Taṉṉiṟaivu – A Step Towards Self-sufficiency For Our Students | Milaap
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Taṉṉiṟaivu – A Step Towards Self-sufficiency For Our Students

“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.” – Elizabeth Edwards.

Taṉṉiṟaivu – is a powerful Tamil word which captures the essence of  self-sufficiency and sustainability. The words of Elizabeth Edwards echoes of the impact of Taṉṉiṟaivu on a person who decides to take ownership of her life and in the process become self-sufficient. It is this philosophy of self-sufficiency that I hope will drive the 35 inquisitive children I teach.



Hello!
My name is Neha Khambete and I am a Teach For India fellow in the second year of my fellowship programme. I presently teach Grade 8 at Government Higher School, Byatarayanpura, Bangalore. It is an english medium classroom in its fifth year of intervention and follows the Karnataka State Board syllabus.

                   

The community that my students hail from is comprised of hard working families who are heavily invested in the education of their wards. The income earned by the parents is just enough or in some cases not enough to make ends meet. As a result my students shoulder the hopes and aspirations of their families in addition to their own. However absent parents, alcoholism, family feuds and lack of employment security are challenges that my students and their families have to battle each day.

In my first year, I have taught in a school with a similar context but the one thing that stands out here is the resilience, the level of commitment and the sense of possibility that characterizes these students. While the aspirations vary from student to student, the questions they ask, the answers they seek and the choices they make indicate their will and determination to take ownership of their lives. It is not that they don’t make mistakes rather it is their ability to review, reflect and respond to them that sets them apart.

                   

Our current classrooms have limited student-teacher interaction, inefficient space utilization, and a lack of diversity in learning mediums. The blackboards are worn out and certain areas are even completely unusable. 90% of our classrooms have no technology available to use in them. How is a child supposed to come into this environment and be able to attain an excellent education? How are teachers supposed to prepare children for the 21st century in classrooms like these?  What can I, as an educator, do to help these children and best equip them for the future?

One may assume that simply adding a few benches and a blackboard would resolve this issue, but such solutions do not take into account modern views on education, and the idea that our students must be prepared for tomorrow. Transforming education today requires educators to shed the traditional notion of a teacher imparting knowledge to their wards and instead turn to the idea of a teacher as a facilitator helping students realise their creative potential and instiling within them the confidence to face uncertainty. We need classrooms that encourage teamwork, creativity and dynamism - spaces where students learn from their peers and learn to ask the right questions. The vision that I have for myself as a teacher is to create classroom experiences that will promote learning in multiple forms and cater to the needs of EACH child in the classroom. The idea is to make content accessible to students at all learning levels and most importantly make visible the connections between what they learn in class and its application in the real world.

                     

We are raising funds with two goals - to provide basic amenities like electricity, functioning fans, lights, etc. and then use a  larger chunk of the raised funds for customized, flexible furniture - which includes height adjustable desks, innovative seating, white and black boards, LED TVs, an in-room library and solar power systems ensuring the classroom is self sufficient and sustainable. The bet that we are placing is that access to these facilities will act as a key lever that will put our students on the pathway of independent learning and self-sufficiency. The current reality we face is that our school is not equipped to provide these facilities to all classrooms. Also the key need that we have identified in order to maximise learning in our classroom i.e. better classroom design and facilities, coincides with the area of focus of The Better Design Foundation.

TBDF is an organization started by ex-TFI fellows with experience in architecture and interior design. In partnership with FRDC - a large retail design studio, they have formulated a well thought out scalable solution to our current infrastructure issues. Over the next year, I will be working with TBDF to transform my classroom in terms of equipment, technology, and structure keeping student outcomes at the center of this transformation. Most importantly, I will be shifting my classroom from an instructional model to a collaborative one. My classroom will then serve as a model to other teachers, other schools, the local government, and to large institutions motivated to make a difference. You can find more information on exactly how we imagine the classroom to look like here. We would be collecting funds and posting all the expenses which you can find here. You can also see how we estimate to use these funds in the image at the end of the page.

                   

Right now, we have the opportunity not only to transform the lives of my current students, but also the lives of all students passing through my classroom over the years. To that extent I implore you to support me in my humble efforts by contributing to this campaign. I hope that with your help we will be able to move closer to Taṉṉiṟaivu for my children even after my fellowship ends. You can also choose to contact me at neha.khambete2018@teachforindia.org or The Better Design Foundation at contact.thebetterdesign@gmail.com if you wish to contribute in any non-monetary form or have any queries regarding the fundraiser.

                       

Thank you,
Neha Khambete
2018 Fellow
Teach For India

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8th September 2020
This campaign is now closed! Thanks for your help!
This campaign is now closed! Thanks for your help!
1st September 2020

This is what our classroom looks like thanks to all of you!  We managed to complete the classroom renovation a few weeks before schools closed due to Covid-19. As you can see, the kids now have individual desks, with rotating seats, and table tops that have personal green boards and white boards! We also painted, got some cabinets, a bulletin board, lights and fans!
The change in classroom environment boosted student learning almost instantly. The personal whiteboards are excellent for Math practice. The individual movable seats helped us include a lot more teamwork and peer learning in our lessons. Infact, students with learning levels below grade level actually showed a year's worth of growth in 3 weeks because our lessons were able to incorporate peer to peer learning thanks to the new set up!
The students and I are so grateful for your support! The best part is, this has inspired the Government School teachers to shift the way they think about learning environment and are now thinking of ways to improve other classrooms in the school as well!
Please feel free to reach out to me if you'd like to know any more details, and once again, THANK YOU!

This is what our classroom looks like thanks to all of you!  We managed to complete the classroom renovation a few weeks before schools closed due to Covid-19. As you can see, the kids now have individual desks, with rotating seats, and table tops that have personal green boards and white boards! We also painted, got some cabinets, a bulletin board, lights and fans!
The change in classroom environment boosted student learning almost instantly. The personal whiteboards are excellent for Math practice. The individual movable seats helped us include a lot more teamwork and peer learning in our lessons. Infact, students with learning levels below grade level actually showed a year's worth of growth in 3 weeks because our lessons were able to incorporate peer to peer learning thanks to the new set up!
The students and I are so grateful for your support! The best part is, this has inspired the Government School teachers to shift the way they think about learning environment and are now thinking of ways to improve other classrooms in the school as well!
Please feel free to reach out to me if you'd like to know any more details, and once again, THANK YOU!
5th December 2019
Thanks to all the contributors, we are about to place our order for the furniture and pin board of the class. Will post photos once its done!
Thanks to all the contributors, we are about to place our order for the furniture and pin board of the class. Will post photos once its done!
Rs.87,972 raised

Goal: Rs.200,000

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Beneficiary: Neha Khambete info_outline

Supporters (33)

IK
Ishan donated $100
S
SG donated €20
AB
AKSHAT BANSAL donated Rs.300
DE
DAYANANDA donated Rs.500

Good job Neha, God bless you

A
Anonymous donated Rs.15,800

Good going Neha, please keep it up

I
Ishan donated $100