Friday, September 25, 2015

Inspiring young minds: EFF is at it again

EFF team visits rural schools once in three months to check the progress of the students. Volunteers who come from different fields have joined us for this trip – even if it meant applying for leave and staying away from office and family for a day. That’s the kind of passion, and dedication that volunteers show for the EFF program, besides sacrificing their time & energy. For a day, volunteers turned teachers – conducted written tests, classroom games, speaking activities, etc., which gave them a break from their routine lives. Volunteers were extremely happy to give their time to rural children.
Let’s hear their happiness in their own words:

 It was my first visit to ZPHS with the EFF team and I was delighted at the opportunity to meet the students and interact with them. When we reached the school, I found that the students were also equally excited to meet us; they were eagerly waiting to hear from our team. I took classes for students 8th (EM) and 9th (TM) standards. The children were very well mannered and possessed good manners. They had the zeal to learn and improve their English. I conducted several activities to make sure each student was involved in one or the other way. Students enjoyed more in the group activities whereas individual activities boosted their confidence to speak in front of other people. Given the area that they come from and considering the fact that no one in their family is much educated, the children communicate pretty well in English and are working hard to improve further. Some T.Supraja, Rama Devi, G.Anjaneyulu and P.Bhagawan were quick in spelling out a word or in giving their introduction while some others like B.Anusha and A. Shiva Kumar were struggling to complete a single sentence. But all of them wanted to get better and better.
In 9th standard Telugu Medium, students paid full attention to each and every word that I spoke and I told them not to hesitate in asking the meaning of anything that they didn’t understand. They were lacking in good communication in English and were struggling a lot. But they didn’t lack in enthusiasm and willpower to learn more and get better. I explained the meanings to them in Telugu whenever needed. At the end of the day, we distributed books to them for encouragement. It was an exhilarating experience overall and I am looking forward to go on more such visits. Thanks to EFF and Sudha for giving me this opportunity. – V.L.S. Ravi from PurpleTalk
To my surprise, I found that Std 7th (EM) students were smarter than me. I didn’t feel like leaving the students because they were very active in the class, especially in speaking and in answering the questions. In this class, girls are very smart and courageously coming up to speak and even if they make a mistake they were not afraid to speak; they were very bold and expressive. The students are very good in communication and I was really shocked and pleasantly surprised to see the ZPHS students speaking such decent English; I think it is the hard work of EFF and some generous people who offered this to these students. Thanks to EFF for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. –Ravi kumar from Reserve Bank of India
This was my first trip to this school, so I was excited to meet the children and take classes for them. Though students of Std. 6th (TM) were very active in the class, they were unable to speak in English and some students don’t even recognize the English alphabet. However, a few of the students were able to read the English alphabet. Most of the students were unable to write a full sentence but they were eager to learn. I think there will be a gradual growth among these students as they seemed to me to be very hard working. I am eagerly waiting for my next visit. – Sravan
This was my second visit to the school and I have enjoyed this visit better than the last one. I was asked to teach 7th class Telugu medium and 8th English medium students, where I’ve conducted a few activities like self-introduction, written test, dictation and mind mapping. Some of the boys in the 7th standard were still struggling with the basics of English and I felt that the teachers have to concentrate on the language more. And in the 8th standard, girls are more active than boys. A few of the kids in both the classes seem to have a lot of skills but they were feeling shy to come forward and to express their ideas! I hope with a little more encouragement and support, they can perform very well too. What I observed in both the classes is, they showed more interest and enthusiasm when I was teaching them with practical jokes by including them as part of the subject. And those who are passive have become active too and gave a good response, drawing inspiration from the students who came forward to speak. 
It would be better for the students if teachers can guide them in basic dressing etiquette and in matters of physical appearance as well at this stage as it would help them become better citizens in the future. More than the students, as a volunteer I enjoyed the day a lot with their performance. I would love to be a part of more such activities.Venky  from Reserve Bank of India

Looking at the kind of enthusiastic response from the volunteers and also going by the inspiration they provided to the rural students, we can safely conclude that the event was a huge success. We also feel motivated not only by the participation of volunteers but also by the attitude of the students and, going forward, we would love to conduct more such events. The EFF team thanks all the volunteers for their valuable time, energy and eager participation in this activity, and hopes that the same spirit will be extended towards future events as well.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Happy Teacher's Day

Teachers are everyday heroes who were called on a mission to help the world learn. It requires an enormous amount of inner strength, self-sacrifice and patient listening more than just talking in the class. Teachers dedicate their life to nurturing many lives while handling the hearts and minds of children. As we belong to such a noble profession, we should strive to make this mission one of the most appreciated, respected and supported.

Ours is a culture that places teachers on a pedestal and elevates them to the status of God… which child in India wouldn’t know the concept of “Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheswara, Guru sakshat Parabrahma Tasmaisri Gurave namaha”? Guru or the teacher comes just after the parents and even before the God. That’s the stature that India gives to teachers. Can anyone ever forget legendary teachers like Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (whose birthday is celebrated in the country as the Teachers’ Day) and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam?

It is amazing to note the kind of respect, admiration and selfless love that teachers receive from their students. On this special day, let’s take some time to appreciate the great work done by teachers to shape up the personality and the future of the students under their care. I spoke to a few students to understand what they think about teachers and the Teachers’ Day, which also shows us the positive impact that teachers have on the young minds.

Here’s what students say about teachers:

Teachers are everyday heroes. – Aswitha, 7th em

Teachers are called the backbone of the society because they highly contribute towards building of our character, and shaping our future. – Kalpana, 9th em

Teachers really play a key role towards the education and students’ life. – Akhila, 9th em

Teaching profession is a great job. – Bharath, 9th em

A good teacher is a great gift to nation. – B. Anjaneyalu, 9th em

While the mother gives birth to a child, it’s the teachers who give education and life. – C. Akhil, 9th 

Students should honor teachers for their selfless effort in shaping the career and enriching the education system all over the country. – G. Premala, 9th em

Today’s students are tomorrow’s citizens only because of the efforts of teachers. – Vishnu Vardhan, 
 If there is no teacher, there is no education. – Akhil, 9th tm
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