English and bananas

Dear Ritesh,

Though I know you can’t read this post, I am hopeful that some day you will and we’ll reminisce over a cup of chai (tea) made by your mom. You know, you have been an enigma and a challenge in (and out of) the classroom. Most days, you come to school being dragged by your brother or mother. You refuse to carry the school bag. You refuse to enter our very colourful and interesting classroom. The first one hour or two in the classroom is bitter for you. I can see it in your face. Nothing, not even my jokes, actions and funny faces, colours, balloons, live gold fish or anything seems to excite you. You love your world and you stay there while I try to figure out and fail. Repeatedly. Every single day.

But, I keep my hope alive. All it takes is perseverance. That single step of love, thoughtfulness and care will move mountains. You should be happy. That is the first step. Without that, nothing will happen. Oh, and it took me quite some time to understand this. What makes you happy is this – you want to be treated special. You don’t like the crowd and noise in the classroom. I take you out and put you in a world where there is no chaos and distraction AND your teacher is rewarded with wide smiles and here comes the biggest surprise – you start talking in English !

Its been many many patient months and now we see those green shoots of magic. The other day, your mom called me aside and said that you are constantly speaking to her in English ! Though she could not understand most of it,she was proud and happy that you are making the effort. I know that there is a long way to go but we are off to a great start already, buddy. Without any hesitations, you now try to talk in English whether or not I am around and for that, I am so proud of you. (Despite your mom’s pushing, you insisted on buying a ‘banana’ and not a ‘kela’)

See. I didn’t come to your home to put that behavior chart. I came to make you happy and keep up a promise. And, what a joy it was !

We have another year to go and it is going to be one interesting journey. Your wonderful qualities combined with your energy (cartwheels,frog jumps,running,rolling on the floor etc) will take you places. But, for now, let us focus on this path.

Yours lovingly




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  2. kanika

    Srini…that was so touching.I wish all the teachers of this world become as sensitive and caring like you.And you have inspired me to become a teacher myself.Being with kids is a different world altogether,one gets to revisit our childhood and also start viewing the world from a child’s perspective.Amazing…keep up the good work!

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  5. Saesha Pillai

    Dear Srini,

    I am an aspiring fellow of TFI and this post has my heart yearning to be a part of TFI as soon as possible! I’m teary eyed and touched to see that there are so many of us who believe that lots of love, attention and the right kind of education can change the lives of these little wonders! ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you for the post and the inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

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