Ever since the Fellowship started, it has been a roller coaster ride. Some days, I felt that I was perfectly cut out for this job while most days I was completely lost. “So much to do and so little time”.
But if there was a day that I would remember, cherish and flaunt, it would be the following.
It all started with a phone call from this school called Vidhyasagar that specializes for differently-abled children. They were to host a conference on Inclusive Education and guess who was invited to co-host the event. *Yeah! My school, CHS Kottur* alongside one other private school in the Kottur area.
The one instruction that we got was that this event was a student led conference and the teacher is to only accompany the organizers and not help them with the planning. After some serious discussion, me and my co-fellows (Viveka and Kiran) selected 4 kids (2 from 7th standard and 2 from 8th standard)
Leg 1 of planning arrived! The 4 students (or should I say organizers) and I reach Vidhyasagar to ‘organise’ the event. My kids were really nervous and were honestly lost at this new place. I just told them what might be expected out of them and we entered the planning area. After the ice-breaker game, when it came to the actual planning part in terms of the things needed, people to be invited and such, my kids were tongue-tied. They barely opened their mouths; the only conversation they had was with me. I have to say, their points were brilliant but before they could voice them, the kids from the private school would talk and end the discussion hands down. With very dejected faces, the kids returned to school and we (me and my co-fellows) had a pep talk with them about expressing opinions irrespective of the fear of it being right or wrong.
Leg 2 and Leg 3 went pretty good compared to Leg 1. They spoke words as opposed to silence and I was more than glad to see that their voices were heard in that mixed platform.
Leg 4, the final one, where the kids were supposed to finalise the logo, tagline and the certificate design, was also the last of the meetings. Soon after the discussion started, Vidhyasagar’s principal came into the room and literally pushed the teachers out saying that the kids would work better without adult supervision. I, being a newbie teacher, was all scared and nervous as to what my kids will do or say. After a very painful wait (oh! for me it was) of 20 mins, the kids invited us back to the discussion room. I was almost in tears at all the planning that went into it. They not only got the food menu and T shirt color finalized, they also voted on our school designed logo to be the final version that will be printed on the certificates, banners and the shirts. My kids were unanimously voted to be the Master of Ceremony and to do an opening presentation. I was all smiles that day;
The day before the conference, the kids stayed in school till 7:30 PM to perfect their presentation and it was such a cute sight.
Day 1 of the Children’s meet on Inclusive Education happened in an amazing way. More than 10 schools (private, international and government) participated in the conference; there were close to 50 participants. I was in tears when the audience cheered so loudly after my kid’s presentation (She made the PPT on her own and I didn’t even move my finger.
Guess that’s the plus about a student led event; maybe, the kids do a better job than us) . The looks people gave initially when they knew that my kids were from a government school changed to awe when they spoke flawless English and Tamil during the course of the event. They handled the stage like pros. And I would hands down say that this is the kind of exposure I would want all kids to have, to show them that they are as talented as any other kid! It is all about how much they are willing to push their limits!!
Today I am on cloud nine! My HM had happy tears to see her children flourish amidst students from other sectors of the society.
My kids learned that unless and until spoken, no one can hear their voice and without anyone hearing, what is the use of even having a voice!
I learned that, some little moments make a really huge impact on our lives and this is my moment! And today I am glad that I became a teacher.
The 2 day conference is over and I am the proudest teacher ever! The kids have grown their wings and all I can do for them is to make sure the sky is ready to take them 🙂