I make my way to Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya School bright and early every day at 6.30am. If I didn’t, Delhi’s burgeoning traffic would eat into my entire morning. I’ve been a teacher in the city for over 15 years, and it’s taught me a thing or two about punctuality.
I started teaching at 23, following in the footsteps of my parents who remain practising teachers. Growing up surrounded by books and a reverence for knowledge inspired me. I even married a mathematics professor, to my parents’ delight. Every morning we rush off to our respective jobs, hoping to impart learning and bring about positive change in the lives of our numerous pupils.
Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya is a government school packed to the rafters with curious, passionate, intelligent children. Teaching as many as 120 students at once may not be easy, but it is unequivocally rewarding.
There was a time we taught lessons on terraces to accommodate an increasing number of students in a tiny space. Together, we drew numbers and alphabets on the walls, and even used the stairs to learn addition and subtraction. Although we lack the best facilities, we have the best intentions: to ensure that all of our 4,000 students are able to utilise the skills and knowledge they develop at school to pursue a brighter future.
As a class teacher, I handle a full teaching load and manage a series of extracurricular activities including the school magazine, legal literacy club and job fairs. Most enjoyable however, are my sessions at our pioneering ICT lab. Supported by Plan India, a member of the independent child development organisation Plan International Federation, the lab uses interactive learning to engage children in maths and science, and has been replicated across the country owing to its efficacy. With time, I’ve seen more and more girls take up science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, and aim to become scientists and engineers as a result.
Our ambition is to give our students opportunities to achieve their full potential. In many cases, they are the first in their family to have gone to school and this is a choice we strive to reinforce, as they could just as easily have been kept out of school and put to work.
In the course of my career, I have taught 600 children. One of my fondest memories is that of a young girl with cerebral palsy who joined my second-grade class years ago. I held her hand and taught her to write and her classmates helped with her assignments. Today, five years later, she tops her class consistently and is the pride of her family and our school.
Teachers are, in many ways, soldiers of education, serving the nation by nurturing and safeguarding its most precious treasures – its children. My students are determined to achieve greatness and it is my life’s calling to help them fulfil those dreams. No other job could compare.
Do you want to tell the world’s teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will give your school £100 if your story is published.