Every year as the school season begins, my search for a child who can help me better myself also begins.
Take the last academic year, for instance. At the beginning of the year, I met Nikita – a child who was loquaciously quiet, actively inattentive and confidently nervous. It was these antithetical qualities that drew me to her. I started thinking of ways of bringing about a positive change in her and for this I needed assistance from her peers, parents, teachers and above all, from Nikita herself.
I knew it was going to be a Herculean task, but what would life be without challenges? With all the help I received, days of pondering and plodding, and gate-crashing the resource room, I reached somewhere. But this was a slow and gradual process. There were several times I was ready to give up, several times I thought this was not my cup of tea, eight months in hand will not be enough, whether the endeavour would make any difference, and if yes, would it last?
I wanted to start with my strategies, but I had to gauge the child’s capabilities and limitations. I didn’t want to just thrust my expectations on her for I feared failure. “Strive harder,” was the voice that came from within. I firmly believe that hard work supplemented with perseverance does not go waste. I saw the word ‘impossible’ smiling at me, but I was going to prove it wrong. Nikita slowly began understanding words that she couldn’t decipher earlier.
After months of training, Nikita scored an 18 out of 20, where she had begun with one out of 20. I ran mid-lecture with her answer sheet to my colleague Neha to share the achievement. How proud we felt… for it was not the words she got right that mattered but the potential that we discovered. Every child, in my opinion has potential. They just need good soil (guidance) and unblocked sunshine (understanding) to bloom. Today, Nikita is doing well, by her own standards!
With every new child I meet, my belief that, “Everything comes to those who have the patience and fortitude to wait for them,” becomes stronger. Over the years, the innumerable kids that I have met, spoken to, learnt from have taught me, “No matter how often you use the same brushes or paints, each canvas will be different.”
My search continues….
Roselin Anthony teaches at Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Vidyalaya, Mumbai. She can be reached at [email protected].