About the Author: Bharti Yadav is a student of IIT, Madras. She shares how teaching school children with minimal amenities gave her an immense happiness.
“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning” – Brad Henry
I lived by this quote until I interned at American India Foundation (AIF) and found out that a teacher does much more than that.
Scrolling through internships on Internshala, I chanced upon a post by AIF. The foundation was calling applicants for teaching in government aided schools. Being the daughter of a government teacher, I was aware of the conditions a government school offers. For a science teacher, the stumbling block isn’t the lack of basic amenities in the school premises but the absence of laboratories and instruments to foster learning of the young minds. Nevertheless, the excitement of being able to teach children and utilising my summer break in the noblest way possible encouraged me to apply for this internship. After being shortlisted, I was asked to take a written test based on science education and pedagogy. The test consisted of subjective questions addressing the problems faced in teaching science in government schools and usage of creative approach and modern methods of teaching. The evaluation was to be done based on the originality of the content and the creativity of the applicant.
Being in Chennai at the moment, I was interviewed on Skype. Before the interview, I went through the website of AIF and got acquainted with the team, its objectives, and services. I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the interview when I was warmly greeted by the coordinators of AIF. They asked me about the current education system and various government policies on education implemented in the past few years. The interview went smoothly and after few days, I received an email stating that I had been selected; this was the beginning of my struggle.
Prior to teaching, AIF organized a three-day workshop for all the candidates wherein we were made aware of all the possible situations that we could come across during our tenure. Also, we were provided with equipment that we were to use in the classes to facilitate the understanding of concepts. On the very first day, I was both excited and nervous. Contrary to my presumption, the building was in a good condition. I met with the principal and entered the classroom to receive a warm welcome by teenage girl students, who had a bright twinkle in their eyes. That moment fuelled my determination and instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility.
Although I faced difficulties in the beginning, I started enjoying teaching so much that I couldn’t even keep track of time. We performed various experiments such as observing photosynthesis with a chlorophyll detecting device, distinguishing between conductors and insulators, etc. Students made projects like infinity mirrors, small projectors, water level indicators, and different methods of irrigation. We were like a family to each other, and I received constant support from others teachers at the school.
On the last day, we organized an exhibition of the models prepared by students and invited teachers and parents. Their glowing faces were a treat to my eyes. Before I left the school with teary eyes, I was bombarded with questions like if I would visit them the next summer, if I would continue teaching them, etc. The pleasure I found in helping students learn is indescribable. AIF gave me an opportunity to grow beyond what I was and to be a part of the revolution which aimed at ensuring a quality education and opportunities for children. I hope it makes a difference in their lives and in mine too.
Are you motivated by Bharti’s journey? Check out the latest teaching internships.
Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!