Archive for August, 2009

“It’s been four weeks since the fellowship kicked off and it seems like two years. It’s been the hardest I have worked in years and definitely the toughest job I have ever had.

The day starts at 6:30 with the Fellows boarding the bus for Summer School and ends at midnight with all of us planning our lessons for the next day.

Yesterday we completed our three week of teachings. My class has 14 students. The ‘differentiation’ ranges from kids being able to read fluently to those that do not know the English alphabet-from those who can multiply by up to 3 digits to those who cannot count up to 20. Every moment of every class that I have taken, I have had all my leadership competencies and communication skills challenged like never before. Needless to say, all the kids come from low-income backgrounds.

One Fellow’s conversation with a kid went something like this

Fellow – “Why did you come late for school?”

Kid – “Bhaiya, the auto had a puncture and we had to stop to get the puncture repaired”

Fellow – “You should have been put in another auto. Tomorrow I am going to scold your autowalla”

Kid – “Bhaiya, the autowalla is my father”

In these two weeks I have heard stories and witnessed transformations (and experienced my own) which have made me cry at least once a day. I believe the experience is changing me little by little everyday and will change my life forever by the time I finish here. In this short time I feel alienated with my past life, which was just a month ago. It gets does get lonely sometimes but there is satisfaction in knowing that I am now in sync with another reality of which I was aware of only through statistics. My idea of a social worker has changed forever. The people that I have met during the fellowship have been inspiring to say the least. I have met social workers who can talk about child sexual abuse and Man U’s next match in the same breath. These guys are cool. And yet they can make you cry with their stories.

I am learning things about teamwork which I never did in all my years. For the first time in my life I am a part of a hundred extremely

ambitious and passionate young men and women, working together, who are NOT COMPETING AMONG THEMSELVES. All they are aspiring to be are better teachers with a laser sharp focus on a shared vision. I hope one can gauge how that leads to so much lesser friction which leads to that much more productivity. Transactional productivity be damned. Relative grading be damned. Forced rankings be damned. Those terms are not the solution for achievement, and definitely not for productivity.

While an article like this will never be able to do complete justice to the experience, I think there is a need to introspect. There is a need  to experience that “lowest common denominator”. There is a need to live consciously. There is a need to do something, anything. Kuch toh kar, yaar!

We often talked about doing our bit and not trying to boil the ocean.

The fact is that we do need to boil the ocean. There is too much muck beneath the blue surface and taking out just our bucket worth of water is not going to change it.

Being a teacher is cool. Try it. It will change your life forever. It

might even change the world. It might even get you dinner with Nandita Das.”

–          Siddharth Bhaiya

Sidharth Agarwal is from Pune. He has done his post graduation in Business Administration from S P Jain Centre of Management and was working before joining Teach For India


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“Today was the last day of summer school for 4 of my students –Aditya, Jay, Kishan and Akash. When they were learning ,I was taking down their numbers and address so that I could mail them their photographs. Suddenly Jay came and asked me for my number . He said ,”I will call you just  incase if you forget to call me .”I was so overwhelmed at that point and I realized the attachment that I have already made with my students in just 3 weeks.”

–          Indira Aditi Didi

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“Sometimes, we a nation of billion people,
Think like a nation of million people.”

“A.P.J Abdul Kalam”

Our nation has a population of over billion people but still we are lacking in many field .The fault is within us that  we are unaware of our immense potential. For a nation to rise the role of youths is very important. We have to come forward and take the charge from those shaking hands. The young generation should understand their responsibilities in every field i.e.  social ,political or economical.

Don’t be like a tourist in your own nation, come out, out of the luxuries you are in, be a real Indian. Gandhi and Bhagat were the real Indians, they came out and worked for the nation and now it’s our calling .  We should make some principles for our life and try to follow them in adverse condition also. Living on principles is the best and the most difficult thing. Make them for your life, work according to them. It is difficult to follow them in the starting but as the time passes they prove to be beneficial, try to present a quintessential in front of other, so that others might follow you .Treat your critics as your best motivators.

Everyone in our nation praises Gandhi or  Bhagat, have you ever thought that if they would see our deeds what would be their response.

Act in respect of your ideals. Bring a change, “PARIVARTAN” is what the nation needs today.

But this can be done only by the active participation of youths in every  field of society. It’s our call and we have respond.


“No start is too late, if started today”.


“Service before Self”

– Love Prakhar Bhartiya

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“Every single day of summer school for me has been a journey that is bringing me closer and closer to self – realization. When I decided to be a part of this movement I knew it would be incredibly enriching but never in my wildest dreams would I have ever predicted what I have experienced in these past few weeks. There have been numerous times a day I have been affected deeply by something or someone. I have learnt so much from my children that my biggest challenge presently is giving to them as much if not more than what they have given me. I think I am being terribly ambitious in saying that. Choosing an experience that stood out with any one child for me would be lying and I have to be true to my children myself and the experience I have had. Whether its finally getting Sarfaraz to stop crying, and then smiling and then participating in class or getting Chirag and Anas to pay attention and work hard on getting Manjeri, Shruti and Sameer to start speaking in English. Every single hurdle has been an amazing feat for me to achieve and I have grown in ways unimaginable. Every moment of realization has felt like attaining enlightenment. I have never known such boundless happiness and I feel honoured to be surrounded by such hope, positivity, love….:-)

Wow….I would go on and on – I wish you could see my face now – it speaks louder than these words….”

–          Anasuya DIdi

Anasuya Menon joined Teach For India right out of college. She is an Arts Graduate majoring in Sociology and Anthropology from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

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“Today my children wrote. They wrote wrote and wrote. I had been struggling these past 3 weeks with getting them to write sentences, words, letters even. Today it felt as if an unseen spring just below the surface came gurgling out, and started flowing like a brook.

We wrote a story together. They invented a sleeping lion in his house, his jump into a river, the magic carpet floating by, tied secretly to a shark, the lion sitting on it and the shark flying high in the sky and the shark and lion living happily ever after. They wrote with urgency, a furiousness that I never saw before. Yes the words were splayed all over the page, words were misspelt and sometimes missing but they wrote and their glowing smiles as they handed in their sheets to me reminded me why I am here. I hope they never forget the lion and the shark. I know I never will.”

–          Sachin Bhaiya

Sachin Jain is from Mumbai. An Electronics Engineer and an MBA with specialization in International Business he was working in the IT industry before giving it up to join Teach For India.

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“Not only has the training focused on being a better teacher but also on being  a better human being. I have learnt how to be resourceful and manage in whatever  you get . What stands out in the training is that in order to make change, I have to change myself.”

–          Namita Didi

Namita Goel from Delhi is a Science Graduate and an LLB in Intellectual Property Rights. She was working with CyberMedia India Ltd before becoming a Teach For India Fellow

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“When Kajal joined the summer school, she was not responding to our instructions and would always be silent.  As a collaborative, we started differentiation pretty early. It was during those focused sessions that  Kajal actually opened up, built her confidence, and started to share her feelings openly.

Kajal’s story reinforces by belief in the importance of a teacher bonding with the students and the power of investing students.”

–          Moiz Bhaiya

MoizRaja Shaikh has done BE in Electronics and Telecommunications. Having done Post Graduate Diploma of Telecom Management, he was working with Hewlett Packard India Sales Pvt.Ltd., before getting associated with Teach For India.

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