I am almost about to give up on writing about my experiences at the Teach for India (TFI) Training Institute. Initially, I had the plan to blog a little bit after everyday. The plan changed after my first 3 days to after my first week. The titles have been changed from "First day" to "Early days" to the more general "The beginning". Finally, after 15 days of training, this post should see the light of the day. The thoughts are neither in order or fully developed. Events after the first week in later posts.
First Few Days
In the first few days at the institute, there was so much happening all the time that there was no time at all to think and absorb. A bunch of new people to meet, activities to do and sessions to attend. I have been on 5-6 hours of sleep since joining, which is unbelievable for me as people who know me would know.
In my previous post, I mentioned my motivations for TFI. I had written "I honestly think I have picked up the coolest job on campus." That was before joining TFI. Now I have and... So far, every hour that has passed, every person that I have met (especially every staff member) has substantiated that belief. The energy around me is amazing. When we arrived at the institute, there were some staff members near the parking area cheering our arrival. Seriously. The humility and openness of the staff is humbling. All our welcome speeches by Shaheen (founder and CEO), Maureen (Director-Training) and other senior staff started with how humbled they are to address the 2011 batch. Wow! The effort they take to interact with all of us and eliminate the power distance. They felt bad when they hadn't all of our 100+ names already.
There is excitement, fun and spontaneity. At the end of a session one night, the whole cohort broke out into an impromptu dance. Our sessions are super enjoyable. In every session, we do plenty of chants, exercises, drum-rolls and finger clicking. We throw around balls in the huge classroom. The efforts to build teamwork, collaboration, belief and optimism have borne fruits. In our respective PM (Program Manager) groups, we have shared our deep and difficult life stories with people we have known only for 2-3 days. As a result, our group is so much closer.
One fine day, we were divided into groups and thrown out somewhere in the city to earn Rs.25 per person. Teamwork and optimism was showcased there. My discomfort and slight skepticism was overcome when I saw a bunch of co-fellows just going out there and pressing clothes and washing cars. That night, we performed a skit and injected humour into the experience.
One phrase that has entered our vocabulary is 'sense of possibility.' I don't think that it was epitomized more when we saw the kids from an Akanksha school. They had studied 11 years under Anjali didi and came from very poor and difficult backgrounds. Their English fluency was astonishing. Even more jaw-dropping was their confidence and their dreams. They spoke about themselves, their families, their transformation, their didi and the change that they'll bring. I think all of us learnt a lot from that session. What we also learnt were some cool dance moves. All of us danced to the tunes of one of the girls, who is a choreographer. :)
P.S - The food is excellent. *slurp*