“It’s All About the Trainees”
By Katja Polc
An early morning. Days are slowly becoming more pleasant and I love the blast of freshness in the air which helps me to get out of the bed. My day starts with the usual first morning voice of our very own vegetable-seller who shouts on top of his lung in a dynamic tone to attract as many customers as he can and then of course there are the “Yoga-people” clapping in the park behind my house. It′s India!
But the real start of my day begins on my way to work. It seems as if I am the only one on the metro who is still yawning and have pimples on her face.
After the metro ride, I walk towards ETASHA′s centre. Everyday walk from the metro station to the centre makes me realize that this is one of my favourite places in Delhi. This place touches me every time and sometimes I think that maybe it is aimed to make me understand life here.
When I walk on the bridge of the stream that I cross to reach work, I know that I love this country.
Usually people hate this bridge, because it is the reason for a huge traffic jam every single day, upon which you cannot even walk. It is beautiful not only to see how people take charge to resolve this obstacle on their own, but also to see a huge social and cultural diversity in such a small space. I see “time machine” – past, present and future everywhere around me. Sometimes I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.
Once I reach the centre, every day is a new day. All my colleagues say “Good morning” and it really is.
The day starts with natural smiles, some chit chats and the necessary morning tea. I feel positive energy but nothing can beat the energy from the trainees. It is all about the trainees.
As a volunteer, I’m taking the conversation classes which give me a sense of freedom and a possibility to understand more deeply about these young heads. There is no good or bad batch; it is just what you give when you enter the class.
In the class it is all about the talk. With different methods like group discussion, role plays on real life situations, verbal presentations and games, we try to make our classes a little bit different and most importantly, create an environment to speak in English. The fact that I do not speak Hindi at all helps me to meet the purpose naturally although sometimes it is not smooth. From time to time I research for a good topic which encourages trainees to speak, but every time I get inspiration directly from them.
I have learned from many facilitators that it is not just about taking a class, it is about taking a good class and that is what makes your work life adventurous every day. It is so nice to see that after a while trainees have started to enjoy. Sometimes they leave the centre later than they usually do and with a smile on their face, and that is what makes my day simply complete.
There is no greater happiness than when you see that the trainees are learning and improving. Each one is a story. There is no doubt that they are working really hard, and I believe that “Direct Methodology” has made an effective impact that trainees have started speaking English really quickly.
Teaching has been a learning experience for me – an experience that has taught me how important it is to be unconditionally present and to be yourself if you want to take a good class.
It is important to have passion and a wish to learn – that is the real learning process and that is what I fell in these classrooms.
This experience is changing my view on many things. I found happiness in working long hours and in daily routines in Delhi. It is a good feeling that you don’t have to run all the time. And this is what I wish for myself – to feel content in my work life, where I do not feel that I am going on work, where I have friends and most importantly, where my work becomes meaningful and a way of living. I have found a part of that kind of work at ETASHA.
About the author: Katja Polc is EVS volunteer (July 2014 – January 2015 ) at ETASHA Society.