Impatiently awaiting a phone call. Checking for messages constantly. Sleeplessness. All clear signs of a breakup or more clearly say an attachment too strong. I was beginning to forget what I was here in Kotra for. Lesson Plans remained as Just Plans. Classroom sessions were becoming forceful.
I had to gather myself and start envisioning and working towards the larger purpose again. My crisis was a speck in comparison to the crisis I was being witness to.
The number of children coming to school had reduced. Digging deeper into the reason, I found out that it had been quite sometime since the supply of ration for their mid-day meal had stopped. The children were sitting hungry post namesake lunch break. This was unfair to them on all grounds as even the teachers seemed to not give any thought towards it. They continued to say “Yeh bachche toh sirf khaane ke liye aate hain” every morning in the school assembly. This started hitting me so hard that it was time to step up and do something about this.
I had a chance to meet the Pradhan (He is the peoples representative at the District Administration) and the Block Development Officer as they were in the neighbouring village for an event where the District Collector was expected to be at. When I spoke to them and raised the issue of the mid-day meal, they seemed to be taken aback. The Pradhan called the supplier of the ration right then and there and told me that it will be back in a day or so. Heaving a sigh of relief with this answer, I went back to school and mentioned about this happening to the teachers there. Their faces turned pale with fear. I went back to painting the Learning Corridor I have started creating. Seeing this take place, one of the teachers came up to me and told me that they were in plans of creating an ABL (Activity Based Learning) room in the school. I questioned this as to why a room when an entire corridor is being created?
The next day, there was ration in the school. I thought that the supply was back. But that wasn’t what it was. The teachers had managed to arrange ration from the community to last for a week. I laughed within and questioned, If a problem like this could be solved through the community, then why wait for so long? Fear? Shame? What is it? Why couldn’t I do it?
During the week I also incorporated Integrated Learning with clarity and unlike the previous weeks, this weeks plan was carefully executed and with attention going to each child. Spending time with each one of them, trying to make them understand. What I had in plan was to teach them the importance of playing, different types of games, their different courts, integrating this with math through numbers and shapes and also words learnt throughout the lesson in English and Hindi. The class seemed to be more interested and involved when I did this through the games they play. Kabaddi, Anti/Kanchi (Marbles) and Gilli Danda. We played this in school as well. Now they want to play this on a daily basis and post lunch sessions are now playing and painting. Seeing the increasing comfort level and involvement of the children, one of the teachers asked me if she could send her kids to me in the evenings for tuitions. I obliged straight away. But asked myself as to why would a teacher ask me for this when she herself could do this? By obliging am I being mean? Were my methods of teaching and interacting with the kids on a more personal level than her?
This brings to my mind, Elon Musk’s belief “You don’t have to simplify every problem down to the atomic level to get the benefits of first principles thinking. You just need to go one or two levels deeper than most people.”
I realised that the best solution is not where everyone is already looking.
Till my next blog, Happy Reading | Happy Learning | Happy Thinking.