Sitting down amongst people who think like you and believe in what you want to do can be one of the most elating feelings. My journey has been one of what I would truly call personal transformation. Life 22 weeks back, is something I cannot recollect now. The people around me and the tiny incidents that occur every day be it in my classroom or in the community or on a personal level, make me realize that value of life , which somewhere I had started to take for granted.
The first day, as I walked into my school and then of course the class where I was to teach, I remember having this queasy feeling of how am I going to do the best that I can. The questions that rang within me were: Will I be able to adjust? Will I be making a difference to each child’s life? Am I going to do the best I can for each child here. Well to tell you the truth, probably back then I did have a vague sense of what I was set out to do, what I wanted to do and none the less how I was going to do it. As time passed, I was briefed on how my school functions. It seemed like a very well- thought out structure. Wherein each class has approx 3/4 teachers and the students are divided between these teachers, so that each child gets individual attention. I remember thinking to myself, ‘this shouldn’t be so bad, I’m sure we can handle this”.
I have been truly lucky, to have such an amazing individual as my co-teacher (Gulistaan), who not only understands my temperaments but also knows in which area my strengths and weaknesses lie. We have grown to complement each other very well in the work that we do. Whereas for the other teachers who teach in the same class as I do (Gazala, Jyoti) there was an initial apprehension about one another. But over time we’ve learnt how to accept one another, we‘ve bonded and now with no doubt I can say we make an excellent team.
With respect to my principal there were a lot of hitches initially, simply because I didn’t know what she expected of me. We did go through troubled waters, but now I seem to understand where she’s coming from, what she expects us to do and why most importantly.
Coming from, Will I be able to adjust? Will I be making a difference to each child’s life? Am I going to do the best I can for each child here? Now when I walk into class each day, I have this huge sense of responsibility to teach my kids in the best possible way that I can. To nurture them and give them what it takes to stand up for themselves. There are times when it just doesn’t go right, no matter how hard you try. But on the other hand, there are times where you least expect it and there it is. The one kid who you thought won’t get it, actually does. I guess there’s nothing in the world that beats that feeling. I’d like to state an example, where one of my kids (Saif), who takes time to register, did manage to get not only all the sums correctly in addition but in fact even wanted to do more. Another incident that comes to my mind when I think of a kid, managing to just take me by surprise is (Sonu), while I was teaching them a concept in math called “counting backward”, she not only grasped the concept, but also enjoyed doing it.
There are times in class, where I feel that I’m not able to reach out to my kids. This happened to me initially, this child’s name is (Arbaz), no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get pass the shield he had created for him. When I sat down with him to understand, where he was coming from, is when I realized that all he needed was a listening ear, because what everyone did was generally just accused him of anything that went wrong.
These kids who I didn’t even know 22 weeks back; have now become such an important part of my life. The extent to which I care, worry and love my kids is such a beautiful feeling. It’s like growing a plant to see it bloom into a beautiful flower. This brings me to another incident that I’d like to share, relating to (Saif). This child of mine has a major skin problem (to explain further, we have 7 layers of skin) this child’s skin, doesn’t stick to one another. He was born like that. There are a very small percentage of people, who actually survive this problem as it can be fatal. Children being children, they wanted to play around and have fun. But what happened in the bargain was something that changed the way I thought/ processed or whatever you may call it. Saif had his left toe bleeding, and the skin on his toe had totally ripped out. All I could see was flesh. That was by-far the worst wound I had seen. Trying to be as brave I could, I tried my level best to nurse the wound in school, not like it helped. I had to take him home. As I carried him home, I was wondering to myself how much pain this boy must be in, but to tell you all the truth, he was used to this kind of pain. As I entered into the community, went inside his house, it was first time I had seen 6 people live so comfortably in a 8 by 8 house, with probably no ventilation at all. As I tried to nurse Saif’s wound, the entire family so busy trying to get Gulistaan and me, something to drink or eat. Then we spoke to the grandmother, hoping that she would be able to give more insight on this problem that Saif faces, but she broke down and had tears streaming down her face, telling us how her heart went out to this kid. The mother walked in just then, trust me what was talking me probably half an hour to do, it took her precisely 5 minutes, all she did was dabbed the wound with soframycin, put cotton so that the wound wouldn’t stick to any other toe and then bandaged it. That’s all! Gulistaan and I were left speechless. We intervened saying that, she should take him to the doctor and all the mother said, with tears rolling down her face was all the doctor’s say, this problem cannot be cured. That’s when I realized just talking to the parents, understanding from where they come, putting yourself in their shoes and trying to understand if that’s the best decision they’ve made suddenly made me feel so fortunate. Ever since that day, each time I go into the community there’s never a time that I have come out with no learning. These learning are what I am going to take wherever I go, what may.
At times I wonder, what would I have been doing if not teaching, and somehow every answer that I come up with doesn’t seem as satisfying or rewarding as when your kid gets the concept right, or probably when he is so happy that the homework that you gave him, he’s done it all my himself, or can narrate a story to you in his own words.
Lastly, the smile I see on each of my kids faces, makes me want to go back each day and teach my kids because at this given point in time there’s nobody that means more to me than them.
Muktangan – Love Grove School