Nilav Pyne, a 2014 Fellow of Teach For India, currently working as Recruitment Associate for Delhi hails from Tezpur, Assam and is an alumni of Dibrugarh University.
Here is the story of his journey with Teach For India:
Will you walk that extra mile if it makes you happy?
“When I stepped into my VIth grade ramshackle classroom in Delhi in the summer of 2014, I was not really sure of the challenges that lie ahead of me. As as soon as I entered the class, sixty four young, vibrant and energetic young girls welcomed me and gave me the coveted title of bhaiya. At that very moment I knew that I was in the right place” says Nilav about his first day experience as a Teach For India fellow.
“An engineer by chance, I became an educator by choice. Over the course of the next two years, I tried to utilise the space to create experiences that I would have enjoyed as a student. From discussing the historical development of the country’s political machinery to debating gender roles, I tried to push my students to continuously analyse the world around them through a diverse lens of understanding and rationale. With an array of opportunities, I wanted to ensure that my students excelled within and outside the classroom. And in that classroom, I saw future academicians, actors, athletes, artists and leaders” he adds.
Nilav recollects some of his amazing memories with Teach For India
In the winter of 2014, eight students from my class were selected to perform at an annual Teach For India Conference held in the sprawling premises of St. Stephen’s College. For over three weeks, they put in hours of practice to learn Bharatanatyam, a dance form they had seen only actresses perform in movies. They poured in their blood and sweat to remember, understand and practise the nuances of this new dance form. None of them had a laptop or internet connection at home. But that could hardly deter the zeal and grit of my girls. Weeks of training bore fruition when they gave a fearless performance and won the hearts of everyone seated in that auditorium.
“Chalo football sikhte hain”; teaching football to a bunch of young adolescent girls who did not have the faintest idea about the game is not the easiest task. For months, my students took up a sport which they had never seen or played before and made it a part of their lifestyle. We learnt the concept of angles while practising ball passing. We learnt the mathematical concept of perimeter and area through obstacle courses. We learnt patterns through team formations. My students did not have the privilege of a proper playing facility. The concrete floor was their playground and the classroom was their pavilion. From dribbling practice in the narrow lanes of Bhalaswa Dairy to shooting practice at the uneven grounds of Metro Park in Jahangirpuri, they left no stones unturned to excel in the sport. Towards the end of the year, the students participated in the sports league conducted under the aegis of Khel Khel Mein Foundation, which is also a Teach For India Fellow led start up. After a sluggish start and a couple of initial hiccups, they emerged Football champions in the U-14 category. All their struggle and training paid off when they proudly lifted the trophy and beamed at their teachers.
Our students who were now in VIIIth and IXth standard got together to put up a summer showcase at a local community park which was nestled amidst the lanes of Jahangirpuri. With commuters and bystanders who played the role of an eager audience, the students poured in life into each performance. They spoke about the richness of diversity in this country. They talked about the role of women in their society. The final curtain call was a performance on AR Rahman’s classic ‘Vande Mataram’. They did it all with gusto and bravado and brought the community alive and throbbing with life.
“In these two years, I grew as a human being and so did my students. We learnt that success lies right outside your comfort zone. It is not challenging if it does not make you uncomfortable. Let’s walk that extra mile because it is worth it” says Nilav.
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Last date to submit your application is March 25, 2018.