Being Sanjay’s guiding light along the tunnel

Being Sanjay’s guiding light along the tunnel

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Nazar Mohammad, a grade three teacher, used to be very strict with his students. He was new to the field of academics but he really enjoyed teaching and loved his students. One day at school, his students were being particularly rowdy. Frustrated with the students being unmanageable, he started yelling at his students. That scared them a little and after five long minutes of silence, Nazar stood at the front of the class saying,

The only child interested in learning in this class is this young boy here. He is the only one who says ‘Wow, that’s interesting’.

Nazar was pointing at his student named Sanjay.

Being made an example for the entire class, Sanjay felt very motivated. This was the power of validation. Sanjay did love studying and his teacher acknowledged that.

After a few months though, Nazar noticed that Sanjay had stopped coming to school. After inquiring, he learned that Sanjay had started working at a cobbler’s shop to support his family with their household expenses. Sanjay’s father was also a good acquaintance of Nazar, so he asked him why he would make his son to work at a cobbler’s shop when he would have the capacity to earn a much better livelihood if he would complete his education.

Such simple words were all that was needed to make Sanjay’s father reconsider his decision of making Sanjay work at such a young age. He remembered Nazar’s words,

Trust your child.

Mr. Nazar continued to question and speculate Sanjay’s father about the reasons behind making his son work at this age. He also feared that his questioning may offend the father but it did not stop him from pressing him to change his mind. After a long silence, Sanjay’s father,

I can only send Sanjay to study in the evening if you are willing to teach him at that time.

Nazar replied with a sure ‘yes’.

I will teach him in the evening.

After many years of evening schooling with Nazar, Sanjay completed his primary and secondary education. HE also continued to complete his college and attained a bachelor’s degree from a university too. Both Sanjay and Nazar struggled along the way, but Mr. Nazar did not give up on Sanjay. He consistently motivated and mentored Sanjay until he became a doctor one day.

Sanjay is now a certified practicing doctor in Karachi. Nazar happily shares,

I am proud of Sanjay. It is all just because of his hard work and commitment that he has achieved all of this. Us teachers have to light up the way for our students even at times of difficulties, it is our duty to ensure they do not give up.

However Nazar was not the part of this project at that time but due to his disability he possesses empathy to provide equal opportunity to those children who are away from education Mr. Nazar is associated with Community World Service Asia for one year in Education project which mainly aims on Early childhood Care and Education its focus, hence, is on catering to overall child development rather than academic readiness or cognitive development alone. However, ensuring quality benchmark parameters in preschools undoubtedly aims at upscaling standards through standardization. Unfortunately, when it comes to local customization and administering a curriculum tailored to suit the specific learning needs of a child, standardization of curriculum might come as a challenge. It, however, does not mean focusing on academics alone but paying equal attention to developing life-skills, offering fun-based exploratory learning activities to the child during his formative years. It defends and promotes the rights of children to education, care and supports activities improving accessibility to high-quality education and care. Nazar was assigned in another class but after receiving training on Early Childhood Care and Education he decided to conduct ECCE class due to its arising challenges and finding it most crowded among other classes with the enrollment of 70-80 students.

I was hesitant to attend any training because of the expected behavior of dealing with disabled people. But the way, the team treated me with respect and gave me equal opportunity to participate in each activity with others. To be seen not as a disable individual to do something, but as a normal person to participate, learn and grow. It motivated me to attend more training and take ECCE class in school because managing a room full of young children can be delightful, but it can also be hard and can drain a lot of your energy. The day-to-day challenges you will face can range from dealing with difficult behaviors to crying and cranky children. Throughout the day, you must balance all of their unique needs to keep your classroom functioning smoothly.

said Nazar.