In the first of our blogs from our Saathi teachers, Nitin tells us about he brings peace and calm to the classroom, to generate a perfect environment for learning and quality education. Our Saathi programme is helping teachers like Nitin expand their skills to revolutionise teaching in the Sindhupalchowk district.

We were shocked to see so much over-energy and restlessness among children when we first reached the village.  As they had too much energy, the children were letting it out by fighting with each other: they would shout and drown out our voices when we tried to teach and they left the classroom whenever they felt like it. It was complete chaos. As there weren’t proper rules and regulations to bind them, they were not behaving well inside the school. Even parents were not spending an adequate amount of time with their children and so they were on their own, which further led the children to be the way they were. I don’t blame the children for their behavior, as there wasn’t anybody to suggest or persuade them to change their habits.

At first, I thought it was impossible to change them and their behavior. I was completely puzzled about what to do and what not to. I discussed with so many people about this and no one had any idea what could be done. But I didn’t give up and I tried to understand them better. I tried to be close to them. I sat with them, talked with them, tolerating their behaviour. I didn’t have any expectations from them. I just told them about the behavior they have to show in school.

I didn’t know what to do till the end of Dashain vacation. But after Dashain vacation, I introduced them to simple meditation techniques i.e. closing their eyes and being aware of their surroundings. At first, they were very hesitant to do it. But after everyday practice, they started to do it. Slowly, their behavior started to change; they almost stopped fighting with their friends, realized their mistakes and even apologized. This made me very happy. My only thought for the children was to encourage them to behave properly and this was possible after I introduced them to meditation.

Class one is now very serene and peaceful. These days they are very keen to do meditation before the class starts. It has become a daily diet. My classes start with a 5-minute meditation. Students are now more focused and alert in everything they do. Their aggression has decreased a lot and they are very peaceful. They don’t fight anymore, if something happens between them, they immediately come to me and share their problems. I don’t give them solutions, rather encourage them to solve the issue themselves.

This has directly impacted their academic success as well. Children didn’t have any hunger for learning, that’s the reason why they hadn’t learned anything till the day we came. However, students now have an idea of what needs to be done. They have started to get hungrier for learning. When we first came most of the children could not even write their names. In the second term exams, everyone was able to write their names properly. It is a pleasure to see class 2 with neat and clean handwriting in a four-line copy.

It is not only in the classroom but changes can be seen outside as well. Students are punctual and follow the instructions of teachers. Greetings like good morning and afternoon can be heard in the school. Cleanliness is another aspect where students are getting better. They actively participate in morning assembly Physical Training as well.

The thing I have known after coming here is that we make our children depend on us. But if we give them a chance they would solve problems themselves more easily. These days I only tell them the task that needs to be finished and they do it according to their level of understanding. And this is the greatest achievement I have made till now, and as a teacher, I feel very happy, because I have given them something that will stay with them forever. I feel, no teacher tells their student that they are free in this world but I believe that I have made them believe that they are free.

You can read more about our Saathi programme here.