Yesterday, Gaurav Singh, a Teach For India 2009 fellow gave an interesting presentation at TEDxChembur. Being the first of the 3 speakers, he spoke about 3 things – One need, one solution and one question. His entire speech was built around these 3 points, which made it easy to understand and takeaway. Delivered in chaste Hindi, Gaurav blended his pre TeachForIndia life, decision to join TeachForIndia, the needs of India, his class children (in particular, the story of Ashish) and what each one of us can do.
Describing his TeachForIndia experience as the most exquisite symphony of failures that he has ever created in his life, he talked about encountering failures in the classroom. As a Teacher, I could identify with his points because I face very similar challenges every day. But, what left me inspired was this – “What is failure for me means the LIFE for a kid. What is success for me means a NEW LIFE for a kid”. I have been mulling over this line since yesterday. it is so profound. If a child is not behaving well in the class, not paying attention and just not interested in studying, I could just focus on other kids and not spend a lot of time and effort on him OR take him up as a challenge and invest in him without giving up. Because, if I don’t do this, it could mean that the chances of failure in life is high for that child. Just by persevering with that child, I could be showing him that “one glimpse of absolute quality (one solution)” that is needed to get him to be invested. Just by trying harder, I could be ensuring that the child will someday get hooked and start learning.
The one question: “What will I do about it?” Gaurav has been teaching his kids to ask this question when they see a problem. Rather than just talking or criticizing someone else, you ask yourself – Ok, this is the problem. I see it. It exists and needs a solution. What will I do about it? Gaurav showed pictures of his class kids living this question and reaching out to other classes, teachers, strangers, MCGM officials.TEDxChembur happened right in the middle of a slum community in Chembur-Govandi area. So, most participants were from the community.Gaurav’s speech will soon be available online. I’ll share the video here when it is available.
TEDx Organisers are planning for a TEDxDharavi next year and I hope it is as inspiring as this one was.