I am Pranay. I’m 7 years old and I’m in second grade. I love running through the playground, just running with my eyes closed. I just don’t like sitting in the same place, it gets so boring. My favourite cartoons are Ninja Hataudi and Benten. My favourite movies are Wanted, Dabbang and Tarzan- The wonder car. I love Salman Khan and his dance in Dabbang. I don’t know what I want to become yet, everybody in my class seems to have an answer to that.
My sister is also in my class. Her name is Namrata and she is 10 years old. She gets stars everyday in class in English and Maths both. She’s good at Marathi too. Our teacher, Chaitra didi tells Namrata that she reads very well. Namrata knows all the big English words too that we do every week. I feel happy when she gets the best girl of the week award or when she gets a prize in class because sometimes she lets me share whatever she gets. Like last time she got this big box of crayons and a colourful story book, I couldn’t read the story but the book was very colourful. But if we have had a fight she doesn’t even let me touch her things. Even I try to read so that I can be in the class plays but there are too many words in that page, I can’t remember how to say all words. I try to write in the writer’s workshop every week so that I get to create a kite or make a book or send a letter like my friends get to do but I can’t write the required number of sentences to qualify to make that kind of stuff.
I like being in class mostly because I don’t get hit by my teacher this year. In class 1, I got hit almost every day. Even I want stars in notebooks, but didi says that I have to try to read everything I’ve written, I can’t get stars for just copying. Like last Friday, I copied the multiplication sums from Sabir and ran to didi to get a star, she gave me one more sum to do while standing at the table, I couldn’t do it…..how can I? I don’t remember any multiplication tables…… Anyway, I don’t know how but didi came to know that I’d copied the answers…..I had still done the sums right? Then why I couldn’t I have got a star. When didi gave us the sums, she said that the first 5 study-buddies to finish will get a star, she never said anything about copying. Then why couldn’t I have got a star?
See, these are the kind of things I don’t understand. Like yesterday, didi was teaching…what is it called…..Prepositions. So didi was teaching us prepositions and I suddenly saw this big eagle flying outside and I kept looking out of the window. It was flying so nicely…..big wings and all….I love looking at birds flying…..and then suddenly didi asked me a question, obviously I had no clue what was going on. My team lost a point and all people in team C got angry with me.
But last two weeks have been good, last week mummy came to pick me and Namrata after the extra class. It’s always our grandfather or grandmother who comes to pick us up because my parents work for the entire day. My mummy makes chapati’s in 8 houses and cooks in 3 houses, she comes back home at 11 PM every night. I don’t know what exactly Papa does, he has work on some days and on some days he’s at home. So anyway, that day mummy came to pick us up, I was very happy to see her. Didi told mummy that I had got one star for reading and one superstar stamp for writing the words that day. Mummy was very happy. She told didi that after the parent-teacher meeting last Saturday, she quit her job. She had decided to stay at home with me and Namrata and make us study. I am very happy that mummy is at home. :) . But for some strange reason, even Didi seemed extremely happy about my mummy being at home. Anyway, for the past few days, I haven’t even been going out to play. Mummy makes me and Namrata sit down to read our story in English and practice multiplication tables. I enjoy doing that because mummy sits with us all the time.
Today was my happy birthday. I had called Didi home for my birthday party. I had invited all my friends; Esha, Ayush, Chotu, Abhay, Lucky and Saayli. Mummy had made idli sambar, I love eating idlis. At the party, Didi told my mummy and papa that I am very smart and I am reading very nicely in class. She said that infront of ALL my friends. :) :) I was so happy, now all my friends also think that I am smart. No one had said that before, my mummy and papa were so proud. :) After the party, I took Didi to all places in my chawl. I showed her chotu’s house and then the small empty space where Abhay, Esha and I play phulbat everyday. We then went to Munna’s house and the pepsi-cola shop next to it and then I took Didi to the place where she’d left her scooty.
I am very happy today. I have decided that I am going to get one superstar stamp every day. I am going to try. Like our class rule says, Always Try. Be Brave. In fact, I will try to speak in English now instead of Marathi so that I can be a part of the class play. I told Didi that I will be in the next class play.
I am smart, I know that. I can even say all tables maybe, if I try.
I will try….. I will….I can…
PS : As a blogger, I would’ve wanted to end the post right there….. But the teacher in me is compelling me to put down a confession here. As a teacher it’s so easy to take credit for what the mid-level and high-level kids do in class, because their progress is so evident. But the point is that these kids are born performers, they will thrive and possibly flourish with or without any teacher. The kids who really need you as a teacher are the lowest level kids like Pranay. These kids can’t concentrate on academics so they very naturally get into other stuff like beating up other kids, disturbing classes, tearing up notebooks etc. It’s so easy to lose your cool with them. But that is precisely what should NOT be done, after a year of teaching this has been my most crucial and valued take-away. Schools break the spirit of these kids, that’s why we see those ‘Education ruined me’ quotes flying around. ‘These kids don’t need much, they just ask for someone to believe in them. Someone who can tell them that they are capable of doing things as well as people around them, just inspiring a sense of ‘I CAN’.
There was so much more I could’ve done to reach out to the Pranay’s in my class. There were so many places I went wrong, so many situations that needed to be dealt with better. But like I said in the previous post, it’s never too late to wake up and make amends. I’ve never felt more thankful about having one more year to rectify all my mistakes, than I am feeling at this point in time.
Pranay, I believe you can fly….