My favourite part about being on the field visiting schools is ALWAYS meeting the teachers. I have a firm belief in the prowess of every teacher and the impact they make. This furthered after I donned the teacher's hat for two years during my time at the Teach For India Fellowship and observed teachers as a peer - how with limited resources, limited training and sometimes with unfair pay scales they push boundaries for self and their students.
And the more teachers I meet, the more this belief strengthens. Here is a little story to back up my belief-
I spent a large part of April travelling to Pratham Learning Foundation's centers in tiny villages around Kota in Rajasthan. The centers are based within Government Schools catering to children of farm laborers from the same/nearby villages. These villages are really more like hamlets. Less than 100 residents, all engaged in agricultural activities.
In one such village called Motikuan, I met the Headmaster and his team of teachers who were supremely invested in their school and wanted to make it an 'Adarsh Vidyalaya'. The student attendance in the school was arbitrary, as children were often expected to help out in the fields during harvest season or look after siblings and home as both parents work in the fields. The girls were specifically most affected by this.
In an effort to keep the villagers interested in sending their wards to school and make education valuable in their eyes, the Headmaster and his team provide 'employment' to their 12th pass out students in the form of temporary teachers. Yes, you read it right, The Headmaster and the teachers spent a part of their own salaries (on their own free will) to employ ex students so that parents continue valuing education. These 'temporary' teachers helped the school with summer camps or work as substitute teachers as the school is anyway understaffed. Later, Pratham absorbs most as teachers and the school gets prepared to groom the next batch.
The commitment these teachers display towards education, towards their students is commendable. One cannot help but wonder if these teachers get the necessary resources and support, to what heights will they take their school and its wards.
Across the country there are many such examples, of teachers on the ground making real impact, making real sacrifices for the future of this country. Real unsung heroes. This country is in good hands.
And as someone rightly said 'Not all superheroes wear a cape' :)
|The school premises at Motikuan, Kota|
|Inside the school operates a Pratham Infotech Foundation center providing computer literacy for all Grades|
|A Balwadi teacher encouraging a child to identify क|