It’s June, hot and dusty month, a beautiful time of the year. Yes indeed, because children are back in the community, and classes have reopened after the long lull. For the past two months, the children were far away from the hustle-bustle of the city. Most of them had gone to their villages and met their grand moms and grand dads. But now, once again, the community is bustling with kids.
Post reopening, there has been some restructuring of classes. First of all, responsibility of senior batch (2007) has been transferred from Prashant and me to Prateek and Darshan. Secondly, I have been given responsibility for the Eureka Batch (2008-2010). Initially, it did not appear to be a very big shift but last Saturday when I went to the class I realized that batch shifting is not that small a thing after all.
To begin with, I will miss teaching the Senior Batch. The batch consists of the eldest and the most responsible kids studying at AID NOIDA. Being the batch owner for past 6 months I had seen a lot : Aashmina performing very funny" tum paas aaye... badbu phelaye" skit, Jaanbaaz, Sajaad and Subi managing junior kids and wonderful sessions on volcanoes, water cycle, earthquakes and many others topics. The innocence, the inquisitive nature and the sparkling intelligence of the kids have spellbound me. In fact, I am personally attached to the senior batch.
So this time, I was a bit nervous, and anxious about the response I might get, when I entered the new class. Will children appreciate the change? Will they listen to me the way they pay attention to Anvita - Eureka Batch owner? What do I need to do to develop that trust? I am not being a paranoid. At Prayas we believe, one needs to connect with children to teach. It is the gradually developed bond of trust which lays the foundation of a healthy student-teacher relationship. I had developed that bond with the senior kids. It took me time though, but slowly and steadily I was able to connect with them. Janbaaz, Sajjad, Subi, deepak, Danista, Julekha, each one of them had specific behaviour patterns and I knew how they would react to various situations.
Anvita arrived early and informed kids about the change. Result: - moment I entered the class Jainab said:"sir hum aapse nahi padhenge, hum Anvita didi se he padhenge”. I sat down, aware of big, inquisitive, confused and baffled eyes quietly observing me and wondering “who is this new guy?” I just maintained a broad grin on my face remembering what someone had said "A smile can go a long way".
We began with formal intro. Children told us their name and their current schools. Most of them were a bit jittery, scratching their heads and speaking in barely audible voice but they still looked super cute. Majority of Eureka batch is girls. The benefit with girls is that they do not create a ruckus like boys do. Upon my turn, I introduced myself to kids and asked them about their summer vacations. Everybody had an interesting story. If some of them just talked about the good time they had with their grand dad, grand mom and other relatives, others told us how they won a cricket tournament in their village!
I met some wonderful kids during the session: Jainab, Quaish, Gudiya and Gia. Quaish in particular, is a very inquisitive fellow. He wants to know new things and tries very hard to grasp everything that is said in the class. When in doubt, he asks most basic of questions without any inhibition. It is these instances that make me feel that we can learn a lot from the kids. We take too many things for granted because we know them now. But we forget the time when we did not know much. For e.g: we all know how to tell time on a Wall clock. Try teaching this to a kid. You will use angles, table of five and clock diagrams to teach them the very basic of all things: Telling time. To summarize, the fundamental concepts are brick walls which need the reinforcement of mortar named “teacher” to build a castle we know as “An Educated Adult”.
This time, the kids are even younger with easy to mould habits and personalities in my batch. We need to tread carefully, one kid at a time, because in a very short time the mould will harden and habits crystallize. We at AID Noida have to make sure that no cracks or air pockets go unnoticed. Let us see how it goes.
Following is the schedule of classes that we would be following from now onwards :-
Sachin and Fresher Batch: Jyoti Madam
Eureka Batch: Kulwinder Madam
Time: 10.00AM-12.00 (till summer vacations)
Days: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
Senior Batch: Kulwinder Madam
Time: 10.00AM-12.00 (till summer vacations)
WEEKEND CLASSES (by Volunteers)
Senior Batch (Academic class): Prateek, Darshan
Eureka Batch (Activity class): Himanshu, Prashant and Nakul
Sachin Batch and Fresher Batch (Activity Class): Anvita, Raj
Just to remind you all that the weekday classes for senior batches have been reduced to one which is on Wednesday to be taken by Kulwinder Madam. And one academic class will be taken by concerned volunteers on Saturdays.