Friday, September 23, 2016

Some Life lessons from my students

I volunteer as an English teacher at a Government school once a week through an NGO. My mode of teaching conversational English and life skills  is through Story telling.

There are nearly 40 children in class with a few absentees often. Some children are absent because their parents have taken them to work as house helps, or masons etc. Some children come from an orphanage to study. In general, most children come from household which lives on daily wages  and can't financially support their living, leave alone education. And in rare cases, you will find a teacher's daughter too.

I arrive at this school on a Thursday and interact with them  from 10.45 to 12.15. A story later which is generally a history story for higher classes emphasizing on life skills while it is a story with repetative lines for lower classes, we play games or plan exercises. The schedule is never monotonous or no heavy syllabi like grammar.While i teach them life skills, i end up learning many life lessons myself.  There was always something new I learned and made some interesting observations about these children.

One interesting observation about these kids that I found was how happy and joyous they are with less materials. They do not necessarily have the things we take for granted like  parenting, materials like books, pens , technology like wifi, mobiles  or  for that matter even  good food or clothes. Despite the lack of all resources, I could see that these children are intelligent, imaginative and appreciative of  what we had to offer and very eager to learn what we teach.

Everytime, I finish my storytelling session, I encourage the students to open up and step out of their comfort zones and  ask them to volunteer  to retell and each time i see a student retelling and adding a few words of his own and framing his own imagination inspite of the fact that they have less exposure. To see so much of enthusiasm in them  to absorb, infuses me with energy.

 After the inter-active story session when I  walk out of the class, some times, I see a few  boys  dragging a huge drum of cooked rice down the slope to a small room which acts as a serving room. The rest of the kids joyfully run behind them with their steel plates.  The kids are so joyous to eat the steaming hot food with just a ladle of sambar. No pizza, pasta or no elaborate indian meal. They look so contented . While  i enjoy watching their joyous faces  when  feeding themselves, I am interrupted by one of their teachers who  said, most kids enjoy their mid-day meal here cause when they go back home not sure if their parents can afford them another plate. So many stories, so many observations......  whenever a donor gives them books, pens etc..One can't miss the gleam in their eyes, even a person who is not an expert in reading  body language would notice the joy in those eyes, I always end up with a prayer of gratitude to god on my way back home. 

I could realize from Mary of Class 8, an orphan who is extremely intelligent ,  that some of them live in the moment and utilize everything that comes their way to its greatest extent. What dangerous lives they live!...Mary was almost kidnapped a few weeks back outside her school said her teacher.

Everytime, I get a handshake from the student or they run behind me for my signature, it fills me with so much of  happiness and joy.    As a volunteer, I am glad I help realize their dream and shape up the hero within them even if I can play just a miniscule part or make a small difference in few lives.

Thank you God for this opportunity!

This post written for Living in Gratitude#WorldGratitudeday
Volunteering and Small gestures of kindness to give back or pay it forward for Writetribe


  1. India needs a few good people like you.

    1. Thank you SG:)...this has been a great learning for me too, has taught me to cherish and value many things in life.

  2. Much admiration and respect for what you do Asha. Bravo.

    Indeed there can be no greater joy than volunteering. And so much to learn from those who haven't been as fortunate as God has kindly enabled us to be.

    1. Not sure if i deserve such rich words but they surely are motivating to do more.....Thank you Ramesh:) Yes volunteering is so gratifying, enriching and so much more.

  3. its a boon to spend time with kids and to teach them is a blessing. u r truly a blessed soul.

  4. yes, indeed...i am blessed....thank you gils:)