London-based Teenager Spends Summer Holiday Teaching Conversational English in Govt School in Kolkata
15 years old Aratrika Lahiri is in 10th grade in a school in London but right now she is busy teaching students in Kolkata Barisha Janakalysn Vidyapith for girls which has most of the children from underprivileged backgrounds.
Aratrika has grown up in London but her parents are Indians. She comes to India often in the summer holidays but this time round, the 15-year-old decided to utilize this time to teach conversational English to students who are not fluent in the language.
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When Aratrika expressed her desire of spending the summer holiday teaching English to government school students, her mother Arundhuti Lahiri gave her the contact of the headmistress of this school. Aratrika reached out to the head of this school and expressed her desire. Sharmila Sengupta headmistress of this school also liked this idea and she gave her green signal.
Now for the last two weeks, Aratrika reaches this school in the morning and spends almost 5 hours teaching students from class 5 to 10.
Speaking to News18 Aratrika said, “I wanted to do something in summer holiday which can be fruitful so I made this plan and got help from the school, on the first day I made worksheet and came to school but then I realized that it’s the practical conversation that is required. They can read but can’t speak properly. They have a huge interest in this subject and their reaction says it all. Now when I see them speaking English breaking their shyness it gives me immense pleasure.”
After a positive response, the teenager is set o teach students of classes 11 to 12.
Sharmila Sengupta headmistress of this Barisha school speaking to News18 says, “When she approached us we thought it’s a good idea and in our school we want our students to get exposure to the outside world. We spoke a couple of times and before she started off the class, I made her understand how to go about it. She was teaching her own age group and some of them are even older than her. Initially, the students were not aware of her age, but when they came to know that she is of the same age they took it the right way. I must say Aratrika is very sincere and hardworking and in the last two weeks we can see the difference. Aratrika di is famous in school now.”
Aratrika wants to take this forward, she plans to start an online storytelling session in collaboration with this school. She has planned that she and her friends will fix one time and they will read English stories to these children.
She will finish her teaching this week and Aratrika says she will be missing her students. She also said, “I have realized their hardship, I go to school by tube and by a car that is AC still at times I complain, but one day I saw in this scorching heat one student was carried by her parent in a bike. A lot of them face hardship at home too. I really want them to excel.”
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