India is a country of myriad contradictions. On one hand, it has grown to be one of the largest economies in the world, and on the other hand, it is still home to the largest number of people living in absolute poverty and devoid of the basics of Education. What emerges is a picture of uneven distribution of the benefits of growth which many believe, is the root cause of social unrest.
Aristotle quoted, “The fate of empires depends upon the education of the youth“, and he quoted it well.
Teach For India, a project of Teach To Lead, is a nationwide movement of outstanding college graduates and young professionals who will commit two-years to teach full-time in under resourced schools and who will become lifelong leaders working from within various sectors towards the pursuit of equity in education. The program focus on sustainable development and with consolidated efforts made by the foundation, it has managed to impact each student through the life-cycle of education and with various interventions over time, in a way to render them capable of making and following their life choices.
Today, Teach For India is in 5 cities – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai. We have a total of 700 Fellows and 437 Alumni working towards eliminating educational inequity.
Love Bisht, is one of the many fellow volunteers with Teach For India initiative. He is an excellent teacher who not only teaches but also makes every kid, believe in themselves, that they can learn. He comes from a family where the expectation were to prepare and be an IAS officer, but he chose to be an engineer, instead.
He has been an ardent fan and follower of Aamir Khan, and that the movie Tare Zameen Par touched his heart and felt him with a overwhelming responsibility to make a difference. He strongly believes in the message, “Every kid is special” – a message from the movie again.
“I was a difficult kid for my parents, I guess. They could never understand my decision of joining Teach For India. Every concerns of theirs was genuine to bit, but I had my heart and mind glued to do something, right“, says Love.
Here I bring to you a small tête-à-tête –
- My Routine – The school starts at 7.10 am, sharp and end at 12.10 pm. The school times never changes, unlike the schools that I have went. I have to wake up by 5.30 am so that I reach school by 7.00 am. Every morning, I see 40 bright faces shouting “Hi Bhaiya” once I reach school, welcoming me with Hi-fives and handshakes etc. I stay back at school to take extra classes for 2-3 students. Later, I and other fellows discuss our daily successes and challenges and try to learn as much as possible from each other.
- My Homework – I have my own share of home work too. Everyday, I come back home and I prepare worksheets for my students, so that I can make best use of school time. I have to correct their worksheets too, and then submit weekly data so as to track each student’s growth.
- Challenges I Faced – Over couple of years, I have faced lots of challenges. The most important one would be the state of education in low-income schools. The prevailing educational inequity between the privileged section of the society and underprivileged one is the root of many problems that the country faces today. I am striving hard to provide quality education to 40 students in my class but a lot more is required to tackle this problem. Some other challenges that I have faced are: Mindset of teachers and parents,Focus on Rate based learning and grades and No conceptual learning.
- Life Now and Then – It was not easy to adjust without the luxuries that I have enjoyed during my IT job. Now instead of buying new clothes, gadgets or eating out all I think about is storybooks of children, educational trip or sports material. My hygiene standards have also gone low for, I eat a bite from atleast 30 different tiffin boxes, during lunch hour. The environment here is certainly challenging but I would say it is totally worth it.
- Being Passionate – The kids are more enthusiastic everyday, than me and it revitalizes me during the times I feel low. There have been a lot of difficult days in fellowship but every times I see these kids I feel like bouncing back and facing every challenge. I guess a belief that I am doing the right thing certainly helps me in keeping myself motivated.
- Bridge the Gap – I meet all genres of people here. People who understand what I do and why and people who have no clue about what I am doing. There are a lot of stakeholders in this movement and it is critical to invest all of them to take the movement forward.
- Helping Hands – I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who have supported me through the fellowship. All my friends have been a helping hand, while I was raising funds. I have also had some amazing volunteers who have helped in class. Neelam – a dear friend came and helped me Paint the class. Poulmai, Ujjwal and Pravara are three volunteers who have contributed so much in terms of their effort and help.
He shares these two special stories, very over-whelming and again, does you proud. Read Along –
Pravin: He is one amazing football player in my class. He struggles a lot with his English. When I started teaching I saw that he was so scared to share anything in class. I always encouraged him to play football. In last two years he has shown tremendous growth.
Shruti: She was also a very shy girl from my class. She often kept ill and thus was academically weaker compared to her peers. Her father is no more and her family is undergoing financial problems as well. I cant even imagine how tough life can be for such kids. There is more for me to learn from them than I can teach. I helped her in paying school fees and kept pushing her to be bold and confident. I often visited her house and discussed her health issues. This year she is quite consistent to school and takes active interest in sports as well. Her grades have also improved.
Having read that, I was left mystified and I wondered – “A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image“.
We all have something to teach and a lot to learn. The journey is well begun but half done. All you need is a open heart and few hours from your daily routine. and that you can give without expecting anything in return. Volunteer and do something right. Follow the link and be part of it – BeAVolunteer.
If you want to voice your opinion, feel free to connect with him on his facebook page – Invincibles.
His message for “DoRight” – “I just want to say that education is the solution for so many problems existing in our country and it will surely require a collective effort from everyone to bridge the gap of educational inequity prevailing in the society. Do your bit and feel the pleasure. I am personally a great advocate of Education. It can and will transform our lives. It is an evitable force in the world that we live and want to live.