10-year-old Prince enjoys learning about computers, machines and hacking. Someday, he hopes to join the police force to capture criminals. 10-year-old Palak enjoys theatre and drama but hopes to someday follow in the footsteps of her Teach For India Fellow. Prince and Palak are both students who are taught by Teach For India Fellows in their classrooms.
Today, more than 50% of students in Grade 5 cannot even read at a Grade 2 level or solve a simple subtraction problem. With nearly 1 in 4 people below the age of 14 years, India is the precipice of brighter tomorrow. But, this is only possible if we have more reliable leaders who are committed to improve the quality of our children’s education. Teach For India’s vision is for all children to have access to a quality education.
Teach For India’s paid Fellowship program places Fellows in under-resourced schools for a two-year full-time duration, where they acquire the skills and mindsets required to work towards resolving the education crisis.
In conversation with 5th-grade students Prince and Palak
What are the positive changes you have noticed since your Teach For India Fellow entered your classroom?
Palak – “They teach us patiently and that has led us to becoming more curious and asking more questions. We learned about our community and social issues from our Fellows, and the responsibility we have in making a change. They motivate us to become good leaders in our communities, beyond just being toppers.”
What is your message to Fellows who want to teach children in classrooms across India? Why should more Fellows join?
Prince – “If more Fellows join, more children will have access to opportunities. What we learn from you, will continue with us and with this chain-reaction, the country will also move forward.”
Palak – “Children can only bring about a change in the community if we are given the right knowledge, skills and education. With every Teach For India Fellow that joins, our chances of making a difference increases.”
In conversation with Teach For India Fellows Trupti and Aishvarya.
How does teaching your students inspire you?
Trupti – “It motivates me to know that I can empower children in some way. I often end up learning more from the kids than I could teach them, and their optimism despite the lives they lead gives me enormous hope.”
Aishvarya – “Teaching gives me a great sense of possibility. It feels like we teach them a lot every day, but over time, their personalities visibly change and that motivates me.”
Why did you join the Fellowship? What role do you think teaching plays in shaping the future of a country?
Trupti – “I was working in a corporate job earlier, but I’ve always actually wanted to work full time with children. When I quit my job and the Teach For India opportunity came up, it seemed like the perfect fit to get into the education space and learn what part of it is best suited to my skills.”
Aishvarya – “I did my Bachelors in Elementary Education and volunteered to work with several schools- both economically stable and under-resourced. I finally decided that doing this work was where I was needed more.”
What role do you think teaching plays in shaping the future of a country?
Trupti – “We work to broaden our students’ vision and expose them to issues from different perspectives. We hope they will grow up with a more evolved way of looking at issues and be compassionate human beings who can think critically, form fair opinions and become change makers that will problem solve for themselves and the people around them.”Aishvarya – “When I was in college we debated the causes and effects of our biggest social issues and what solutions were available. But at the end of every discussion, the solution boiled down to education. Children are receptors, they learn easily and if you want to create good citizens, educating children is the start. To do this, our country needs more teachers who are passionate about nurturing young minds.”
In what way has the Fellowship allowed you to build leadership skills?
Trupti – “You may not realise this from the outside, but this whole program is extremely challenging. You’re put in situations where you are the go-to person, you hear things you may not be equipped to deal with but over time you learn how to relate to people, how to problem solve with what you have and for me that’s where leadership learning and growth happened.”
What is your message to individuals who aspire to join the Fellowship?
Trupti – “While passion is one of the best motivations to join this program, the two-year fellowship also helps you narrow in on your strengths and learn what role you can play in the context of child education and learning in next 10 to 20 years ahead.”
Aishvarya – “As a college student, I feel that I never thought about my society or my future and how I was going to achieve anything. The fellowship gave me a sense of responsibility and presented a purpose greater than myself.”
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Updated Date: Mar 11, 2019 19:53:42 IST