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Lavanya Bahuguna

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How To Teach Underprivileged Kids Tells Sunita Sharma, Principal Balika Sadan

  • JWB Post
  •  October 20, 2015

 

After serving many renowned schools in the past 15 years, Sunita Sharma is all set to take care of many underprivileged girls who are declined the right to education.

We met Sunita, the Principal of Balika Sadan situated in C-scheme, few days back. Having taught the kids of primary classes throughout her life, Sunita now thinks that she has gained the ample amount of patience and has understood the right way to tackle kids’ naughtiness. “They are naughty and you have to accept this fact. This is what they are known for. You can’t shout and ask them to maintain discipline”, smiles Sunita.2

She started working as a teacher thinking it’s the easiest job a woman can manage after marriage, exactly what our society believes in. However, things started to change faster. “It was as if these little ones were putting a spell on me, and gradually, I started enjoying my job. I fell in love with their smiles, the excitement they showed when they got a ‘star’ marking in the class test. My career is no longer a liability for me”, tells Sunita.

When she left her last job at a school in Jaipur, she knew that she wanted to give her newly found interest a more meaningful direction. So she started teaching her maid’s children. Next, she stepped out of the house and went to various slum areas. She remembers, “I began teaching at a temple in Jhalana Kachhi Basti area. Kids used to wait keenly for the classes to commence every day, and so would I. All this, I think, has polished me to an extent that now I am very much comfortable sitting amidst them, understanding their loopholes and helping them move forward.” 5

Once she got this clarity, Sunita started searching for jobs which are solely serving this section of our society. When she got an offer from NGO Jagriti’s Balika Sadan, she accepted it in a jiffy.

During our conversation, Sunita opened up about the tips one needs to keep in mind while dealing with underprivileged kids. She notifies, “One needs patience to deal with such kids. You don’t know what living conditions they are in, and what they encounter after going back from school. Physical and verbal abuse is a common behavioral trait in their families. Not every day is a good day for them. They can’t get hold of things they want like a new school bag, a pencil, a tiffin box and toys. Their mind-set demands a calmer-you. You can’t be aggressive with them. You have to be mentally prepared to teach them everything from the basics like how to sit on a chair to washing hands before eating, etc.”10

Talking specifically about the kids of Balika Sadan, Sunita says, “Girls are sensitive as compared to boys. Moreover, their families aren’t very enthusiastic sending their girls to schools. Even though their education, uniforms, books are provided free of cost, the parents get the girls married off by the age of 16, and even if they are allowed to work, they end up becoming a daily-wage laborer or a maid in our houses.”

Sunita’s guidance is important for JWB as well, as we’re soon going to launch our campaign ‘Classroom on Wheels‘.

So how do Sunita and the school handle this problem? She answers, “There are times when we are required to go to their houses and convince the parents. We have to plead and ask them to send their daughters back to school. We are fighting against this mindset together.”

With about 163 girls studying in this particular branch of Balika Sadan, Sunita told us how the attendance keeps fluctuating between 100-130. Currently, the school has 6 female teachers, however, people keep coming in to contribute and teach the kids extra-curricular activities on weekdays. If you’re also planning to volunteer, you can meet Ms. Sunita Sharma and take an one-hour class on weekends between 8 am till noon.

Photo Courtesy: Pallav Bhargava

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