Shree Bharathi Vidyalaya is a small school in Vijayanagar, Bangalore, with about 550 students in its pre-kindergarten to 10th standard, attended by lower-middle and middle class children. It is the tenth academic year of the school, and three batches of SSLC have passed out with exemplary results.
The school has been successful in attracting luminaries from different fields to interact with the teachers and children regularly. Here are a few examples.
Dr. Sharada Jayagovind is the HOD Professor of English, Govt. College, Vijayanagar, Bangalore. She has been teaching select English poems to high school children from the inception of the school. Recently, the social studies teacher sought help in grasping concepts of Supreme Court and High Courts of India. Prof. Dr. A. Jayagovind, former Vice Chancellor of National Law School of India University (NLSUI), taught the topic to children in a few sessions. Karthik Jayagovind, son of Dr. A. Jayagovind and Dr. Sharada Jayagovind interacts with the teachers and children regularly on various matters. Now he spends Saturdays with a few children of class 10 needing some confidence building and coaching in some subjects to face the examination. Kartik has an MBA from the reputed National Institute of Industrial Engineering in addition to an engineering degree. He works as Channel Sales Manager at Oracle. Here is a whole family involved with the academic activities of the school.
Dr. Usha Vasthare has been a resident of USA for about 30 years. She had been a faculty in the Temple School of Medicine, Temple University, USA, teaching in her field of expertise – Brain & Brain disorders. She has also been a research coordinator at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. She has published several books and research papers and has won awards for her services. She has now dedicated her life for social causes through Yogakshema Rehabilitation and Wellness Centre that she founded about 5 years ago. Dr. Vasthare has been regularly visiting Bharathiya Vidyalaya, and has conducted several workshops for the teachers and students on Mindful Living and Managing Stress. This is in addition to helping with personal counseling to a few needy parents and teachers of the school.
In March 2010 Scott Speegle came to India and spent 20 months before returning to the USA. Scott has worked for “Obama for America” for 15 months and is now back with that organisation, working for the next presidential elections. During his stay in Bangalore, Scott visited Bharathi Vidyalaya once a fortnight and taught children. Children loved his classes. His linked-in profile says:
Volunteer Teacher, Shree Bharathi Vidyalaya School
March 2010 – October 2011 (1 year 8 months)
Teach American History and Decision Making/Problem Solving to students in 5th through 10th Standard
After retiring from IISc., Prof. Simhadri chose to teach school children. He visits different schools and is regular at Bharathi Vidyalaya. He enters any class – 1st to 10th standard – and spends a period demystifying the subject being taught. Children swarm around him like bees around honeycomb. It is a treat to sit in his classes.
After spending more than a decade in the US, Shanthala Damle returned to Bangalore. She started teaching discipline of thinking and problem solving skills to her niece using The Six Thinking Hats techniques. Now she teaches the technique to the children of Bharathi Vidyalaya.
There are other schools that encourage people from different fields to visit and interact with students and teachers. For the children, these are unique opportunities to meet and learn from the learned. The exposure will remain as wonderful experience in their memories through their lives. For us, it is an opportunity leading to very satisfying experience. It makes us study a few things and present it at the level of the children. If not academically inclined, we can help the schools in extra-curricular activities – sports and cultural. There are some who teach dance and music as voluntary work.
Many of us come from smaller towns and villages. When we visit those places, we can visit our old schools and other schools in the neighbourhood to cheer the staff and students. There are many who visit temples when they go to their native places. Let us include the Temples of Learning in these visits.
Try this – individually and as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of your organisation. I shall be glad to share my ideas on what we can do at schools.