Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Letter to my team in previous company

Hello everyone,

Sorry I have not emailed you in a long time. I haven't forgotten. It's just that last few days have been crazy.

So, I started teaching from this Monday and have officially become a teacher. Currently, I am managing two classrooms as another Teach for India fellow is undergoing training. He will be joining in another three weeks to manage one of the classrooms.

Before recess break, I teach Class 2 and after recess I teach Class 3. And managing two classrooms of 35 kids each is very hard. Most of the students are from very poor background. These are first-generation learners. Most of the mothers are housemaids, or do laundry, or are toy-makers. They cannot even read students' diaries I write.

I have a kid who is about to loose his sight completely in few months. He comes to school because he loves to learn. And whatever homework I give, he makes sure he finishes it. A very self-motivated child. I have another student who has some issues with his motor skills. He cannot even repeat a simple word I speak.

I have taken diagnostic test for students to assess their current English and Maths level according to EI standards. 100% of my students have scored less than 50%. The situation is really appalling.

By rote memorization, Students have learnt to read the words. But they don't understand meaning of them. So, they don't even know the meaning of "Have you got it?" or "Didi is dancing" or "Crying" or "Angry"

Teaching is very hard. One of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. But there are lot of inspirations in Teach for India staff and fellows. Like my current Program Manager lived all her life in UK and taught in Uganda in her first year. She managed 400 kids in a week in different shifts teaching continuously for 15 hours. I have to manage just 35 after three weeks.

I miss office sometimes. I miss the times I did Server-Application Data Scenarios or resolved Birth Certificate Issues or did those conference calls or had Dosa and tea breaks. They were good times. Challenging but comfortable in lot of ways.

But here I am, at the place where I am needed more badly than anywhere else. I have a vision. These kids should become capable of taking their families out of abject poverty. But currently these kids are not invested  that can make this even a remote possibility. I have a huge challenge in hand. I hope I can live to see it through.

I no longer have well-polished conference rooms or an air-conditioned workstation. I eat chalk dust everyday in harsh Delhi summers. I don't even have that kind of pay check as I used to have. My life has gone for a complete 360 degrees toss. I don't mind. I sleep well. Really well!

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