11 January 2020

This is why I wish to be a teacher

Janki with her students, during a teacher training in a school in Gurgaon.
By Janki Mehra

When someone asks me why I am pursuing a course in Junior Basic Training (JBT), flashes of my childhood memories play in front of me. I can almost smell the wet mud, upon which we would sit and play. While some girls played ghar-ghar, me along with a few others would gather some pens and notebooks to play ‘teacher-teacher’ in a make-belief classroom. 

These vivid memories from my childhood and many other experiences over the years have led me to become an elementary school teacher. 

These vivid memories from my childhood and many other experiences over the years have led me to become an elementary school teacher. 

I was 7 when my family moved to Delhi from Nanital. We were excited about our life in the capital city. And though the smell of wet mud and morning dew was quickly replaced by the smell of tarmac and traffic fumes, dreams were still the same. I wanted to pursue teaching as a career but due to some financial issues in the family, I had to take up a tele-calling job just after completing my graduation. 

I was not happy, it was not the life I had ever dreamed of. So, I saved up money for a year and enrolled for JBT course. My parents supported my decision.

During the course, we had to gather some data for a government project. For that I surveyed many households in Gurgaon, in some developed and partially developed areas. I observed that many parents were not sending their children, especially girls, to school. I wanted to change this mentality. I talked to them about the importance of education and the role it plays in improving the quality of life. I gave them my example and how I struggled to study and how education helped me in life.

Some parents I spoke to did send their kids to nearby schools. I felt happy that I could change parents’ attitude towards education, which could change the course of life of their children. I feel that as a teacher I will be able to push more and more parents to not only send their kids to school for literacy but also let them pursue education. 

Presently, I am working as a trainee teacher at a school in Gurugram and I feel a lot has changed in the last two decades as far as education is concerned. Government has invested a lot in building schools, their infrastructure, teacher training. Many organizations are working to improve learning outcomes for children. And now it is parents’ turn to take the lead and send their kids to school. We have to spread awareness about how education is the only key to progress.

When I see parents taking pride in their children’s small achievements. The other day, a father told me so proudly that how his daughter talks in ‘full English’ and teaches him some words. This makes me believe in the slogan: 'Padhega India, tabhi toh badhega India!'

(The writer is a trainee teacher. Views expressed are personal.)