Aishwarya’s Birthday

A teacher opens up and shares his experiences, Kasthuri rengan is teaching English in the district of Pudukkottai. Here he shares his surprising experiences with kids.
Of Running an English Club

I have been teaching English in a state run high school for the past 7 years. Like most of my colleagues I found it difficult to cover the syllabus with the academic year. Some times I wonder whether to cover the syllabus or to uncover the syllabus is right but most of the time I cover it literally.

Our system still measures a learner’s achievement by deceptive means. If records are fine then everything is  OK. A teacher has to be up to date in his Lesson Plan, Composition and Mark Register that’s all.

During 2005 my Head Mistress asked me to install an English club in the school which I never did. I could not find time for such endeavor. Around 2006 things had to be changed as we had a new CEO, who is famous for issuing memos generously. This changed my mindset and all of a sudden I found time for running an English club. So when my new headmaster asked me to install one I promptly did.

I recruited volunteers for the club and oriented them how to run an English club. The office bearers were elected and my head master was highly impressed and this encouraged me to move on. He sat with the children and looked on to the proceedings of the club. This might have created a surge in the mind set of the children. For a few weeks I have been giving model welcome address and votes of thanks for them.

After few months a group of girls came to me and asked me if they could enact a play. I asked them where did they found the script. The reply completely shook me. They said they will produce the script themselves. Imagine, kids at eighth grade that too in a rural school were planning to enact a play of their own! That was too incredible to me.

What happened next was a wonderful experience. The girls just wrote a play in Tamil and then translated it into English, dialogue by dialogue, scene by scene. They were busy rehearsing the play “Aishwarya’s Birthday”. Finally they enacted in the presence of the Head Master. He told me that he was blown away by the performance.

This event was an eye opener for me. It broke all my preconceived notions about the rural children and their ability to create in English. It dawned on me that if a teacher facilitates a constructive environment to the learners he can pull out magic from them. Since then I run the English club regularly, and this made me one of the celebrated teachers among the students. Of course the learners celebrate teachers who made them experience the joy of learning, don't they?

Kids are always ready to surprise us indeed, the question is are we ready?


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