I have some down time in between flying out of Mumbai for performances, and got it in my head one day that I should be teaching. I didn’t think through it – I just went out and did it! There were so many children in my neighborhood that were under-schooled (or un-schooled). Education is highly valued here, but it is also expensive.
So I looked up how to say “I am a teacher” in Hindi, and went out into the streets to invite any children I saw to come to the grounds of my apartment building the next morning for lessons.
The first day, two girls came. And a crowd of bystanders.
The next day, over a dozen kids.
The day after that, I was invited to use the courtyard of the temple in the housing project next door. From there, it has grown and grown! On any given day, I have 30-40 students coming, and we work on English conversation skills, reading, math, do science experiments, and sing songs. Some kids are even staying after regular class time to learn American Sign Language and German.
Six days a week, I spend my entire morning with these kids. I may be the teacher, but they have taught me more about perseverance, generosity, and life than I could ever hope to teach them.
I may spend my evenings wearing a ball gown and tiara, but sitting on the ground and working with these kids on phonics and physics is the real reason I came to India. I just didn’t know it until now!