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Feb 6, 2019

Fellow Abhinaya's experiences with Fellowship

Students posing with their drawing art
Students posing with their drawing art

Here is the narrative from Chennai Fellow Abhinaya on her experiences with the second year of Fellowship along with her students.

"It gives me great privilege and pride in sharing my journey with Teach For India so far. I am Abhinaya, an Engineer in Computer Science, who worked in the corporate sector for two years. My passion to work with children with special needs gave me the courage to quit my well-paying IT job and follow my dreams of becoming a special educator. I pursued my Post Graduate Diploma in Special needs and worked as a special educator for two years before joining Teach For India, to be part of a greater movement.

Working with Teach For India has been one of the greatest experiences for me so far. Working with my school, the community and the organisation has shaped me into an open-minded and positive person. My 17 9-year-old students inspire me each day and from them, I have learnt that nothing is impossible. The journey has taught me the rewards of hard work and the importance of consistency. All the challenges I have faced have shaped me into who I am today and I strongly believe that it’s a continuous process.

Facing the daily challenges, travelling through the ups and downs definitely has made me a stronger person. My school saw a sudden drop in attendance and a huge drop in enrolment when my fellowship started. This was due to the migration of a huge chunk of the community to a different area which had more facilities. I started my fellowship with low enrolment and attendance which had gradually improved. I find that my students are present at school almost all days and engage in high rigour content. Their interest in education and involvement has improved. Their love for the English language has helped them become creative and expressive. Now, my students proudly walk to me and tell me on how they have now begun to think in English and express their thoughts accordingly. They feel extremely proud of themselves.

Apart from academics, my students have always shown interest in arts, sports and reading books. They have grown more responsible and I can clearly see them shaping into conscious citizens, who want to change the future. They actively engage in topics that involve persisting issues such as pollution, alcohol abuse, lack of justice, equality and so on. They participate in competitions willingly and do not hesitate to express themselves in front of an audience. The major challenge I faced initially as a fellow was low attendance. Since I was born and brought up in Chennai, language was never a barrier. The parents were not so invested as they had other pressing issues to address on a daily basis, and lack of education for their kids was of least importance to them. But after the first few months of my fellowship, my students and their parents got more familiar with me and things began to change.  As a teacher, I made sure they saw the growth of their child, no matter how small it was. I notice that the investment from parents is slowly beginning to shift.

Apart from parent investment, there were other reasons which resulted in low attendance, such as poor nourishment resulting in low immunity, child labour and so on. With consistency, I sincerely hope we, as a school team, are able to overcome the other challenges faced by the children in the community. Each day has been as rewarding as much as it has been challenging. My rewards come with beautiful moments - every time I walk into the school a bunch of kids come running to me just to wish me and then I see a spurt of hands raised high up whenever I ask a question in the class.

I can never forget the day when my dyslexic student had come to me after the class to say he had got all his ‘addition sums’ right, and he had his friend proudly walking beside him to say he helped him. It feels so good whenever my kids tell me how they have begun to think in English and how it is helping them to express themselves better. Seeing the pride and smile on their faces when they receive a small appreciation or get something right, I feel that I found my secret ingredient behind my lovely so far. I am sure that all these moments will be etched into my memories forever."

Jan 30, 2019

Afridi, a passionate leader in the making

 

Afridi, a Grade 8 student from KARE school was selected for the role of an Artist for Old City Student Council. So far, he has been part of 3 student councils and has already built his own idea of leadership at a tender age. Afridi says, "I like drawing because with it we can show the problem in one picture only and can understand the problem deeply and easily solve it.". Without having to be told, he has taken his learning to his classroom.He says, "I think that a leader should show equality to everyone, be it girls or boys. They shouldn't think only boys can do certain things and girls can't. A leader should not give up easily, instead, a leader should try again and again and be confident enough to solve a problem. I am beginning to show grit in solving my group problems as I'm the group leader. I have also started showing gender equalilty in my group. Some of the boys in the group were teasing girls, and I explained to them why it is not okay, that girls are fellow being and should be treated with equal respect. I showed empathy when someone got hurt and I gave everyone a chance to speak during a group discussion. With this initiative of mine, I've sensitized not only my classmates but also my community towards these senstive issues. The response from my family members is also positive, they completely understand the need to pay heed to such issues as they deeply alter and impact the fabric of our society. I only hope that with my efforts, we become a much decent, civilized society as we so proudly claim to be."

Afridi

Grade 8  student

KARE School

Nov 29, 2018

Teach For India Alumni Programs

The essence of Teach for India’s work is truly accentuated when talked about in terms of enabling systemic change in the Education Sector. To that end, the Teach For India Alumni Program with its innovative initiatives, strives tirelessly to attain the recognition and influence that is needed to propel change in the education ecosystem of our country. As of now, Teach for India has 2500 Alumni mapped to the length and breadth of our country, which surpasses the number of Fellows currently in the circuit. This brings us to discerning the kind of potential that this movement possesses and the heights it can reach in the presence of a favourable framework of support.

The same potential of the movement is now being funnelled into fulfilling the Phase 3 vision of Teach for India, which is to impact a total of 1 million students by the end of 2023.

To cater to the aforementioned, we at Teach for India, have curated a talent incubator, the only one of its kind, which cobbles together 3 broad puzzle pieces wherein each of them contributes uniquely in catalyzing the impact made by our passionate Alumni.

The 3 facets that are seeded into the incubator initiative, along with their priority in terms of cities of operation are listed below:

1.School Leadership -

The cardinal reason behind incorporating this program into the incubator was to lower the entry barrier for individuals for attaining roles of influence in the education ecosystem. This was facilitated by introducing Assistant School Leaders into school level administration, to collaborate with the concerned stakeholders and work towards materialising the idea of an excellent education in the prevailing context of the situation. After making an impact on 12,000 students in the past year by placing 30 ASLs in low-income government & private schools, a total of 43 Alumni have been placed across our 7 cities in the current year, with the hopes of outperforming our own achievements.

2.  Community Aggregator

Another crucial area of intervention is community development. As much as something as holistic as community welfare needs to be worked towards in unison, it still needs a kingpin, an effective leader at the heart of its execution. Keeping this narrative in mind, Teach for India introduces a 2 year long community-specific Aggregator program wherein, a skilled Alumni spearheads operations related to improving the learning levels of students, encouraging community engagement and other crucial supplementary operations like Teacher training & parent investment through a grassroot level intervention approach.

3.  Policy Incubator

This programme is intended to funnel the graduating Fellows and existing Alumni into positions of influence in the field of educational policy within the government. Teach For India believes that a partnership in the form of sharing our biggest resource (Talent) will forge a strong two way partnership intended to shift policy in Education. The Project Associate in this regard, is a highly aspirational role where the scope to create impact at a systemic level is immense. The individual chosen as a Project associate functions as a key systems leader and plays a crucial role in the planning and execution process pertaining to facilitating systemic change at a public policy level.

 

Encompassing these highly ambitious projects in its purview, the Alumni movement is an enabler for concretising not just classroom impact but also for fueling lasting progress across all the levels in the education ecosystem of our country.

 
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