Every week teachers in MAD put an effort to make each class of theirs more significant, meaningful and impacting. We fathom that our objective is to not just to instill a better understanding of English in our children but to be responsible mentors who produce conscientious, hard-working and compassionate human beings. Throughout this journey we experience a gamut of emotions – from ingenuous smiles that showcase content and satisfaction to moments that leave us speechless and nonplussed. And there are times when they make us feel supremely proud; proud of what they are, of what they learn from us and how they wish to follow their heart.
The Level Two kids at ACTT, Kolkata had completed the allocated syllabus and it was one such class where we were brainstorming on a new, innovative activity to engage them. Fortuitously, we were joined by an intern working with The Telegraph who was writing an article about the concept of ‘Volunteer Teaching’. It was then that we decided to have an impromptu journalism session. The intern conducted a pseudo press conference with the kids, interviewing them about their likes, dislikes, their favourite teachers and how MAD classes are different from their normal classes. The outcome was an amalgamation of interesting and newfangled responses. Ranging from football to Portugal, different kind of cuisines to hobbies- the kids answered every question with great enthusiasm. They spoke about how MAD classes are more fun as they can relate and connect to young teachers like us. They told us how learning English will help them unearth their dreams of going abroad, of supporting their family and of living happily. It was a delight for us to hear our kids not only talk in fluent, impeccable English but to see them display exemplary confidence in front of a complete stranger!
That Sunday was also an eye-opener for us. Post the journalism session, we showed our kids the book – ” I Am Malala”. This was followed by a group discussion on how everyone in society deserves equal opportunities. The kids openly expressed their views on gender equality, terrorism, the Taliban and how Malala’s struggle for education inspired them too.
One of our kids – Ajay- stood up and said,” We believe in an equal society. Why should girls be treated any lesser than us?” And that’s when our chests swelled up with pride. Given the kind of environment the kids have been exposed to, it was wonderful to hear such mature, thoughtful replies. A sudden realisation dawned upon us – that we have served our role as teachers; people who could actually shape these kids’ lives. It was one of those moments that has become a manifesto of what we teach at MAD and that it is beyond just English. That it is a journey about relationships, knowledge, values, happiness, love and life. And that’s what is so special about being a teacher. It’s about breaking those barriers, transcending boundaries and going beyond.