I was born on July 19, 1991. July 19, 2017 was special day — not only it was my birthday but it was the first time on my birthday there was no electricity in the house. There was power cut at 8 am & it came back at 7 pm. As there was no electricity, I was not able to charge my phone. No phone = no internet browsing, so I had 2 options.
and 2nd one — my family’s favourite topic ‘Ravi, what are going to do with/in your life?’
For a change, I choose 2nd option. I started thinking — I am a Japanese language teacher working as a freelancer & I earn pretty well. Now, what I want to do with/in my life? After pondering for an hour, I decided to open a school because
I love working with children,
I have been told by my classmates during school & under graduation that I explain better than the teacher who is teaching the subject, the teacher has more knowledge than you but when it comes to explaining the topic you are good at it and
The most important point — children are not being taught life skills like empathy(I consider it to be a life skill), self evaluation etc. in school which they require most.
Now, I have decided to open a school, I was wondering how will be that school? How it will be different from other schools? After thinking for some time, I decided these ‘things’ –
the name of school will be just ‘school’, no international school, model school etc,
at the entrance of school, there will be a board with this message written on it — ‘Hello, thank you for coming to school. If you want your child to get 1st rank in class, get 90% in class, prepare for IIT, want to prepare them for competitive world etc then this is not correct school for your child. If you want your child to learn, grow emotionally well & acquire life skills, then this is correct school for your child.’ ,
no mandatory qualification for teachers — a person whose educational qualification is class 12 pass can apply for teacher’s position. Criteria for people applying for teacher’s position — to explain the topics clearly, innovatively with creativity & everyone should be able to understand(I know it is not easy as it looks while reading but a try can be given). For this, while interviewing them, they will be asked to choose a topic & teach that topic to a person who is not literate or completed school up to certain classes. If they can make them understand, then they clear the most important part of interview. I am putting this criteria above the knowledge of teacher because I have seen people with sound knowledge who had below average knowledge sharing skill as teachers, they were not able to share the knowledge in an effective manner which made students loose interest in that subject and this is irrespective of number of years of teaching experience. I have seen people with below average knowledge who had excellent(if not, good) knowledge sharing skill as teachers, this skill helped student to develop interest in that subject and this is also irrespective of number of years of teaching experience. These are debatable.
student decide fees of teacher based on factors like teaching of teacher, understanding of student, proper communication etc. As a freelance Japanese language teacher, this was my fee model — I do not fix the fee for the class but learner(student) does that. I follow ‘FBOWYU’ fee model i.e. ‘Fee based on what you understood’ fee model. I teach them for particular number of hours(depend on learner) in a day, at the end of the session I ask them based on factors like my teaching, their understanding, proper communication, doubt clarification etc, how much they want to pay me for that particular class(or session). I accept whatever the fee they give me. Fortunately, none of the learners took advantage of this. I follow this model as it motivates me to not take anything for granted & keep me always on my toes. I believe the power(or I don’t know what is the correct word to use) should be in learner’s(student’s) hand when it comes to the matter of fee payment. There is no hidden agenda behind it. I follow this model as I have seen during my schooling & under graduation days, how ‘some’ teachers had this attitude — “You people(students) are not going to pay me anything, management will do that, so it doesn’t matter if I teach you properly or not”. They never said these words but I sensed it through their attitude. At first I thought, it would be difficult to implement this fee model in schools but I found a way — student should pay ‘non-learning’ fee to school’s administration for using school facilities, books etc and teachers will be payed ‘non-teaching’ salary for coming to teach in school, doing other activities like invigilation during exam etc. Students have to pay the ‘learning’ fee to the teachers based on above mentioned factors. This idea has more cons (while implementation) than pros which will be achieved after successful implementation.
Like these, I was getting more ideas.
Suddenly, negative Ravi Kiran (negative side of me) appears out of no where & tell — Ravi, you idiot, these ideas look good on paper and while reading but practically they are not possible.
Positive Ravi Kiran(positive side of me) — Ravi, don’t listen to him. He always talk like that. Ravi, remember Dasrath Manjhi, the mountain man. Before he was starting his work, everyone told him it is not possible, but atlast he completed his work.
Negative Ravi Kiran — Yes, but his work only involved/required himself, there were no other people involved. But what you are thinking will involve other people and your people skills are pathetic.
Positive Ravi Kiran — :-(
I somehow brought myself back in to real world, applied ‘do the work & don’t worry/think about result’ concept and continued thinking about ideas. What surprises me about that day is when power/electricity came back, I did not charge my phone and was continuing my ‘activity’. Next day, it was again same routine, not same as yesterday’s routine but same as day before yesterday’s routine.
October(I don’t remember date), 2017 I was browsing my LinkedIn app as from past 2 months I have not opened it. After browsing it for an hour, I came across a post by Mr. Alokesh Sharma which was about ‘iDISCOVER FELLOWSHIP’, description about the fellowship and online form attached with post. The post was interesting but what attracted me was the name of organization — Kshamtalaya Foundation. I googled it, opened the website, browsed the website and I was amazed to find the foundation believes in some ideas(those ideas are not mentioned above) which I believe in too. I immediately decided to apply for it. I read Alokesh’s post again — it was about working in Kotra & Gogunda, in Rajasthan and last date for submitting application was October 25, 2017. I opened the form, read it’s content but was perplexed to see October 15, 2017 as last date for submitting application & that date passed away. I scrolled down to find contact number of Ms. Soumya for any clarification. I WatsApped her and she confirmed me that last date is October 25, 2017(2359 hours). I was happy. I continued reading form. Questions asked were ‘I cannot think of best adjective to describe them’. Question which caught my attention(& I was excited to answer it) was — What do you understand by learning? Share few things you have learnt on your own since childhood and how did you do that? Please share a time/event in your life when you have learnt something on your own (family, school, neighborhood, etc.). I submitted my application at 2345 hours on October 25, 2017. A big thanks & hug to Soumya — the words limit for each answer was 1000 words, my answers were exceeding those words limit and my online form was not getting accepted/submitted. I asked her whether I can mail her my form by converting it into pdf. She told yes. I did that. I was anxiously waiting for result. While waiting for result, I decided that I will not let this opportunity slip away like Teach For India(TFI) opportunity.
In 2013, I have applied for TFI fellowship. I was interviewed on phone. Now, let me tell you something about me — I hate having long conversation on phone, with anyone including my parents, my sister, my friends etc. I was informed that I will be interviewed on phone for TFI fellowship. I thought to tell them the above ‘thing’, will not be able to give my 100% on phone and ask whether my interview can be face to face — either through skype or at office of TFI in Chennai. But that thought just remained a thought and never got converted into spoken words or written words. I was interviewed on phone and was not able to go through.
So, I decided that if I get a call from Kshamtalaya, first I will ask them is there a phone interview? If the answer is yes, then I will ‘plead’ them to conduct interview face to face — either through skype or I am ready to travel anywhere in India for interview.
After 1 week of submitting the form, I got a call from Soumya informing me I have been selected for iDISCOVER FELLOWSHIP and whether I am interested in joining Kshamtalaya. I told a bigggggggg yes. She disconnected call after saying there will be 10 days of induction program in Jaipur, after that we all will go to Udaipur & from there to our respective location and I will receive a mail regarding this soon. In some Indian movies, a character after receiving a good news over the phone celebrate it by shouting, jumping, dancing etc. After watching those scenes, I used to think — which fool does that? That day after Soumya disconnected the call, I was that fool. My family members were happy. My father was little apprehensive — why to go so much far when you can work here. I convinced him. I received a mail from Kshamtalaya asking me to formally accept my participation in iDISCOVER FELLOWSHIP, which I did. I cannot forget the smile on my face when I was replying to that mail. I booked my ticket to Jaipur. I started making check list for travel, bought necessary items required and started packing my luggage. I received another mail from Kshamtalaya with details about induction program, location of place in Jaipur were induction program is going to take place, stipend details etc. My family members have informed the relatives about my new ‘job’. They congratulated me & asked me to come to their house for meeting. At one of my cousin’s house, her husband asked me what is the name of organization? I told kshamtalaya. He told/asked ksham …… what? I replied ksham (silence for 30 seconds ) talaya. In those 30 seconds, I got these thoughts — Oh like vidyalaya(विद्यालया = school), kshamtalaya(क्षमतालया). In vidyalaya, we receive vidya(विद्या = knowledge). So in kshamtalaya, will I receive kshamta(क्षमता = capability)?
Dasrath Manjhi — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashrath_Manjhi
Kshamtalaya — https://www.kshamtalaya.org/
(I was going to publish this article at 0030 hours on February 11, 2018 i.e. today. Just before publishing it, my excellent & wonderful brain from it’s warehouse of memories took out a memory which forced me to delay the publishing of this article. Today is February 11, 2018. On February 11, 2017, I attended an interview at Amazon. It was for Japanese language translator — work location in Hyderabad and after 2 months I will get a chance to work in Japan. In the last round of interview, I was told we will get back to you which was nice way of saying ‘you are rejected’. It will be an understatement to say I was disappointed. I wanted that job so much. Now I started thinking — what if I had got that job and I would have been working in Japan(or may be in Hyderabad) and thus, begins the fight between PasGret Ravi Kiran(side of me which lives in Past & reGret in present) and positive Ravi Kiran — I was stuck between them and it took me sometime, 5 hours to be exact excluding time for other activities like sleeping, bathing, preparing lesson plan & worksheets, reading textbooks etc. to bring peace between both of them and myself. After getting that peace, I am publishing this article.)