Yesterday finally I was in a classroom as a teacher, how I wish my self to be in a physical classroom - but even though I couldn't be in one, I do not regret it much!
Being a teacher wasn't even a distant dream of mine when I was growing up - although as kids we did pretend play a teacher, but taking it up as a career was not what I thought of. But with time and growing understanding of things - I just decided to be one and today I can say that I have got the best platform to be a teacher.
Teach for India - changed a lot of things for me and I will always be proud of myself to have opted this fellowship - rather I must say I am proud of myself to have been selected for this fellowship - it isn't easy at all - but that all together would become a different topic to write upon!
When I got to know my kids last week - with each interaction I knew I am going to have the best learning experience - these kids buzzing with energy, love and affection, with so much warmth - they were so welcome - must mention - kids have a gigantic heart filled with all the good emotions you can think of.
I was nervous, very nervous - though Teach for India is giving us the best training, there was so much planning and hard work put into before enabling us to reach our kids - I did put in my best - all what I could yet there was a mess - in the beginning I thought I wouldn't be able to take a good class, all the zoom meeting thing - it was a lot to do.
Though I have a software engineering background - tech thing should be an issue for me - to be honest may be that wasn't actually the reason - a teacher has to do a lot more than one could think of.
No it isn't as easy as going to a classroom and giving some lecture - there is a tremendous amount of back end planning required and added to it is all the co-ordination you need to do.
While in the virtual set up, though you have all the controls in your hand to keep your kids on mute, giving limited access to chat box or restricting the annotation on screen yet to be able to have the feel of actually being among the kids, having the feel of being in a classroom - I don't think the need of using all those controls - though trust me after the class - I though if using some of them.
During the class, it was difficult to contain the excitement of the kids, along with managing to share the screen, looking out for hand raise, the waiting room, the buzzing chat box, observing the videos, ensuring all kids are participating and above all you are actually teaching what you have planned while managing the time!
I felt like a super women - post the class I really felt so good about myself - I can never express in words- I was like ye kar liya to mai kuch bhi kr skti hu!
Pr baat sirf itni hi nahi hai - the most difficult part was planning for the class - preparing that lesson plan and the presentation - thinking of all the activities to make the lesson interesting and easy to understand - creating effective assessments and along with that ensuring that your kids actually attend your class - OMG! looking back - I don't even remember how I did all what I did in a week.
Mine is a Government school - when I interacted with the parents of my kids - I was touched by their stories - there were some hard hitting realities, things I couldn't even think of, the truth I knew yet I didn't but with all of it their were stories of HOPE - all I took from those interactions was HOPE - the parents who ensure their kids attend the virtual classroom even if that means they go to work while leaving their cell phones at home, of parents who ensure that they can get the net recharge done so that their kids don't miss the classes, parents who would sit with their kids to attend the class with them, parents who ensured I knew what their kids are and offered me all the support that I could ask for - for me they are the actual SUPERHERO's.
When I was preparing the culture plan for my classroom I choose the theme of SUPERHEROES - I planned a lot - Avenger's was what I named my classroom but last week - I realized that the kids I am going be in a classroom with already have their superheroes - they do not need new ones - they may or may not realize it now but one day they will. I would also give credit to my Program manager at TFI - he just said one statement and I knew that I was far away from the reality.
In the classroom juggling between so many things - what I realized was that at the end all your efforts are justified when your kids say they loved your class - during the feedback time when my kids were annotating on the screen and writing on the chat box - I just couldn't stop smiling - there were so many emotions - I didn't knew what to do - I never felt that way - that was the time I realized that being a teacher is the best thing that has happened to me.
From yesterday to today I have been in touch with the kids - they are all over my Whatsapp - sharing about themselves - such honesty, such innocence, such love - I could have never experienced had I not been their Didi - Mitali Didi - haha - my name - they don't understand it - but nothing matters to them - I now them for only a week - but it already feels like years - It has just been a few day and I have started thinking that it would only be for 2 years - then my fellowship would end.
I struggled so much while planning for the classroom, I could not sleep, don't even ask about my neck and my back - so much pain - anxiety, nervousness, all the hard work everything that I went through while juggling between the household chores to the training - the tasks, assessments, assignments, the culture plan to lesson planning and so much - I only know that all of it was worth - When those kids shower you with their unadulterated unconditional love, when they smile and call you didi - you know you are at the right place - doing the right thing!
If I had to summarize my experience of being a teacher for the first time that too in a virtual set up I would say there could be nothing better than this!
I still want to meet them and be in a physical classroom surrounded with them - with all the chaos - with my school team but what I have now it would not have had if it wasn't the way it is.
I have so many people to thank for - starting from my husband who supported me through out to my family who were happy for me to take up this challenging not so lucrative job, to my recruiter in TFI who is more of a friend now Harinee, all the fellows - Vasudha, Heer as special mentions - but their are so many of them, the staff of TFI especially the Pune Parivaar, my Learning Circle - Arbaz, Adhir Sir, Pooja, Nivedita, Madhurya, Athira, my Program Manager Gaurav, my school team Harmeet, The Madhu bhaiya, Saikat, Harpreet, and MY KIDS for sure - trust me these are just a few!!
I only know my journey would be full of challenges, struggles, roller coaster as Shaahen mentions but with all of it, I just know it is going to the best!
Ohh! The places I will go....
Attaching some of art pieces of my super duper talented champion kids - they were so excited to share these with me - and I am already swelling with pride - I feel like a parent of so many of them now!
Do view/listen and shower them with a lot of praise and love!
Until next blog - Take Care!
Lots of Love,