Many drops make an ocean is a thought that stresses on the importance of small purposeful steps in order to reach a greater goal. As I sit down to write, it starts raining and slowly the tiny drops of rain forms small streams and small little puddles across the earth as the thirsty land quenches its long sustained thirst. As people are facing drought in many parts of the country, one wonders of how efforts to conserve rain water could positively impact their lives.
I want to share an experience of a little boy in one of the classes that I taught. Lets call him M. So M is this cute little fellow who is not going to grow any taller. While his classmates stand high and tall, he walks in and out of the class room almost unseen. When I enter the class, its his regular habit to hide beneath the desk. I ask,is he absent and he triumphantly pops up from beneath the desk to take his place. He is in 10th. He is a sharp fellow, who excels at academics. His friends though find him cute and sometimes use him for entertainment. Somebody knuckles on his head, another would pull his shirt and he would be teased and tossed across the class. Brave as he was he would smilingly endure the bullying, he needed his friends. He also knew they did not mean him any harm.
As days went by,I often got many occasion to test his speaking and reading skills. Increasingly, I felt impressed by his ability to enact roles effectively, read a poem or prose well, conduct a show etc. I could see that he too was steadily gaining confidence.Now his friends were milder in teasing him and often asked him for suggestions when it came to language. He was enjoying his new found status.
In the meanwhile, I quit my job as a teacher and moved on to do Content Management. When I visited the school a few months later, my students surrounded me. Somebody wanted a hug, someone wanted me to listen to his achievements, another told me of her results in the exams but together they chorused, Mam you know what, M gave such a good speech in the assembly.You should have been there to listen to him. That is what I cherished the most. When I looked around, M looked at me with pride in his eyes.
I have often experienced how small achievements can add levels of confidence to an individual, especially youngsters. Language teaching is an effective tool in enhancing self confidence and self esteem of students. There is so much that can be done in a language class room, activities and events that can be planned to leave an indelible mark on the students mind.
One of the boys had come running to tell me that winning the first prize in street play competition at another school was the first ever achievement in his life. Surely, it cannot be so. But the boy attached so much importance to the event and eventually went on to hold a leadership position in the school. That’s one reason why I believe schools should stress less on number of stories or plays or poems taught but should instead focus on making every day in the class room a memorable experience.
When I asked my 12th standard students to interpret the word “Voice” in different ways, I was more than impressed by the numerous thoughts and ideas that they brought into play in the classroom. A group envisioned voice as the struggle between the good and evil in the conscience, another thought of loss of voice. The variety of interpretations and depth in presentation, the group synergy, the understanding of social issues and events would put to rest any doubt one might have of the indifference of today’s youth, a common grouse among us adults.
Many drops does make an ocean, indeed, small sustained efforts at building something whether it is a bank balance or a reputation or developing a new skill or learning a new language can all be fruitful in the end. The challenge is to be at the task day after day, without losing one’s interest or compromising on one’s commitment.
Like Pamela and Anil Malhotra who bought 55 acres of barren land 23 years ago and nurtured it into a living,breathing forest teeming with wild life. Like Manjhi who carved a path through the hills over a period of 22 years so that the villagers can get easy medical attention after the tragic death of his wife. Like Sachin Tendulkar, the cricket super god, who according to Harsha Bhogle played 55 games as a 14 year old without a break for 55 days.He practiced for 2 hours, played a game and practiced for another 2 hours and fell asleep on the dining table. And to do that for 55 days! That’s what made him the champion that he is. Or like Sania Mirza, whom India loved to hate and then loved all the more because there was no other go, her talent and her hard work made her the leading doubles player with Martina Hingis and the nation had to adore her.Or like Leander Paes and so many others.
The path to success in laid out in small steps of determination and grit.