Door Step School

A Toast to Shailesh Sahni… Volunteer Speak

By Shruti Pimplikar, DSS Volunteer

So who is Shailesh Sahni? And why a toast to him one fine weekend?

Let me give you a background into this. I started teaching English at a local PCMC school as part of my social responsibility. I started off with a skit on my first day. It was something new for the kids. A live skit with English greetings? “Hi! Good morning!” Every kid joined in. They were having fun. I bet none of the teachers had done something like this before. It was entertaining and it encouraged me to be innovative. What ways could English be fun for thirty 10 year old boys who thought English was never going to be their cup of tea?

The answer is varied. But the two most important things when approaching this answer are – Innovation and Patience.

Innovation, when for example, Nouns become difficult to understand. You play Name/Place/Animal/Thing with the entire class. There is excitement and chatter. They become a boisterous crowd. They love the game and they now understand nouns.

Patience because I come from a convent background. Discipline was the way of life there. And here in this school, discipline most of the times seems to never enter the door. It can get very unruly and you tend to lose your patience and you feel like the task of managing these thirty boys is not going to work out. But that is where the entire point of this article comes into picture.

I took a fifty marks test today. It was a small, twenty minute test. Nouns, days of the week, months and verbs. I wanted to gauge the progress the children had made in the year. You must now sense why the toast to Shailesh Sahni.

He scored a fifty. He was the only one to. I checked his paper and smiled a smile for myself. I taught for a year and there were moments I doubted if I could do it. If I had it in me to teach English and if I was doing a good job? Would they learn even one simple thing after I had invested a year in teaching them? Was I a good teacher? So many doubts and his paper answered those doubts for me. You should have seen his paper. No spelling mistake, beautiful handwriting, every answer was correct. That paper was pristine.

I haven’t stopped smiling all day. It is a small achievement but that paper was my certificate. I had one kid score a fifty. And most of the others scored above thirty five. Thank you Doorstep School for the opportunity. It was a daunting task when I started out but after my certificate, that divine paper, I guess I can say that it was totally worth it.

So here’s a toast to Shailesh. I am proud of you. I rarely get these moments where I am proud of myself. A very big thank you. For making me proud and for that incredible I-am-proud-of-me feeling.

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