An Ode To My Students....
by Purnima Awasthi
Every time that I think, ‘Now this is it! My life’s settled…nothing more to come!’ And out of the blue, comes a beautiful bright spark, throws its light on me and adds a few more colors to my life.
I can boast of having had a 17 years gratifying career in the field of academics, voluntarily bid adieu to it and thereafter for a couple of years settled down to a life of sublime domesticity. Thought, ‘that’s it’! Couldn’t have been more wrong – came this opportunity knocking on my heart. ‘Take it up, take it up, take it up’, my heart said. My mind tried showing its dominance by putting its foot down! Heart cajoled, mind refused… heart pleaded, mind was bemused, heart persuaded, mind finally obliged! Opened my heart and life to this simple opportunity, ‘Teach India’. A platform which would fulfill my wish to be attached to NGOs, working towards causes of concern.
It was to be a short project of 3 months, the end to which is fast approaching. It may also prove to be the start of a new beginning thoroughly enjoyed the 9 day training conducted by British Council and organized by The Times Of India. It was fun and enriching to be a part of a batch of enthusiasts, all set to venture out for a noble cause, in the age bracket of of 18 to 65 years! Our facilitator(trainer), was ever so energetic packing the tight schedule with loads of activities, lessons and fun games. Everything planned crisply, meticulously and efficiently. The batch mates were fun. Even in our thoroughly packed session we did manage to bond and the bonding is promising to be for keeps. We plan to meet regularly …hoping to keep it up!
Armed with the training in tow, geared to take the plunge, Target- Youth, 18 yrs to 35 yrs, Mission – Teach Spoken English, Feeling – Apprehensive! Came 1st June and 1st step into the class. A class full of young girls, middle-aged ladies, enthusiastic boys and energetic men. Phew!!! a lot to handle. Was told there would be not more than 15-20 learners, but eyes could scan at least more than 25. Smiled at them,
they smiled back…. And since then it has been a 2 month short journey with them during which we spoke, laughed, debated, played and over came each others’ apprehensions. The learners at all the centre are the same – simple, eager, sincere, open and accepting. Every single day has given me beautiful moments to cherish. They went through their curriculum with eager anticipation and open participation, airing their opinions, sharing their dreams and talking about their ambitions. Its just a miniscule part of us that we give them, but that nano part can bring us stupendous satisfaction…. Once it was raining heavily, the furiously pouring rain stalled the running of trains. Conveyed my inability to conduct the class to the NGO in-charge,as it needed train commuting. I Stayed securely indoors catching up a blissful nap.
The next day, the moment I stepped in to the class after my almost 2 hours bus, train and auto journey, a few ladies in a mock grudge said, ‘Mam, where were you yesterday? We waited for almost an hour for you to come. We don’t want to miss out on our class.’ Since then, I’ve loved them even more!
The curriculum is coming to an end, the moment this is even referred to in passing during our daily conversation, the class goes silent. I’ve no words, they’ve no words…. Yes, I am going to miss my 1st batch of ‘Teach India’ students who were put under my trust. Today they speak reasonably well, surprisingly a few very fluently in good English. Day 1, they didn’t want to try even a simple sentence….day 60, they cannot stop talking, arguing, debating and even fighting in English!!!
I may or may not continue this project in future cycles, but even if I do opt to convert it into my mid life career, I’ll miss these students of mine. In every future batch my eyes would search for their faces, during every future discussion my ears would yearn for their voices and in every future class games I would want to feel their spirit. My 1ST batch students – I’ll miss you terribly, but will make up by talking about you all to my future students!! The End