To be able to get an opportunity to teach children from different economic backgrounds is a boon indeed. Not because it makes you feel better, high and mighty so to say. It is only because it gives you a chance to give back to society what it has given to you. And, I am talking about the good things that society has given.
My mother had always wanted me to become a teacher but somehow, I was wary of getting into the teaching field. Time passed and circumstances suddenly found me where I was requested to teach children in my little son’s school. I never realized then that through some strange force I was being trained for a job that was to come in handy much later in life.
Around 5-7 years later, when my husband was posted in another city, I was requested to teach in a school set up especially for underprivileged children. Since I already had an experience at teaching Spoken English earlier, I was to teach Communicative English to children who rarely heard English being spoken around them except maybe, in their school (being an English medium school) which was more a formality than anything else.
I started off cautiously because I did not want the students to be either in awe or derision of the person teaching them an ‘elite language.’ I tread carefully because I did not want the children to think that I was doing them a favour. I tried speaking their language to make them feel at ease, to encourage them to speak a language which they had heard only persons of higher social classes speak.
At the end of the day, I was the student and they my teachers! Each child had something to contribute, some view to express, some desire to reveal.
When I asked them why they needed to learn Spoken English, one 8 year old child innocently told me, “To get chocolate Madam!”
Children have a way of entering your hearts even if they are meeting you for the first time. They have no prejudices, no grudges like we adults do. They are not bothered about right or wrong. They only believe in being themselves.
Their Annual Day came up recently and I was happy to write a drama script for them. It was a pleasure helping them rehearse for the play. And believe me, the enthusiasm, initiative and effort that they took in gearing up for the play really bowled me over. I don’t know whether I would have been able to do the same thing if I was a student like them!
I shall be meeting them soon (I had taken a short break since my son was having his final exams). Until then, the memories of the children waving at me on the very first day of my classes with them as I hopped onto my two wheeler to head back home and the interactions that I had with them will sustain me.
Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.