Young teachers

Payal Sadana has been teaching for about 5 years. She loves the fact that she is in a position to help shape little lives. She firmly believes that in her class she is the student as she learns more from her students than teach them. She is fascinated by the 4 year olds she meets every day because of the little things they help her discover about herself and the world. Payal likes to cook, eat, and serve others and looks forward to every festival and celebration.

It was a regular day at school and the children were busy finishing their hindi work when one of them got up and took permission to go to the washroom. After about five minutes I heard her call out my name loudly. I ran out in panic and saw her standing in the play area pointing at something lying in the planter. It was a pigeon, wounded and entangled in a thread. I immediately disentangled the pigeon from the string and held it in my hands. It was breathing heavily and its chances of survival seemed dim. However, all of us decided to take care of it and brought it back to the classroom.

I emptied the toys basket; we put a sheet of newspaper at the bottom and placed the pigeon on it. Then we tried to get the pigeon to eat and drink something. We put some drops of water and cooked rice (which we had brought for lunch that day) in its mouth, but the pigeon wouldn’t eat or drink. All the children became concerned and started asking me questions: “Ma’am, will the pigeon eat the food or not?” “Will it fly or not?” I chose to keep quiet as I knew that it would be difficult for the pigeon to survive for clearly the pigeon had been through some trauma. However I told the children that it would be fine in a few days and that we were not to touch or disturb it.

The next morning as the children started coming in, the first thing they asked was about the pigeon and its welfare. I told them that it was recovering and that it would soon be fine. That day no one spoke loudly in class and if someone did, the others would tell him/her to keep quiet so as not to disturb the bird and allow it some rest. We checked on the pigeon now and then to see if it had eaten the bajra I had brought for it.

The third day was a Saturday and the children had the day off. I tried to feed some bajra to the pigeon and realized that it had lost control over some of its body parts and would soon die. I prayed for it and told Reva didi to feed it if it survived the next day.

When all of us returned on Monday we saw that the pigeon was not in the basket. I knew what must have happened and was wondering what to tell the children, when suddenly filled with enthusiasm the children said, “Ma’am, it has flown away… It must have become alright.” It was heartrending and encouraging at the same time to see how optimistic and full of faith the little ones were. These little kids are actually the ones who teach us the true mantra of living life – simplicity, faith, and optimism. Young teachers so rightly as they are.