Coming from a family of academics, I assumed that teaching ability should be second nature even without formal training. And I’m apparently fine according to many children I have volunteered with although I may not match the exceptional skills of my grandfathers, mother and some of my extended family or a few of my school and college teachers. However, I never expected to receive such honour and affection as I did this September, 5.
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Actually, I have been a tutor, mentor, learner and friend rather than a school teacher and am still amused when kids address me as Ma’am or Miss especially when I was akka (older sister in some Indian languages) in the initial years. So, when Kavitha, a teacher at Dream School Foundation‘s RT Nagar centre invited me to celebrate Teachers’ Day over the weekend, I was pleasantly surprised and non-commital as I had planned to participate in other events. But endearing requests from Chetan, the spirited organizer and the rest of the kids ensured that I went there.
Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to face them easily if I missed or delayed, I reached around 3.30 pm to an overwhelming and warm welcome. For the next hour and a half, the kids’ energy enthused us all (including other volunteers Ravishankar, Siji and Sindhu) to sing, dance, talk and joke together. We discovered new talents in the uninhibited Jayanti and Mamta’s graceful movements, Kumar’s entertaining mimicry and Alan’s melodious voice. Afreen, the consistent and confident performer shared the delightful news that she had stood second in class in the latest round of tests and promised to try to top next time. Cake, chiwda (a mix of dried, roasted peas, cereals and spices),
Ayanar’s artistic cards for the teachers, cheering and camera clicks followed. After more merry making and applauding the children and Kavita’s initiative and effort, we finally dispersed carrying the memorable afternoon in our hearts and thoughts.
Here is their invaluable gift to me: