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This Is Not The End

Diary of A Teach For India Fellow 

by Pranav Sukhija


The year 2013 is already turning out to be quite eventful for me and my bunch of 40! Not only did we excel in our end of year exams, we also put forward a stupendous showcase event in our classroom for ten delegates from Teach For All. They were here in Delhi for an educational conference and I volunteered to host them in my school and classroom, hoping that this chance will allow my kids and I to do something really special. We organised a carnival-themed event which had something for everyone. The kids led stalls inside the classroom and demonstrated some of the stuff we did in the last academic year such as making bookmarks, painting diyas and improving reading comprehension through games. The mehendi stall, which was led by Ishrat and Mariyam, became especially popular among the ladies. 

Centre for Civil society, a think-tank based in New delhi, partnered with TFI to organise a three-day seminar on public policy (ipolicy) for TFI fellows. I was chosen to be one of the participants of this seminar. The three days were spent reading, listening, thinking, debating and discussing policy-based solutions to solve socio-economic problems. Some of the sessions like “Why is India Poor?”, “Tragedy of the Collective”, “10 Principles of Sound Public Policy”, among others, were particularly interesting and made me question my views and beliefs about the role of government and market in the society. The session on Right to Education Act was designed for us to spot out the loopholes in the policy and recommend appropriate changes. It was particularly interesting to note how the government is forcing private schools to reserve 25% of their seats for poor children but is not doing much to improve the quality of teaching in government schools. A lot of things the Act talks about such as formation of school management committees, etc. don’t get implemented. The seminar answered some questions I had but left me with many more questions to think about. 

The kids are done with their fourth grade exams and are now moving to fifth grade. I am working hard these days to carefully plan out the first unit of the new academic year. This first unit is the only one left for me to spend time with my students. I find it rather eerie to come to terms with the fact that my fellowship is coming to an end. When I look back at the time when I first met my students and compare it with now, I see a massive difference in their abilities, attitudes, values and mindsets. But it is not just the kids who have changed. I have changed, too, and I know that if it weren’t for the lifetime opportunity the fellowship provided me, I wouldn’t have gained so much in the last two years, both personally and professionally, as I did. I am happy to know that a new fellow is going to replace me in my classroom and my students will still have the opportunity to experience excellence in education. 

The fellowship may be getting over but my association with TFI and all the amazing people I met in the last two years is not. I will keep supporting the movement in whatever ways I can, wherever I may be going to from here. The journey seemed long, rocky in parts, but with the help of my friends, I reached my destination. But the end point also marks the beginning of another journey and I am equally excited about what knocks my door next.  

Like I said, this is not the end. Just another beginning.


 

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Let The Good Times Roll Magazine is an online youth magazine
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