LEARNING TO BE PATIENT FROM 8-YR-OLDS

Being a teacher isn’t an easy job when you’re averse to the idea of children. The noise, the tantrums, the mischief, the pranks and perhaps, even the inquisitive mind, can make children a difficult lot to handle if you’re low on patience. And yet, teachers stick on. They tolerate the naughtiness and the squeaky voices and sometimes, even miss it in the rather mundane, sophisticated company of organised, well-mannered adults. They stay not simply because they need to teach the ‘future generation’. It is the image of those innocent faces, curious eyes, oily ponytails and carefree smiles that makes them want to stay. It is in the little hurdles that they cross that a teacher experiences unmatched happiness. And the love received is multi-fold that you could never walk out of that classroom even on a bad day.  Continue reading

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“Inside the classroom, there is love and acceptance like there is in few other places”

Teaching is one profession where it isn’t merely the student that’s learning something new. Children are often a mirror of those values that adults seem to lose in their quest for a better life or simply because they wear the mask of adulthood. Whether it’s an undying curiosity or the thirst for learning, young minds can teach us more than we can imagine.

In our second part of this series, we see what chirpy, intelligent and creative adolescents from the 6th to 10th grade learn from 23-year-old Yashasvini Rajeshwar. A Humanities graduate from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M), Yashasvini teaches English as a second language at a private school on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border. The school caters to children (largely first-generation learners) of the local tribes in and around the area. From learning adjectives and prepositions to having their pieces published in national dailies, the beaming faces of these children coupled with their undying spirit is what keeps her going. As she opens their eyes to the world of Marquez and Wordsworth, she learns a lot more about life and being grateful.  Continue reading

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WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A TEACHER IN YOUR 20s?

There was a time when most of us cribbed about going to school. The incessant ring of the alarm clock would begin at 6am and with groggy eyes, we’d step out of bed and find our way to the shower. Soon, we would gobble down hot idlis, drink milk and hop on to the bus. Not much has changed for a bunch of 20-somethings even years after they finished school, except that they no longer sport a blue or white pinafore but a salwar set or a saree, as they head to their classrooms to teach young minds. Belonging to Gen Y, these youngsters are open-minded, a little low on patience (mind you, they end up really working on that) and a bundle of energy that’s seldom out powered by the jumpy, bright faces of second and third graders they teach. Their fresh, out-of-the-box method of teaching tiny tots seeks to shape the children into curious human beings with a strong conscience.

Celebrating the lives of these teachers, is a three-part series of articles that I’m starting on my blog, which will feature interviews with three teachers sharing their experiences about teaching and working with little ones. Peppered with sweet and heart-warming anecdotes, the blog hopes to open your mind to this wonderful profession of teaching and how, if it’s done right, it can significantly impact young minds.  Continue reading

THE SWEET SOUND OF SUCCESS

Celebration isn’t always the sound of uncorking wine bottles or bursting firecrackers. Sometimes, the excitement and joy is best felt in silence as seen in the quiet conversations of Riya Mariam’s family. Away from the world of sound, they communicate through signs. Their hands move in quick gestures, eyes widen and lips gently break into a smile after learning that Riya had topped her school in the Class 10 state board examination. The 17-year-old student of Little Flower Convent Higher Secondary School for the Deaf, Chennai, never let her deafness come in the way of her dreams. Continue reading

OF CLOCKS, WATCH SMITHS AND FAMILY LEGACIES

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Razia Begum at work.

CHENNAI, March 31: Seated on a rickety wooden stool, near a pile of rubble, looking through an eyepiece, Razia Begum carefully resets the time of a gold-plated wrist watch using a pointed tool called a hairspring collet lever, from one of the many boxes stacked in her pale-white wooden cabinet.

Wanting to carry on her father’s legacy, Razia took over his watch-repairing business after completing her tenth grade at the Murtuzaviya Oriental Higher Secondary School, an Islamic school [madrasa] in Chennai. Continue reading

OF JEWELLERY, BEADS AND HARDSHIPS – THE LIFE OF A GYPSY

Wires, tin boxes, needles, pins, hooks, broken plastic dolls, huge polythene bags and greyish-brown rags – it is amidst this mess on a pavement, that a pair of hands meticulously string together colourful beads to make bracelets, long chains, ear rings, rings, chokers and anklets. Velliammal is a gypsy who has made this pavement in Besant Nagar her workplace for the last three decades. Continue reading