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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ahmedabad Retreat - Pre Retreat Reflections

 We at Teach for India  are going for a retreat at Ahmedabad  -  Gandhi's Ashram  to reconnect and reaffirm our  commitment to Teach For India’s mission and core values.

Dear Readers , this blog contains  personal   Reflections   before the Ahmdebad Retreat .

Into 4 parts : Hope you have a good  insight and a joyous reading !!
Part 1: Reflecting on our first term as teachers

We will be starting the retreat with small group discussions where we will share our experiences about the last 5 months. Few  reflection questions and their answers !

·       What are some of your biggest learning over the last few months, both in terms of personal growth and about the students we teach?

    Students :

·       It is an immense pool of talent
·       We sincerely need a mechanism to ensure best of  support for these talents in terms of finance and emotional backup
·       There is  huge gap with in a class in terms of  Acquired Knowledge , Learning capability and willing to learn .
Personal :

·       Patience is the key
·       Positive approach, words of kindness and appreciation works wonders.
·       One  should always Plan  , execute , reflect ,  replan to re-implment !
·       We have  lots to achieve in so little time  .Hence we to show urgency all the time

·       What are some of the biggest challenges we faced in our personal transformation and in our classroom?

 Well  , Class room  Challenges have been   mostly in terms of

      §  Class room Infrastructure 
      §  Apathy  Co teachers from   PMC board  
      §  Lack of desired understanding from parents,  and
      §  Of course indifference of Parents.

On a personal front  :

 *Well  , firstly  few things in the organizational level has not been to my liking 
(but then I very well understand and appreciate  that whatever  TFI  does  must be well thought  plan   ).    Though it sometimes is unconvincing! ;)

*  Secondly  My  Parents have not been on board yet  with my decision to do this  . .. Lets stop at that . ;)

Part 2: The Gandhian philosophy

On the first day of the retreat, we will be visiting the Gandhi ashram, meeting with leaders who are incorporating aspects of Gandhiji’s philosophy into their work. TFI would like us  to think about what, if anything, we can draw from Gandhiji’s experience. Some additional reflection questions:

·       How do Gandhi and his experiences relate to our work?
 Gandhi talked about education as a means of “self reliance “  .We believe that it is a means of “eliminating the inequity “  . Both in effect boils down to a   happy society
  Secondly  Working  Relentlessly   is one value we find quiet similar to Gandhian Values .

 It is never  a crime to do a mistake .It is always a best practise to understand the shortcomings and mistakes.  To admit our mistakes and redo . Even Gandhi g believde in   Lot of reflections - amply  seconded by " My Experiments with Truth"

  Gandhi led by example . He left his personal   Comfort .He Practised what he preached .  A  Dhoti - A clock - A stick -A pair of specs - Washing clothes - Weaving clothes -Cleaning his own clothes -- This are simple examples of  Personal Integrity of the man . We as TFI fellows , too have to show exemplary behaviour  in terms of setting right examples and inculcating best of values in  our Kids .

Gandhi never gave up .He was focused and determined in what he was doing .He always knew the Big goal of Independence .Nothing would deter him from that , be it immense Political pressure from the  various ideologies , sustained attack form the British intellectuals or personal life .

·       What is the value of simple living?

Someone said” sada jeevan uchh vichar “ or “ simple living nobel thoughts “ .Some may agree others may disagree .

What is  important to realize that  one of the most obvious benefits of simple living is that “ it liberates you from the fear of the unknown “ –questions like what will happen if .. What will I do when  … Will I get …..They   have the answers –… what do   I need after all ,…. So u get more confidence to work on your principles   and   you feel more convinced and determined about what you are doing .

·       How do we move out of our comfort zone?

 It is easy .You see the end result .If you realize the  after effects of your achievements , it  is very easy to come out of comfort zone .

·       What do WE understand by “Be the change”?

In simple terms it would be   “ self transformation “  .
   I   always had a feeling we complain a lot and do nothing about complains we have .  However the change begins with self .If we want the change to happen we need to change ourselves .Our  effort  and  actions need to be aligned to the desired change .

Part 3: Working with communities

TFI would like us to reflect on our kids and their families, your school environment, successes and challenges. We are going to be spending a day doing hands-on community projects in Ahmedabad and debriefing our experiences in small groups.

·       What are your fears when working with communities?

   One fear is that would it be long term.  Would the communities be able to sustain the changes once we move out !

 Are we deviating from our model of “change in education inequity “ – to “ eradicating inequity “

Because When we talk of inequity it becomes a soci-economic and also cultural platform . In that case education may take a back seat . (just a thought )

I understamd that education cannot be viewed in isolation because “its much beyond the hours spent at school “ . It needs all round efforts from all stake holders !

However in what ever we do , Education should be the forefront of all the inititatives .

·       What are the challenges you have faced when trying to connect with people in the community?

     People start expecting too much .They sometimes refuse to understand that we are mere individuals who are trying to make a change .But it is We (they and us ) who have to do it together not only us !

·       What has been easy about being in the community and working there?

           Best things is People value You .They understand that what ever  little or more we are trying is for them .

 It may be because of the little changes they see in their kids , it may be out of the hope of the good , it may be because our approach is refreshingly different and without any motive (votes or money or something in return)


Hope you enjoyed reading .till Next .....

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