December 1st was a very special day for me. On a personal level, i finally made an attempt towards paying a humble tribute to Bhagat Singh, the man whose sacrifice gave me the courage to take the first steps itself. On a professional level, the kids achieved their first big goal, we still have 7 more of them to go but the first is always the hardest to get. The splendid performance by the kids inspired me to write about my journey so far as a teacher in Khushi Rainbow home.
I officially started working in Khushi from July but had been already visiting it since May end so as to be better prepared in understanding the psyche of children,to ensure a better delivery from my side. It took me almost 2 months to get adjusted, a long time to get to see the WHY behind the children’s actions. During the initial days, i remember being frustrated at their actions. Its only now that i realize that my frustration was borne out of my own inabilities of not being able to understand it and then do something about it. It took me time to find that depth within me to be able to overlook their immediate actions and to be able to see the reasons from which those actions were emanating. It was also really tough to be able to learn to control my own instinctive reactions to situations, to find that depth of understanding that it’s those instinctive reactions that they are trying to bring out, to understand that it’s their own innocent way of testing whether i was really there for them or not(The kids are all from backgrounds wherein people all around them have never really lived up to any of the promises they have made so why would they trust me to be someone who does deliver).
Having once won the initial struggle of gaining their trust and connecting with them, i turned my attention to their needs in and out of the classroom. It has been more than 5 months now and i have all 34 kids coming into my class. I teach them in 3 different groups: The first group is of 8 kids who get bridging education, 2nd group of 15 kids of classes 3-5(Deepalaya School) and 3rd group of 11 kids of classes 5-8(Balwant Rai School). I realized that my 2nd and 3rd group are already getting knowledge based education in school so i needed to focus more on building skills. I then built my whole curriculum around the skills i wanted to build in the kids: primary of them being English speaking,writing and comprehending and character building. I have introduced 5 character traits to my kids: Zest, Curiosity, Self-Control, Grit and Social Intelligence. They will be getting their first character report card soon.
In order to complete another one of my big goals which involved reading at-least 10 proper books by the year end, a library was set up with the help of Aseem’s Library coordinator Nadira Mam, so as to get them to start reading. An reading template was also handed out to the kids to track and record details about the books they read so as to keep them informed about their growth towards the goal.
Also, based on my observation and interactions with their school teachers, i saw a lack of confidence among the kids in their behavior with their peers. So, i got them invested in the idea of a bilingual play on Bhagat Singh(another one of the big goals), an Indian revolutionary who inspires me a lot. I read them his story and also showed them a movie made on his life. The play for me meant paying a befitting tribute to Bhagat Singh, my idol and was an attempt from my side to get the different groups of kids to work together and hopefully bring an end to the animosity that exists between them. Also,the play being a satirical comedy was an attempt on my part to impact the sub-conscious part of the kids, i wanted to leave a spark somewhere in their mind hoping that someday it would turn into a full blown fire and lead them towards achieving their highest potential.
It has really been an eventful 5 months with a lot of ups and downs and an immense amount of struggle but i can’t tell you how much i have enjoyed every step of it. I am really hoping to get the rhythm built in academics now so as to get them on the path of achievement in their classes. The struggle has really made strong my faith in the belief that purity in thought coupled with the right amount of efforts and the patience and perseverance to stick it out no matter what can never ever fail. Life is its beautiful self as always.