Teach For India Diaries #1 : )

To pen down the past one month almost seems like an impossible task; given the psychological, physical, socio-economical and emotional transitions that i have undergone!

If you are receiving this mail, you should know that you are one of the people that i want to keep in touch throughout my 2 year fellowship at Teach for India : ) 
You be be someone i will look to as a sounding board and you will be my “Giving Tree” 🙂

Leaving my job at HSBC global technology, comforts of home at Hyderabad, family and friends to take up a 2 Year fellowship at Teach for India has been one of the hardest decisions i have made in my life. The sheer uncertainity of whether i was cut out for the task freaked me out! Will i be able to do it? Is this what i really want? What if i fail? Will i lose steam midway? and a zillion other questions in my mind ! Frankly the answers to which i still don’t have :p
Before joining TFI i had a mindset that Teaching was a “noble” profession and you need to just have the passion for it. But the past one month has completely changed that for me! Teaching is a science more than an art! To be an excellent teacher you need to plan relentlessly, execute efficiently and continuously improve your efficiency! There are proven techniques that work! And people can get trained on them : )
In short, if you want a 40 minute class to be of value to your kids you can plan for up to 4 hours sometimes even a couple of days in advance! I have done that and still found that i could end up wasting ten minutes on getting “Nihal”(the naughtiest kid in my class) to sharpen his pencil and get down to work! You can plan every minute of your lesson and it can still fall apart completely! 🙂

The most amazing part of the training has been “Summer School”, Hands on teacher training! The chance to implement all that we learnt in our sessions in an actual classroom 🙂 I tried teaching “Rakesh” 3 Grade, “place values” in math 14 times! i learnt that when you wanna give up at the 13th time , DONT! coz the child will get it if you dont give up on him!
Rakesh went missing from school for two days, and when he came back the third day, i found out that his house was broken down and that they had to move to a tin roof slum. These are things that we hear of or read about or watch on television. But the fact that i came face to face with that situation left me unsettled about a lot of things. We had a session where we had to visit a community and a students house, for me it was a clear choice.I went to Rakesh’s house and spent time with his family! It was one of the best experiences in my life.Rakesh who barely utters a word, was animatedly telling me about how he spends his day and we bonded over pizza and a bookstore! These are harsh realities and there isn’t anything we can do about them. But what i have in my hands is my kids’ education and for these two years. That is something i can do something about : )
 
Well for a first diary entry i dont want it to be any longer than this. There is so much i wanna pen down! but there is so much i will share with you all over the next two years and would love to hear back from you! 
School reopens on 13th June! Cant wait to join!! 

I just want to end with a quote that i feel like i am living right now(courtesy my Program manager)  🙂
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come to help me because your liberation is bound up with mine, then, lets work together.” – Lila Watson.

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