- Michelle (Greenwood High, Grade 9 Volunteer)
It was in the middle of my summer vacations when my mother told me that Somya Aunty had asked if I would like to volunteer in the government school she works in. I had agreed as I wanted to experience how it felt to teach students and help teachers. On my first day, I was introduced to everyone who worked in the centre. It was a small building with two rooms, with children who were looking at me with curiosity. Some wished me ‘Good morning’, while some tried talking to me, but I couldn’t understand Kannada and they couldn’t understand Hindi or English that well so we weren’t able to communicate.
All the aunties, especially Preethy Auntie and Mani Auntie would give me work to do, which mostly included cutting and sticking and making TLMs (Teaching-learning materials). At first I was disappointed; thinking all I had to do was cutting and sticking stuff of little use. I had expected more but I forgot about it after I was told the reason why Gubbachi was founded. In a few days I realised the importance of such materials, without which the students would be unable to learn without actually understanding it. Thus after that I took pride in doing such things which indirectly helped the children learn and enjoy school.
Every day when I came to the centre, all the children would wish me ‘Good morning Miss!’ which made me feel delighted as I felt that they accepted me as a friend. Some girls even had started calling me ‘Akka’. It gave me so much delight at the fact that they liked me even though I wasn’t able to communicate with most of them. Once as I had gone to Mani Aunty’s classroom, all her little students came running to me saying ‘Good morning Miss’ and crowding around me. A few little girls kept on holding my hand even after Mani Aunty had told them to go back to their work! I could not help but feel intense happiness at seeing their enthusiasm.
All the teachers were extremely supportive, always keeping work ready for me when I arrived at the centre. I feel Somya Aunty went out of her way to tell the teachers about my art and craft skills. I really appreciate her effort as everyone trusted me with anything to do with art and crafts. On my last two days Preethy aunty asked me to guide the students to make beads by quilling a necklace. One boy about my age named Vikash talked in Hindi, thus I helped him whenever I could. Lunchtime was always fun, as everyone shared food with each other, which reminded me of my friends in school. We would also have stories told and topics discussed, so I always had a wonderful time.
By volunteering to be a teacher’s assistant, I learned more about the condition of my community, made new friends with teachers and experienced the immense hard work put by everyone to educate children who can’t go to school. I know I will always remember how the children wished me good morning and accepted me, along with the teachers, with open arms. This experience is a memorable one and has inspired me to do more such things in the future.