asking them to come and study in my class) was that they didn’t need help and that their school teacher was sufficient. That was surely not the case for i could see them struggling with their poor english and almost non-conceptual understanding of Maths. I knew that i would have to wait and slowly gain their respect by teaching them well and then slowly slowly, they would start seeing value in me as a teacher. Good news: That has started to happen. 🙂
So, yesterday, i was taking their reading tests,The time was around 7 for the girls who had kept their roza had gone to break their fast, when all of a sudden Anmol walks in with Ameena and announces to me that bhaiyya, please leave everyone and teach us maths, we have a test tomorrow. I look up to her and think to myself that is this really happening, for anmol is one girl who had to be dragged into my class. She is like-the biggest trouble-makers of the home. I had around 7-8 kids who were all sitting around me doing different things, some maths, some EVS and some english, i wanted to almost say no to her for i felt that i shouldn’t be leaving the other kids and just giving them top-priority all of a sudden. However, i somewhere knew that this was my moment to show her my value as a teacher and make her believe in me. Anmol is a kid who is very aggressive and has a lot of issues with the home staff, she is heavily skeptical about any staff member and likes to speak her mind in not so good language. I asked her and Ameena to come and sit and show me what all was in the syllabus. Pat came back the reply: We want to study alone. This has been like one big issue for me here for all the kids are so independent and assertive that they want my full attention all the time. Also, they would either have it all or none of it, so the moment they see me giving it to someone else, they leave. Yes, they just stand up and leave the room. They do return in a some days but that’s a different story.
I asked all the other kids to give me some time to teach these two as they had their test, the topic that i was supposed to teach was fractions(my favorite). Now, both had a brief understanding of what fractions is but were getting stuck at adding them up. I had earlier explained to Ameena this very topic but her school-teacher had made her rub-off the way i had taught the sum(which was nothing but a simpler way of telling the kids the same thing). I took a deep breath and started out explaining it out to them the way their teacher had taught them. After teaching them the objective 3 times and solving around 2-3 sums, i handed out 2 sums each to them to practice. Now Ameena picks up things really fast and she was bang-on with her answers, however, Anmol due to her aggression is very impatient and expects things to quickly work out, the moment even the slightest of problems occur, she tends to run away shouting. She tore the page in which she was doing the sum and shouted: I hate maths bhaiyya, mujhse nai hota( I can’t do this). I took her copy from her and re-explained the concept to her 2 times and them gave her another sum to solve. This time around, when Ameena solved it quickly, Anmol snapped at her stating: Tujhe bahut jyada aa raha hai, samjhdar to tu hi hai bas(You seem to be knowing it all, as if you are the only intelligent one here). It wasn’t even Ameena’s fault, she is like the best student that a teacher can have. Upon hearing this, she burst into tears. So now i had a kid who was crying and another who wasn’t getting the concept and showing aggression as an escape strategy.
I had to take a couple of deep breaths and re-explained it to Anmol, giving her a new sum again(while simultaneously hugging ameena to quieten her down). Yet again, the page ended up getting torn. However, this time around something really unexpected happened, Anmol started crying. I was at my wits end, i had 2 girls crying in front of me, i had taught a concept around 7-8 times and also, i was been forced to teach it to them the harder way because some teacher somewhere had her ego coming in the way of kids growth. I held myself together and hugged anmol and asked her to slowly do the sum again with me. I had to re-teach it to her around 4-5 times more before she finally got it and all along, she was crying and saying that she hates studies and wants to run away. I had to just hold her together while simultaneosly holding myself together. My patience has been stretched like rubber over the past month, in-fact it has been almost torn. The best part was that while i was teaching Anmol, the other kids were all standing by and simply supporting me in pushing her to solve it, one of them in-fact, even realized that it was late and got me food. Another kept getting me water at regular intervals and all of this without me even having to ask.
I am so in love with teaching and i am so glad that i could hold out so long with Anmol for if i as a teacher would have given up at that moment on the kid, the kid would have surely given up on herself. Each kid is special, who am i to even think of any of them as mediocre, they all can be excellent, i as a teacher have to believe in that and push them towards it. It’s tough but totally worth doing, enjoying and living up every moment of it and of-course Smiling and Pushing ahead.