Inside Teach for India

August 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

For the next two years, Devanik Saha will be teaching at a government-run school for low-income girls in India as part of the Teach for India program.  His blog post for the Women’s Worldwide Web recounts some of the challenges and successes of his first few days on the job.  A few excerpts:

“I packed myself into an auto-rickshaw and pressed myself against other passengers for the jerkiest, most painful ride to school of my life—I kept telling myself, “This is nothing. I am here for the kids whose lives I want to transform for the better.’  Arriving enthusiastically at the school, I waited for all my students to arrive. After 15 to 20 minutes, only six girls out of a class of thirty had turned up.”

“What has struck me is how much more there is to teaching than formal teaching activities; it’s not just about instructing pupils in academic subjects like maths and English. I try to be as supportive as possible of the children and their families as they deal with certain sensitive issues—such as family and community problems and their difficult financial circumstances. I have tried to embrace these challenges with love and care. By developing relationships with the parents, listening to their hopes, frustrations, aspirations, and feelings of helplessness, I hope I will be more effective in my efforts to teach their children and to create a culture in which the children are encouraged to learn.”

“The principal and school administration investigated and were indignant when they learned that the pupils had indeed been deprived of their lunch. We agreed that I could be responsible for supervising the lunch distribution, ensuring that the lunch was distributed fairly and allowing the school helpers to keep any remaining leftovers for their families. I was also pleasantly surprised when a van arrived at the school an hour later to unload two large containers of food for my class!”

Read the full article: http://www.womensworldwideweb.org/?q=Devanik%20Teach%20for%20India%201

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