Why I teach—I am a student in my class

I am very fortunate to have a wonderful family and a comfortable life. Despite this, I find that all my family members including me are not truly happy. Today’s materialistic world gives us happiness that lasts only for a brief period. We are then back to grumbling and sulking for not having what others have. I believe that God gave me an opportunity in the year 2006 to be a teacher at Deepalaya. Little did I know at that time, how this would change my perspective of life.

I have found something amazing in my students. They always seemed to be happy and pleasant. Most of the students come from economically deprived sections of the society with numerous problems in their homes. Some trivial gifts such as a pencil, an eraser brings out a gorgeous sunshine smile on their lovely faces. An announcement of school picnic fills their hearts with great enthusiasm and excitement. I am their teacher, who is trying to follow the syllabus and teach them the alphabets, math, science and the rest. When I come back home and reflect on the day’s happenings, I wonder what I teach them or are they teaching me?! Each day I learn from them how to smile how to be happy unconditionally. When I am in the classroom, the children unfold a lesson for me and change my outlook of life.

I should site an example here. I have a student in class 3, very bright, hard working cheerful girl. She has a peaceful smile on her face all the time. Her notebooks and uniform always remarkably clean. One day I noticed her to be a little unmindful in the class. Fellow kids informed me that the M.C.D had demolished her house. For a week she seemed to be a little preoccupied but soon she was back to her happy self. One day, after the school I start on my way home, I spotted this girl playing with her sister beside the road. That day she was absent from school. I stopped and approached her, and asked her why she did not come to school. She said that her sister was not well and she had to take care of her while her mom had gone out for work. She proudly showed me her house and the image of my own house flashed in front of my eyes and I was speechless. The girl was pointing to a tent that was barely covered on all sides. With pride she told her teacher this is where she lives. I came back home wondering how a small girl living in such adverse conditions can always manage to remain happy, work hard at school and keep herself neat and clean. There are umpteen number of examples in my school that I could recollect. I have become a student in my own classroom and I am learning from the little kids how to remain happy in all situations.

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