– The blog piece has been written by Ms. Amrutha Krishnan, who works as the School Transformation lead at Mantra4Change.
Aisha ma’am comes forth to practice her welcome address; teachers, the HM (head mistress ) and I wait patiently often coming up with words of encouragement when she fumbled with her piece of paper with the welcome address on it.
Let me introduce you, my friends, to the setting.
The setting is a classroom around late afternoon. Teachers and the head mistress have come to the room and are enthusiastic about what was happening.
The context: a parent-teachers meeting to be held three days after. This mind you, is the holy month of Ramzan. Everyone, with an exception of myself, are undergoing the rigorous fast that Muslims keep in order to feel the hunger pangs of the poor so that they are more empathetic to them in the coming months. For most teachers, it is the first time that they had to speak in English in front of an adult crowd. But they were willing to, to reinstate the parents’ faith in education.
You know that there is a slow but steady metamorphosis happening when the staff at your partner school stays back after school hours, instead of waiting to bolt, just to practice their part for a parent -teachers meeting.
You know priorities have shifted from questions over breakfast menu to questions about their child’s education when parents turn up in tens at a time to attend the meeting.
You know the focus has shifted from taking offence at statements to improving the delivery of education to kids when the entire staff cocks their ears and listens intently to the concerns of the parents.
You just know that you work in an organisation that works with a passion to change when the head mistress of the school delivers a powerful speech on how education can’t be bought, but has to be shared; and you have goose bumps on your hands.
The icing on the cake is when the founder of the school does not talk about money, but patiently explains to the parents that recruitment of teachers is not based on caste, creed or colour, rather on their ability to impart wisdom to “our children”. OUR CHILDREN. That was one of the highlights of the meeting. That is a power packed phrase.
For, to take responsibility is the first indication that the plan is working!