Thursday, December 31, 2020

Impact of Togetherness: Manzil Teachers’ Meeting

Teachers and Mentors

Teachers are the pillars of Manzil. All of our 40 teachers adapted in the best possible ways during the pandemic to educate their students. Our Teachers' Meeting became one place to share such learnings and challenges, be together every month.  
Before COVID-19, Manzil used to have face to face meetings during which teachers would come and share their learnings and challenges. These meetings were all about sharing new learnings and practices in the classroom. COVID-19 forced us to shift to an online platform that came to us as a blessing, in disguise.

The first meeting, which was moderated brilliantly by Ravi Bhaiya, our founder, went well. Since it is quite hard to listen to 40 teachers at the same time, he used the ‘Zoom’s Breakout room’ feature through which it became easier to listen to each teacher.

In the first meeting, our goal was to understand our teachers’ feelings due to Covid-19 situation, challenges they were facing in their personal lives and also in the classroom. The teachers shared their emotions and challenges enthusiastically. Ravi Bhaiya explained the situation, also encouraged and appreciated their determination to teach in such challenging times. The meeting was so inspiring and insightful that the teachers requested to have such meetings twice a month.

With teachers showing such great interest, Manzil is now conducting the teacher meeting twice a month, on every first and second Saturday, Manzil invites an inspirational guest to share his/her life journey and to have a dialogue to motivate the teachers. These meetings have been transformed into a learning opportunity for all teachers. It is a platform for them to grow and develop. 

Manzil has a pre-primary school too in Kotla, whose Teachers have also been attending these meetings and have got to know other teachers as well as their learnings. In a way, these virtual teacher meetings have brought everyone closer.

Given below are a few testimonies to our resourceful workshops:

Teachers were educated about Covid-19, what precautions to take and how to deal with the pandemic in a better way.

There was a session on resilience and all the teachers loved it.The teachers learnt what resilience meant, how to become resilient and how resilience can be practiced in the classroom.

Our Theatre team also arranged a session on mime which mainly involves hand and facial expressions. Through this, we learnt that sometimes we have to explain things by using expressions and by acting so that our students’ learning becomes more effective.
Ankit-a mime artist
We also had a session on Preamble of our constitution by an organisation called We the People. It was a very informative session as we got to know about equality, equity and liberty. 

Jyoti Shivlal, one of our teachers, shares her learnings from the teachers meetings, “First of all, I would like to thank Manzil and Himanshu Bhaiya (Mathematics and Science Coordinator) for giving me the opportunity to become a teacher and inviting me to the Teachers Meeting. I have learnt a lot of valuable things from these meetings and my teaching skills have also improved a lot.
Teachers Doing Mime
I have learnt to speak in public gatherings. Also, I have learnt how to share our problems with each other and how to find solutions to each problem. Working as a team with our fellow teachers and learning not to be angry on small things were some more takeaways from these meetings”.

One of our Kotla teachers, Uma ji, shares, “After coming to these meetings, I met and learnt with new people which helped me not to procrastinate, but prioritize my work. Laughing or making someone laugh without saying anything, is what I learnt through the mime activity which further helped me teach my students. I learnt how to balance my life through these meetings. While learning through these classes, I also managed to take out time for my learning. My confidence has also increased which motivates me to learn something new which I can share with my students.

Some other teachers also shared their experiences on how they implemented their learnings with their students here:

Megha, taking session on Resilience
Aarti Bhatt, one of Manzil’s youngest teachers who has just cleared her 12th class exam, says that before this meeting she was used to getting stressed easily, but after attending these meetings, she feels more positive and motivated. She further shares that she took the preamble session's learnings to her classes and asked her students about the constitution and the preamble. She also told them to research and share how equity and equality are different from one another.

A screenshot of Zoom Chat 
Jyoti Bisht also shared her learnings about liberty with her students. She told them that everyone has the liberty to express their thoughts in order to make his/her learning more effective. 

Jyoti Takia and Aman Raj Singh who teach English also included the Mime session’s learnings in their classes. They noticed a significant change in the environment of the class. The students are now full of energy and seem to pay more attention in class. 

Earlier some teachers were not able to attend our face to face meetings, but virtual meetings have made it possible for everyone to attend these meetings. Also we virtually celebrated our teachers day this year with a special guest professor Anil Gupta (IIM Ahmedabad) which you can read more about in the next article of this edition.

As Ravi Bhaiya says, “You teach who you are''. Teacher meetings are an opportunity to learn and unlearn from teachers, cross pollination of ideas and learning from each other.

Written by Vandana Arya and Aman Raj Singh (Manzil Teachers and Newsletter Members)
Edited by 
Devina Singh and Vaibhav Sharma (Manzil Volunteers)

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