1st & 2nd graders with teacher Jyoti Pant

Classroom Challenges: Frustration to Fruition

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1st & 2nd graders learning in groups, with teacher Jyoti Pantphoto by: John
I was very excited when in April 2010 I decided to teach first and second grade. I had many ideas in my mind.

The very first day when I entered the classroom the smiling faces of children made me very happy. I saw that I had 21 students and most of them were either new or from the government schools.

Through various activities, I was able to find out about the different learning levels of kids. I realized that some kids were very good at studies but others did not even know the alphabet. I had a hard time deciding where to start from and how to mold their behavior—if I turned away for a moment, they would start fighting.

In the beginning, they had no feeling of mutual friendship. Often I would get frustrated and almost decide to quit the class. However, my love for these little ones would pull me back. It was this love that finally gave me success.

Today I am happy with these children and can introduce new activities with ease. I have some very intelligent and sensitive kids in the second grade; when I got disturbed and sat in meditation, they would get the rest of the class to calm down. Within seconds, the whole class would sit in meditation. This inspired me tremendously.

I made groups of children with a bright and friendly second grader as a leader. After this, most of the learning started happening in the groups. Slowly my class began to settle down and children started becoming self-learners.

Sometimes the first graders pick up a new concept faster than some second graders. The first graders then teach the second graders without any sense of ego.

Jyoti Pant | Jyoti teaches class 1 & 2 at APV. Translated from Hindi by Anand Dwivedi.