It’s Saturday evening and there is an absolute silence in the hostel. People are either sleeping, watching movies on their laptops with headphones on, playing at the basket ball court, roaming around the city for a good break or quietly in corners of their rooms working on lesson plans (a detailed plan of our 45-minute teaching everyday) for upcoming weeks. You may call people in the last category insane for choosing to work on weekends but after spending three weeks I can easily claim that no one in TFI could be devoid of insanity. Insanity is a common trait among the fellows! We have MBA from INSEAD, graduates from IIM Indore who are here to find their lives’ true calling. We have fellows who forgo admits from IIM-Bangalore or TISS Social Entrepreneurship program, people who gave up well-paying jobs or preparation for IAS or people who were just not happy being relaxed in their previous jobs and wanted real challenges. A bunch of crazy people makes Teach for India a very special place to work for. In a way, it is kind of serendipitous that all these crazy people found a common place.
The third week of our training has ended and backward counting has begun. Two more weeks and music will stop! The fellows will be on their own working in their respective schools in company of may be 1,2 or 3 more fellows. And the amazing support system and network we have during the training will not be this handy. Plus here we still are learners but once in schools we cannot allow ourselves to do mistakes.
You may be wondering what exactly we do in our training. I already talked about sessions conducted by trainers but that’s not all. An important component of our training is summer school. From second week here, we have been going to schools to teach. We have most lovable bunch of kids whose academic gap we aim to narrow during a span of four weeks. Two weeks have already gone. We have collected some assessment data to understand where the kids stand half-way of their summer school. Even if we get tangible results after two more weeks, the picture will be not easy to accept. It is really very difficult to visualize whether we are narrowing any gap because it is such a short time. Despite this fact, just in two weeks, each and every one of us is so connected to the kids that I am sure we all are hoping to see one day those kids going places. I sincerely hope our efforts works like a geometric progression and we in these four weeks are able to set the value of the multiple of that progression.
Personally for me, I have felt connected to one girl child especially. Her face is etched in my mind deeply but unlike National Geographic photographer who found the afghan refugee 17 years later,
I want to see life of Gauri closely.
I have fallen in love with that girl and would be blessed if I could see her growing up and see her getting successful in whatever she chooses to do. Academically she is the kid I am struggling the most but for each of my struggle she replies with immense unconditional love.
She is a second grader; She forgets things easily, does not remember what was taught a minute ago but suddenly from somewhere she would tell me what was taught three days ago.
I try to repeat lot of things and scribble them down in her notebook so that she remembers.
She will remain silent the whole day. I will have to make efforts for getting her to speak comfortably and eventually she will open up just to speak “What Urdu you have written in my notebook?”
Laughter! Innocent Laughter! Of Gauri and I!