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Transformation: Within and Without

Kevika Bali, PGDLT Resident Teacher


It is commonplace in the corporate world, from which I come, to ask oneself to rate themselves in comparison to others as well as be told they do not ‘match up’. One may wonder where this way of life comes from, but it is actually simple to join the dots. One look at this giant leap and it becomes apparent that such behaviour is actually an expansion of what is happening in our schools. The imprints that were awarded to me at this time ran so deep that my life was rife with comparison and judging and instead of nurturing I got neglect and ridicule.

I was forced to think that if these imprints are playing themselves out in the ‘world outside the school’ at much higher stakes of materialistic joy, then where was my fulfilment and everlasting joy?

It was much later that I realized that I was capable of reaching true fulfilment in doing something I loved. Sure, there were those who found their calling in the corporate world but they are really few and far in between.

What really stood out to me in my corporate stint was the stark reality that life and love ‘out here’ are of no real value to anyone, while that was exactly what everyone was seeking! A hollow world that derived its value from having, achieving, competing and measuring up to standards, was not my cup of tea anymore

I awoke night after night troubled that if this is the fabric we are weaving, then what is the framework in which it is being weaved? My answer was – our schools. So, if students were being exposed to aggression right from the start, was it really surprising that they got behavioural issues and fostered hate for authority, which showed up later once they were independent? I realized that I had not even seen the highest expression of my life. The niggling feeling that “I am just not good enough” would just not leave me. Imagine living with that!

After being at the receiving end for so many years, I was forced to think that IS THIS WHAT WE WANT TO LEARN WHEN WE ARE IN SCHOOL? Do we want to expand our knowledge at the cost of contracting our hearts?

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – Matthew 7:12 is a favourite quote of mine because they carry the wisdom that we, are but mirrors, who simply reflect each other. So, I ended up reflecting upon incident after incident in school which showed me that I had ingrained learning from each incident that reflected in everything I did. The best part is that I could not see it – but others could. I started seeing the world as a horrible place where I wasn’t valued. The day I realized that I had it backward, I laughed, really laughed. I was free!

Sadly the stress of my stint in the corporate world and my broken personal life caused paralysis of my right side. But soon the clarity came to me that in any case there was nothing “normal” about this world, paralysed in its own way. A window then opened up for me to see others and myself as they are – unique and irreplaceable.

Wonder overflowed through me to see this beautiful creation, which I would not have been able to see had I remained in the roles I played or in the fixed ways of thinking that I had developed. I had to relearn a lot and finally I understood my love for learning. All I could think was ‘what could I do to help children’? I was convinced that there was actually no structure in place to prepare our children and youth for facing this world because no one was really invested in them, a fact that in my experience I felt was true across our educational system.

It was my good fortune that I had a chance encounter with IAAT program in The Heritage School, Gurgaon. The program had a framework that broke other frameworks. It was extremely exciting to join the course and I have never looked back. I have faced my fears, apprehensions, physical constraints and mental blocks ever since I joined and it’s only been a couple of months.

There is a lot of good humour and camaraderie in the IAAT team which makes one immediately feel accepted. Yes I am still learning the ropes but now my heart is definitely in the right place as I know I will finally add value to all the little hearts waiting for their turn to beat joyfully. This is going to be one journey to remember.



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Insights from an Intern

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Chahat Kaur interned with us in the month of July 2018, she is currently a second year college student at Claremont McKenna College, California, USA.

Education to a child is what soil is to a plant. It provides a platform for a child’s
growth. On the land of education, learning is one of the key sources of knowledge that
nurtures a child’s mind. As the metaphor continues, a child is exposed to several
sources of learning; one of the initial one’s are educational institutions – schools.
These follow specific guidelines for examining the child to provide an unbiased
education to each child. The guidelines of learning, in schools, vary amongst
countries and are distinguished mostly, by their affiliation to the boards of education.
The boards are examining systems, which organize education for students to be able
to grasp knowledge in the best manner possible. With the emphasis on the “learning
by doing” approach, the schools have deviated from a traditional classroom
environment to a modern high-tech experiential one. These changes have been
prompted due to the awareness, in parents, regarding reasonable experimental
practices that should be exercised by the teachers at the school.
The irony of the system, however is that the schools claim to provide education
through “learning by doing” approach but do not train the teachers in the same
fashion. The style of teaching holds individualistic values (varies with each teacher’s
experience), however it is imperative to observe if the style aligns well with content
assigned by the boards. The hands on learning approach is essential to have but
cannot be practiced efficiently if the teachers are not trained effectively.
The I Am a Teacher Program (IAAT) focuses on practicing the theory, which is
taught during the lectures. The theory includes modules on learning about school,
classroom and student culture. The program respects the individualistic teaching style
of the teachers, but also focuses on teaching a common set of guidelines essential to
teach students across all grade levels.
It is interesting to note here is that even though the style of teaching is different for
teachers and these trainings are mostly the same for all, there is still a certain degree
of variation in classroom functioning of each board. The CBSE exam pattern is based
on the questions given in the NCERT books, whereas the IGCSE exam questions are
based on the findings from the experiments performed in class. Much like we
appreciate the hands on learning approach, we should also fathom the need for putting
into practice the theory that is learnt by an individual to become a teacher.
Education empowers you with the ability to ponder over the intellectual challenges.
The IAAT program catalyzes this process of thinking and encourages teachers to
contemplate the purpose of education. During the course of this program, the teachers
explore this purpose and put it to use while imparting education.

Chahat Kaur
IAAT Intern