The MAD Experience

We’ve all heard about lack of English skills and knowledge among people and children. We’ve all talked about it. But how many of us have taken a step to change it? I decided to take the first step towards change. I decided to do it the MAD way.

Make a Difference [MAD] is a voluntary organisation where people from different walks of life, come together to teach kids aged 8 – 14 years Basic English. The diversity in volunteers at MAD is amazing and it was a great opportunity to meet such people. Before the reality of it could sink in, the time soon came for my first MAD class.

It was in a shelter home called THE CHILDREN HOME in Injambakkam. I knew little about teaching.I also knew I had a tough task ahead of me. But what I didn’t know was how hyper the children I was about to tutor could get. I did not have a co- teacher the first few weeks to help me out with these tots. They would just fly off the handle when it was time for the class to start. I was at loss as to what to do. My anger overwhelmed me. I literally shouted at my kids, refused to teach them and also sent them out of class. I was not happy with myself – I felt like a total failure. My colleagues supported me a lot and guided me but my anger did not reduce with each passing class. I failed to bond with my kids.  They, being cleverer, provoked me more with each class. Finally it was time for my co-teacher to join me.

My co-teacher, being a male, was able to create a fast bond with the boys who were the hardest to handle. I had control over the girls. I was awed at the way my co- teacher handled the class. I respected him and admired him. He was my role model. Slowly with a lot of his support, I was able to take control over my anger. After 3 long months, I was finally able to create a bond with my kids, specially the boys. There was just one small problem.

The girls began to rebel. There was competition at every stage, starting from the reward points to the PAT scores; they would hate me, accuse me, and throw abuses if the boys got even 0.5 marks more than them. But I knew it was just a matter of time before they understood their mistakes and worked hard.

I never imagined that I would be teaching, would enjoy it, would adore the kids and more than anything look forward to those 2 hours every week. I still have a problem with one of my girls. I know it’s a matter of time before I overcome that and win the heart of all my kids equally.

MAD has become a very important part of my life. The kids have become the MOST important to me. MAD has created an impact that makes me want to go to any extent to make sure my kids get the BEST education they deserve. As part of MAD, I’ve seen myself growing along with my kids. I’ve seen myself improve as a teacher and seen the improvement in my students. I just need to push them one step more to get to the top. I have complete faith they will make it. This is what MAD and MAD class is all about, the kids!

The MAD experience is the most amazing experience one can have.  I’m a proud MADster!