Unlike the last 2 years, this time around Teacher’s Day wasn’t even slightly enjoyable for me. Firstly, i was away from my kids and Secondly, It bought back a horrible memory, a memory which i was running away from, a memory which i wasn’t ready to face or accept. It brought it back so strongly that i just couldn’t avoid it anymore. The truth is that deep within i knew that i had wronged my girls and running away from it only made it worse. I left them like all others did before me, i left them alone when they needed me the most. I left them after teaching them to fight, to hope. I am no better than those people who visit a children’s NGO to feel good about themselves and use the children’s helpless state for enhancing their own image.
My kids once told me that the reason behind their not trusting me was that they had seen so many people come and connect and make big promises and then just leave. They were tired of looking up to people who couldn’t even keep their words. I am no different. It has been 4 months now since my Teach for India fellowship ended and i am yet to visit my students. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal had the facts not been the way they are:
a) Most of my girls jumped at-least 2 classes so as to get in an age-appropriate class. I had assured them that there would be good teachers there to help them cope with the jump. However, as of now they have no teacher whatsoever. (Post our failure as fellows in making any academic impact whatsoever and due to the million other admin difficulties, which the associated NGO just wasn’t interested in solving, Teach for India pulled out, hence no Teachers).
b) ) I am living just 3 kms away from them and haven’t even bothered to find out how they have been.
c) I backtracked on my promise of organizing things for their skill development so as to help them find a job and thus, take control of their lives as and when they grew up.
I still remember my last lecture, my girls had taken it normally for they were sure that i of all people wasn’t going anywhere. I could feel that trust and see it in their eyes, the trust of simply knowing that i would be there, no matter what. In spite of all adversities throughout the year, It was this warmth that had kept me going. The kids loved me and that was all that mattered.
However, I just panicked when i saw Teach for India pulling out of the school, i didn’t know how to look at my girls in the eye and tell them that they wouldn’t be having a new teacher. So, like most people, i too took the easy way out, I choose to RUN, i choose to not face them. I deserted them. I broke that sacred trust.
I finally faced it last night and it(my cowardice) hit me with such bloody force, i cried for a long time before finally deciding to fight it out. Instead of being a helpless observer, I have made a simple plan of action to get involved but will share it only post doing it. Action first, Talk later. I know i can’t shape their destiny but i can at-least provide them the opportunities/chances to shape it up for themselves. Lastly and most importantly, I will go there to meet them and apologize for my erratic behavior.
Facing this truth really bought a lot of peace to my warring mind, it was really a strong experience and has made me value the importance of doing things in the NOW even more. 🙂