Five minutes before class started, I was handing out small chits of paper on which my name and phone number were written. I gave it out to the parents and requested their name and numbers in return so that I could talk to them regularly about the children. That’s when I noticed this person who stood close to my class but hadn’t taken the chit. When I offered one, he said something that really touched me. “Sir, my kid does not study in your class but I have to tell you that I have been observing your teaching the last few days and feel happy. आप के ऊपर बहुत उम्मीद हैं I ये बच्चे हमारा भविष्य हैं और इनका पढाई आपके हाथ में (Seeing your class, I have great hope in you. These children are our future and their education is in your hands). We put our children in Municipal schools because we have no option. I hear that teachers are running away from Municipal schools, but you have come here and teach our children. Thank you”
In reply I thanked him and told that we are fellows from the Teach For India movement and there are many like me in Mumbai and Pune’s municipal schools. Just because these children are in these schools should not mean that they are left behind and get less chances and opportunities in life than their counterparts in wealthy schools.
After a few minutes of talk, he left and I went back into my class with a lump in my throat.