A Happy Turn Around
Mrs. Shabina Sheikh is a Balwadi teacher in Kurla, Mumbai. Since 1999, she has been teaching children in the age group of 3 to 6 years. She faced several infrastructural and instructional difficulties, and lack of support from her school made it worse. “It was tough to impart effective teaching,” she remembers. A lack of systemic support had led her to loose motivation and interest in teaching. There was no formal curriculum in Balwadi for the teachers to follow on a regular basis.
Tech Mahindra Foundation stepped in and initiated a six-month teacher-training programme at her Balwadi in July 2016 in partnership with Save the Children India.The training coached the teachers on early-childhood education and activity-based learning. The teachers were supplied with curriculum, teaching-learning materials, toys and trunks for the storage of the materials.
The aim was to instruct teachers how to use theme-based curriculums, plan lessons, and practically use the teaching materials in a Balwadi set up.The conventional teachers-training material at Balwadi was in English, which was hard for Shabina to comprehend and implement in the classroom. This limitation was identified and addressed by TMF and new teaching materials in Hindi, Urdu, and Marathi were provided to her.
“Once I was able to connect with her, she changed the way she functioned. It has been wonderful to see her transform so well. I am very proud of her and very satisfied with this kind of change,” said Bijal Gandhi, Master Trainer at TMF Balwadi Project, who also modelled the classroom sessions at Balwadi and demonstrated how to engross the children.
During the training, Shabina’s guides saw a tremendous change in her motivational level. She is now actively engaged with the children through her instruction.“Now I see Shabina’s passion, enthusiasm and love towards children, and her work has translated so beautifully with the right kind of guidance and mentoring,” said Sapna Menon D’sa, Balwadi Program Manager.“Seeing this makes me sincerely believe in our program and the combined effect of training and monitoring and observation,” she continued. Shabina said that after the intervention she has regained her confidence and that her knowledge on various topics related to Early Childhood Education was updated.
“I felt very good when you, parents, and principal praised me, I felt motivated to teach better and I now search for new ideas to make learning fun in my Balwadi,” Shabina said. “Parents are saying that Balwadi is functioning like English schools,” she added.
Shabina’s innovative methods have increased student enrolment in the mid-year itself. She seeks to continue using the new teaching methodologies learnt during the training and improve herself as a teacher. She is happy to get more children in her Balwadi and will strive to get even more in years to come.