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The Teach India experience - a volunteer shares what it was like to teach English to others from a under-privileged background
Inspired by the values of my employer Computer Sciences Corporation, India (CSC) and fortunate enough to spend a short time with the Corporate Mentorship Program (CMP), I was all geared up to take bigger challenges and contribute more to society. And there comes a special call from the Times Group inviting me to be a volunteer in Teach India – Spoken English Programme (Apr-Jun’11).
Quite naturally it was an enticing opportunity but the substantial time commitment required was surely not easy to achieve. With lot of questions and thoughts in mind, I took up the assignment guessing it would be a cakewalk to teach English to others; a language we so commonly use in our daily lives. Alas, I was proved wrong when I attended the prestigious training designed by British Council India especially customized for this programme. I had to unlearn the traditional method of teaching which we have been exposed to since childhood and instead was introduced to unconventional teaching methodologies.
My inspiration came through my classmates who apparently were a bunch of bright volunteers from various walks of life. It was an unbelievable sight to witness such a large gathering of intellectual individuals under the same roof for a common cause – Teaching India!
The D-Day arrived and I was all the more anxious than what I would have expected my learners to be. Fortunately, I was assigned the nearest NGO (Asha Deep Foundation) for my classes. My batch comprised of learners from so-called under-privileged class of society but in contrast had dreams sky high and the determination to carve a niche in the competitive world. Their undying spirits infused continuous energy in me and thereafter extra work and efforts appeared mundane. The curriculum was brilliantly designed to increase the ability of learners to converse in English and build up their confidence level which improves one’s chances of finding employment.
The 3 months journey was an enriching experience as I interacted with learners from different backgrounds, each of them with a special skill, creativity and persona. The endeavour, hard work, sincerity and resolution of learners to make a difference was really commendable and an inspiration to me. At the closing moments, I was overwhelmed to see how the learners had made successive progress and could confidently carry out basic English conversation in public. Besides, it helped to unleash the inner strength and bring out the creative side of me as well. As they say, where there is a will there is a way, I am glad that most of them could make it to their first interview and few were even lucky to hold their first job offer. It was indeed an occasion to celebrate as there was a deep sense of satisfaction and pride within me.
I find myself fortunate as this Teach India initiative came my way and I got an opportunity to serve this noble cause. Holding the certificate in my hand, sitting amidst the achievers, receiving appreciation and applause for my work is still so fresh in my mind and I wish this momentum to last forever. I am glad that I could spend 3 precious months of my life being part of this initiative and could touch someone’s life in such a special way. Down the lane, one thing that I realized – Everyone in this world is ABLE to do something or the other; sometimes we just need to ENABLE them to do better and lay a stepping stone for them to tread ahead.
Last but not the least, I am proud to be part of this organization which at every step has been so supportive to its employees. The amicable environment of the organization enables its employees to contribute largely both within and outside the organization.
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