This joy of giving week I want to share my joyful moment from my classroom with you all. I, Pranali Patil work at Apni Shala Foundation as a curriculum lead and facilitator. Many a times when I design Social Emotional Learning lesson plans for the schools, I wonder what will happen if the designed activity does not work in the classroom, what if the students don't express during the session and many more adjoining thoughts. But what gives me confidence, strength and courage to create more lesson plans is the expression and conversations students engage with during the session. I would like to share one from the many conversations with you. This conversation is from 6th grade class where I start the conversation by asking question,Who will tell me what does Empathy mean? ( मुझे कौन बताएगा के एम्पथी का मतलब क्या है?)
Student1: Didi empathy means show mercy. ( दीदी एम्पथी का मतलब ना, दया दिखाना होता है. )
Me: Does showing empathy mean, being merciful? (क्या एम्पथी का मतलब दया दिखाना होता है ?)
*a clueless expression on the face.
Student 2: Didi, I might not be able to explain it to you but I can give you an example.(दीदी में आपको समझा नहीं पाऊंगा, पर में एक उद्धरण दे सकता हूँ. )
Me: Yes sure, give me an example. (हाँ ठीक है उद्धरण बोलो. )
Student 2: Didi, Ek bhaiya ko na lunch break mai khichdi ke saath chips khana aur unka chips ka packet fatt kar niche gir gya, toh maine unko mera chips ka packet diya. (दीदी, एक भइया को ना लंच ब्रेक माई खिचड़ी के साथ चिप्स खना था और उनका चिप्स का पैकेट फट्ट गीर गया , तोह माने अनको मेरा चिप्स का पैकेट दिया।)
Mei: But why did you give him your packet of chips? (पर अपने उनको चिप्स का पैकेट क्यू दिया ?)
Student: Because if I would have dropped my packet I would have felt really bad, that is why I gave my packet of chips to him. (क्यूकी अगर मेरे चिप्स का पैकेट गिर जाता था तोह मुझे बहुत बुरा लगता, इसीलिए मैंने उनको दे दिया. )
Me: Thank you so much for sharing this example. Now my question is, if empathy is not showing mercy then what is it called.? (थैंक यू वैरी मच यह एक्साम्प्ले शेयर करने के लिए, अब मेरा सवाल है अगर एम्पथी को दया नहीं कहते तोह क्या कहते है?
By that time all the students put their hands on the floor and said it in one voice , Didi we want to pass this question. (उस समय तक सभी छात्रों ने अपने हाथ फर्श पर रख दिए और एक स्वर में कहा, दीदी हम इस प्रश्न को पास करना चाहते हैं।)
*with that I was amazed by the coordination of the students and I left with a smile on my face.
That day, after listening to a beautiful narrative from a 6th grader, I realized that simple acts like these can change a lot of things. Empathy as a skill has always amazed me, whether others have empathised with me or I have empathised with others_both ways it gives immense joy and happiness.
At Apni Shala, we build Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) opportunities for children in municipal schools, low-budget private schools and other NGOs, primarily in M and L wards of Mumbai, two of the most disadvantaged wards. Our vision is to build social and emotional competencies among individuals so they can constructively engage with society and have a harmonious co-existence. I currently facilitate SEL sessions with 50 students at Acharya Vinoba Bhave Municipal School in Kurla West, Mumbai. Our SEL programme covers several aspects of day-to-day lives and each day I see them growing as strong and confident individuals who take initiative and voice their opinions.
Through this campaign, I want to allow myself to create more spaces like these which will spread joy and happiness on my students and my face. My goal is to raise an amount of INR 26,000 which would make it possible for 10 of my students to have a year long Social Emotional Learning opportunities.
So what are you waiting for? Come along,join this campaign and give yourself the chance to smile more.!