Archive for the ‘Fellow Blogs’ Category

On Friday (a.k.a. Fun Friday) , we spent the hours after break talking about friends which culminated in the kids writing 5 lines about their best friend. While I was going around the room helping with spellings and sentence formation, I couldn’t help myself from smiling at some of the sentences. One girl wrote that she liked her best friend because she played with a bear ( a teddy bear, i’m hoping!) . Another boy said he played ‘bootball’ with his friend  (which technically is the right word as India sadly found out in 1950!).

As i’m walking around, I come across Krishna. Now Krishna is super bright which leads him to be really distracted in class, which leads to a lot of minus points for his team. I’ve tried different strategies, moved him around, but none seem to work. Now him making whichever team he’s in lose points means he’s become quite unpopular . So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I saw what he was writing .

I was surprised. “Your best friend is Raisa?” He looked up me and in his usual style said “Yes because only you like me. Everyone else is angry with me!” . I felt so bad! So I started with a lot of positive reinforcement with him, made him help me when I was putting up some of the writing on the wall and just generally tried to up his reputation among the class. I’ll know how well it went on Monday. But it reminded me to be more aware of how my point system was affecting the individual and not just the class as a whole. My kids teach me something new everyday!


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Here are a few links to some blogs by TFI fellows from the 2009 and 2010 cohort and TFI staff members.

  • TFI Journey: Srini, a 2010 Teach For India Fellow, writes about his journey with Teach for India and  his stories of change both inside and outside his classroom in Dharavi, Mumbai.
  • It’s Political Motivational and…: Prakhar is a 2009 Teach for India Fellow. He has been teaching for a year now and his blog is an amazing repository of stories about his time as a teacher in a school called Sant Gadge Maharaj in Kondhwa, Pune. Do check out the “Letters to my friends” section on his blog for some great snippets of his life as a TFI fellow.
  • Teaching as Leadership (Astitva): Another 2009 Teach for India Fellow, Dhiren teaches in K.C. Thackrey Vidya Niketan school in Pune. Besides his refelctions on his two year stint with Teach For India, a strongly recommended section on his blog would be his strategies to teach mathematics to children.
  • Belief: Ritika is a Teach for India fellow from the 2010 cohort. She teaches in a school in Mumbai and the blog is her diary about the TFI experience. Keep an eye out for some great pictures.
  • Mahesh Prajapati: Mahesh is also a 2010 Teach for India fellow. He teaches in Mumbai and writes about his experiences on the blog. He also writes lovely poetry in Hindi!
  • My White Lotus: My White Lotus is Tarun’s exhaustive and wonderfully written description of his journey as a Teach for India fellow since the past year and a half in Pune. Do read his recollections from his recent trip to visit charter schools in NY as a Teach for India fellow.
  • One in billion: Taylor is a staff member at Teach for India and has helped launch the Teach for India movement. His blog, as the introduction says, is about five things “- experiences related to living and working in India, happenings at Teach For India (my employer), development and fundraising-related, career-building, and entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, smart business ideas. “
  • I Teach for India: With a very appropriately named blog, Divesh is a 201o Teach for India fellow. Read about his journey and “Why” he chooses to Teach for India.
  • Reflections of my mind: Aritra is a part of the 2010 batch Teach for India fellows and the blog is his reflection as a Teach for India fellow in a school in Pune.
  • Walking in their shoes: Raisa is also a 2010 batch Teach for India fellow or a “tenner” as they are called. She teaches in Mumbai and her blog is peppered with some great pics displaying her immense creativity.
  • Insane Inanities: A 2010 Teach for India fellow, Anurag seeks to write about his journey to Teach from India from his college. He teaches in Mumbai.
  • Frogs in my class: Meera is a 2010 Teach for India fellow. The curious title of the blog alludes to some real frogs who share Meera and her students’ class with them. Her blog is filled with her experiences as a teacher in a school in Pune and sometimes even a humourous take on them as the title of the blog suggests.
  • With the Left and the Right: Srikanth, also a tenner, teaches in Pune and the blog is a mix of his experiences in the classroom as a Teach for India fellow and all that he gets to do in his spare time (whenever he might find it).
  • Edoocation: Milind is a 2009 fellow and has been teaching in Mumbai since the past year and a half. On his blog, he speaks about his views on Education policy and issues as seen through his experience as a Teach for India fellow. He also came up with the wonderful idea of listing down the dreams/aspirations/ideas of all the 2009 fellows post their two year fellowship. Read about them on his blog.
  • Words Raining: Dhanya is a 2010 Teach for India fellow teaching in Mumbai. On her blog, she writes about her experiences as class teacher in a school in Mumbai as a tenner.
  • They Teach; I Learn: Subhadra is from the 2009 cohort of Teach for India fellows. She teaches the 5th standard in Mumbai. They Teach; I Learn, a blog title which speaks volumes, is a rich and often moving record of her experience as a teacher in Mumbai.
  • Be the Change: Be the Change, which is also the Teach for India motto, is Rahul’s blog. He is a 2009 Teach for India fellow and teaches in Mumbai. His blog not only contains his experiences as a TFI fellow since the past one and a half year but also his opinions and ideas drawn from his work as a Teach for India fellow, on how to improve the state of education in India.
  • Delusions, allusions, illusions, visions: Meenakshi is a 2010 Teach for India fellow teaching in a school in Pune. She muses, alludes, talks about her life as a teacher in Pune and the delusions, illusions and visions therein.
  • The classroom for learning: Manu is a 2009 Teach for India fellow and has been teaching in a chool in Pune since the past year and a half. As a part of his summer internship, which he did as a part of his Teach for India fellowship, he interned at the Druk White Lotus Shey in Ladakh. He has posted a video of his experiences there. Also read about his experiences as a TFI fellow accompanied with some great videos and pictures.
  • Conviction in Your Thoughts: “Conviction in Your Thoughts” is the title of Ritesh’s accounts of his two year stint with Teach for India. He is a fellow from the 2009 Teach for India cohort and teaches in Pune. On his blog, he reflects as an individual and as a teacher about his experiences during this fellowship. Read his post on “The challenges of being Abu“, which is his chronicle of his student, Abu’s, life with him.
  • in on under above : Neha is a 2010 batch fellow. She writes about funny incidents and sometimes revelations in her classroom. Currently she is a grade 2 teacher in Worli Seaface BMC School in Mumbai.
  • Gunvant Jain : Blog by 2010 Fellow and IIT-Madras graduate Gunvant. Some excellent articles on skill-based learning.

The opinions or column written by these fellows or staff are their  own personal experiences.

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As the Fellows grapple with the question – What after TFI? Here are 87 Ideas, 87 Aspirations, One idea per Fellow. Lets figure out how to make them a reality….

1. Help build excellent Pre-KG and KG for government schools

2. A Teacher Training Institute (especially for Municipal School Teachers)

3. A research and department rating system for R&D groups in India. Also, a consolidated place which accesses and talks about them.

4. An advocacy sister group – aka Leadership for Education Equity from TFA

5. An online website for teacher collaboration on lesson plans – aka www.betterlesson.com

6. An group that works to enable collaboration online and offline amongst all education or development sector NGOs in India

7. A forum which leverages technology to enable learning for under resourced children using technology – it should be attuned to needs of parents, children and teachers

8. A social enterprise that raises volunteers who can assist in classroom education – for TFI and then for other partner NGOs

9. A “TFI For Senior Citizens” – a social enterprise that is tuned to involve senior citizens in social work

10. A career guiding or “career coach”-ing enterprise – that uses a “robinhood” model to serve career needs of under-resourced children

11. Impact for India (TFI type organization for other sectors) : TFI for health, TFI for agriculture, TFI for public works, TFI for rural welfare, TFI for vocational skills, TFI for sports

12. Implement and experiment models for TFI for rural areas, TFI for smaller cities, TFI for third and fourth tier applicants

13. A grassroots level organization for “urban community building” – a scalable model for Manav Sadhana type organization

14. The Art of Living Rural and Tribal schools run 90+ schools in India. Introducing activity based learning and new teaching methodologies in these schools would form a great model.

15. Akanksha is looking to quadruple the number of schools in Mumbai and Pune – even expand nationwide in future. A great opportunity to be a school leader and build centers of excellence.

16. Make “One School For All” a reality nationwide – a single school that integrates children from both resourced and under-resourced communities.

17. Start an “Urban Ashram” like one in Pune along with a Seva Café in different cities

18. Make cities in India child friendly – like Riverside’s “aproach” project

19. Build strong alumni programs at TFI for each of “School and Teacher Leadership”, “Political and Advocacy Leadership”, “Social Entrepreneurship” or “NGO/Board Leadership”

20. Teach For All Leadership positions in other countries

21. Build technology and education collaboration in and outside TFI

22. Indicorps Fellowship

23. Bringing together various youth movements in India : Jaagore, Indicorps, Gandhi Fellows, TFI, Young Indians, Rotract/Interact

24. Start a Connect India LEAD+ for Indians

25. “Swadhyay” – spend one year travelling around India spending two months in each ashram. Or if you like in different schools around the country.

26. An online resource portal on ESL for Hindi speaking audience similar to khanacademy.org

27. Mobile education packages like MDhil has for medical use. Look up MILLEE from Carnegie Melon University.

28. Bring the best in education through online packages for under-resourced communities and figure out last mile delivery.

29. Create an “Incubator Fellowship” – a Fellowship where you can experiment to create your social experiments and see them through. A lot of collaboration opportunities provided.

30. Make a case for and start high quality charter schools in India – KIPP for India

31. Take a year off to nurture and grow your passions. For me Travel, Pottery, Archery, Sanskrit, Drums, Books, Blog and More Travel. You pick yours!

32. Start Indian version of “The New Teacher’s Project” (TNTP)

33. Travel the world for a year to study youth programs and movements. Connect. Study. Research. Learn.

34. School Coach or Consulting to develop new schools or improve schools

35. Political involvement group for youth in India – TFI for Politics, GYIPS

36. Child spaces for disabled children

37. An excellent school where children with learning disabilities are integrated

38. A leadership Institute (College) for Youth – aka African Leadership Institute.

39. Big Brother Big Sister mentoring program in India

40. Habitat For Humanity – housing for under-resourced in India

41. Special Olympics – sports for differentially-abled children in India

42. Reach out Mumbai! – a movement where citizens volunteer once a month with different NGOs or organizations

43. Capital Area Food Bank in India – collecting food and distributing to needy across the country

44. Goodwill stores in India – donate items whose proceeds are used to help under-resourced communities

45. An online website that enables one single point application for Indian students to get Scholarships for study abroad

46. Internships for people coming from abroad. Internships for people in India with a focus on development sector.

47. A venture capital fund: Education Reform Venture Fund aka NewSchools Venture Fund

48. Ed Week or “Teacher Magazine” like magazine – education magazine

49. Hippocampus (Bangalore) and Early Childhood Center (Delhi) like children library or reading room chain. Also, see Rooms To Read.

50. Education Week like Online ed daily (similar to 48 but different)

51. Alternative Education and Home Schooling – investing in Indian context

52. Kumon Publishing type books but with Indian context

53. Recipe For Reading and Indian Phonics books. Even franchise phonics classes all over the country.

54. “Holistic” activity or entertainment centers for Art, Drama, Craft, Sports and Dance – where resourced and under resourced kids come together in integration

55. Summer Indoor and Outdoor Activity Camps for children (esp underresourced ones)

56. TED-EdxIndia – TED type talks specific to Indian Education

57. Ed Venture Lab – tie up with IIMs or SP Jain type institute to form India’s first lab focused on Educational Ventures

58. Ed Reform and Enterpreneurship Competition – an autonomous body that holds a Non-profit and For Profit Business Plan competition in ed-reform and edu-preneurship

59. Creative recreational and fun spaces – can we create creative spaces where children in the city can come spend “down” time?

60. A social networking site for all Teach For All Fellows – a “Facebook” only for TFAll

61. Blogging for TFI Fellows aka www.teachforus.org

62. Enabling a strong social networking presence for Teach For India

63. Fellowship – Piramal Fellowship for Sustainable Businesses

64. Fellowship – Gandhi Fellowship

65. Fellowship – Tony Blair Faith’s Fellowship

66. Fellowship – Ashoka Fellowship

67. Fellowship – Atlas Corps Fellowship

68. Start a “White House” Fellowship program for Indian Government

69. School or Teacher Leadership Partners – Riverside, Muktangan, Shishuvan, Akanksha

70. Improve Education Initiative’s standards and assessments (now that you have worked with them night and day!)

71. Start an EI type assessment testing body. Or join other options – Indus, EI, EQFI

72. Study different schools in India with a specific culture – start a new school

73. Travel around the world to learn about new schools. Identify the charter school movement in the US and other countries – start a charter school movement in India

74. Travel to Finland which is known for its education all over the world. Identify best practices and port them to India.

75. Find a community idea – and apply for Comminteers Fellowship

76. Work as a consultant with the Central Government – now we know one young Indian working for HRD and one for Women and Children’s Department. It’s possible!

77. Work as an executive assistant or in the team of a young/progressive politician – Sachin Pilot, Naveen Jindal, Rahul Gandhi, or others

78. A “Heal For India” – TFI type Fellowship to improve municipal hospitals. Or medical options for the under-resourced communities, there is a dire need for affordable health care.

79. “Traditional” Corporate options – Investment Banking, Consulting, Law, HR, Banking, Engineering, Sales and Marketing.

80. CSR groups in a corporate or foundations or charities. For engineers – Google, Microsoft, Intel, and many other big companies have “social” or “development” projects.

81. Pursue education in the field of your choice – education, medical, business, policy, law, design and engineering. If possible pursue cross-specializations.

82. Scholarships and Fellowships for Education Abroad – Fullbright Scholarship, Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship for Stanford, Berkeley MBA Scholarships for Social/Development Sector, amongst many others.

83. Set up or grow philanthropic foundations in India – like Sloan Foundation, Gates Foundation, Dell Foundation

84. Make films and documentaries especially on education related topics in India – like Waiting For Superman, 21st Century Initiative by New Learning Institute

85. Build national institutes like NSF. Or setup an independent body that monitors R&D labs in all fields in India., publishes about them and gives them a rating.

86. The RTE mandates that every school should have 25% from under-resourced communities. Consult with good schools to help them setup this integration successfully.

87. Set up an International Institute for Professional Teachers – a world-wide body of professional teachers with centers all around the world. The idea is to champion the cause of teachers and their issues by collaborating with people from round the world.

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