On 29thAug, I was in a good mood…. midterms over….not much work to do……. only movies to watch…. fully “bewarse” in a geek’s sense. As I sat before the PC, I remembered what my frend said the other day. It was about AshaKiran, the school run by our IIITians. I am always interested in teaching and when I came to know that we can teach kids there, my joy knew no bounds. I finally mailed Renjini, one of the co-ordinators that I am interested in AK. Well, as soon I got a prompt reply that I can come there the same evening at 5, I was excited… ofcourse, didn’t begin dreaming about the moments yet..though :) Well, finally, as it was about to become 5, it began raining. I went there with a rain-jacket on. As I opened the gate and went in, there were 3,4 men sitting. I asked them where the school is. They pointed to the next door. As I entered the next door, I saw around 15-20 kids sitting there…some reading, some chatting, some..er..quarelling. I had this nagging feeling: How will they react when they see a lady in branded jeans, posing with her hands in the rain-jacket and walking in just like that..without the standard ingredients, that make a teacher. But, as soon as I heard them shout- “teacher… ” I was relaxed. Well, seriously I din’t understand if Iam making them feel at ease or they are making me feel so…. :)
“teacher, we dont know u!” – said a voice. The rest gave me the same kind of look. “well, I am a new teacher. Coming from today”. “teacher what is your name?” , “teacher, come, sit with us na”, “teacher, site even closer to us na” …. I was drenched in their innocent love. Well, the emotional person that I am, even a slightest display of affection touches me very deeply…and this is no exception for it…. for the people who feel – “haa…what is there in those kids saying so” this is the answer.. :) Ok.. after that, one girl asked me a question: “teacher, please explain me from here to here”-pointing to some lines in the textbook. Well, first, I was doubtful, if I can really make her understand, owing to my total ignorance to telugu-medium terms for Mathematical words. I told her: “I will explain only the problem. You yourself should find out the solution”. With all those anti-spoon feed notions I have, I was thinking of all ways that my little mind can think of …. to tell things in a new way. I dont know if they followed what i said. But, they just nodded. Ok..with some reading, I was able to follow the terms and explained it to them, without solving a single problem there. “I dint understand when my sir told in class teacher. Now I do” – one girl said…. I was pretty excited at this dialog. But…I preserved the feeling to pour it here… :) [this last sentence is the exact translation from my telugu original :) ]
There was a great deal of learning in store for me. First, one girl came up asking me to write some division problems so that she will do. She displayed great confidence too. As I was about to give some sample problems, I wanted to know how many TABLES she knew. But, I didn’t know what they call tables. So, I asked one of them – ” what do you call saying: 2 ones are 2, 2 twos are four ? ” -with a sheepish look. The girl answered with “dont u know even this much?” kinda look, and said – “EKKAALU teacher!”. I was amused seeing her triumphant face and I also remembered this word EKKAALU which I knew….but couldn’t recollect at the moment. Ok, here, again, one memorable experience happened. One girl understood well, one didn’t. This girl took charge of that one to make her understand. This was the kind of interactive classroom I dreamed about. knowledge gaining-knowledge sharing…both going hand in hand. Some how, i was reminded of those dry KT sessions that happened in my team sometime back. At this juncture, the co-ords came and the rain too has subsided i guess.
I think theirs is a method of teaching children through exams…or rather…making themselves learn. Well, ofcourse, since I am their member, now, its my method too. :) There was one guy whom we noticed in the process, who didn’t know alphabets. So, I took the responsibility of teaching alphabets to him. It was a great…unforgettable experience for me. The feeling of teaching him the first alphabet of his Mother tongue thrilled me a lot…and took a long time to sink in. There was something strange i noticed here. While people going to school…and having a structured(atleast officially) maths education were struggling to do the exercise given, this boyz(Nagesh) was doing it quite quickly compared to others….not even writing anything. He was doing telugu alphabet and I was making the boy beside him do Maths. Nagesh was too enthusiastic to do Maths as that was what he knew very well. I have to coax him saying, if he learns up to say am aha, I’ll give him that exercise. First, I didn’t understand the reason for his sharpness in Math. Later, I understood-His life taught him Math. It seems he doesn’t go to school. his work taught him maths. Practical Mathematics…. math in life….. by NAGESH :)
Well, actually….1.5 hours on tuesday and 2 hours on wednesday were experiences which left memories for a life time. So…. this is showing the tendency of becoming an endless blog… so, I will try stopping here. It was a wonderful experience. I dont quite understand if I am amidst so many little GURUS or I myself am teaching them. Learnt a lot of things from both the kids and their mentors there about a lot of things in these 3 days. Hope such kind of schools come everywhere and there will be no kid who suffers with illiteracy. Lots of thoughts passed my mind as I left hostel and was on my way home on tuesday…even after going home, i talked nothing but kids-education to my mom. For the past 2 days…nothing but this again with my close frens…. :) It would have been really nice if people spend atleast a 10th of what they spend on Ganesh-Chaturthi utsav on these kind of acts in their neighbourhood. A somewhat different telugu variant of the same article can be viewed here.