To celebrate and explore the potential of student leadership, Teach For All is collecting and sharing stories from across the network and around the globe. When students LEAD, we all LEARN.

Teach For India

In the process of bridging the learning gap prevailing in the 6th Grade classroom

Student Leaders
Names - Payal Wagh, Sunny Bind, Nishiganda Waykar, Preeti Sharma and Nusba Shaikh, School - PCMC Shivaji Maharaj English Medium School.
Adult Supporter
Po Fong Chiu
Age of Students
Age: Payal - 11, Sunny - 13, Nishiganda - 11, Preeti - 11 and Nusba - 12. Grade - 6

Please describe how your students exercised their leadership and the impact they had.

Few of my co-fellow's (Harshad Tathed) and my high performing kids were aware of the wide learning gap prevalent among their peers in the same class since they were 5th graders, however they were clueless of how they can leverage their strengths to help their high potential classmates to be at par in the learning level with others. They were also concerned about so many kids in their community who lack resources to attend school and they are forced to work to support their family. Our students gave them their books, stationary and even taught them during their free time. Since they had the urge to do something to bridge the learning gap, they took the ownership to help the high potential kids during the instructional hours since our students are segregated into heterogeneous groups mainly for the purpose of catering to the needs of high potential kids. They believe in teamwork and most of the time they are seen enjoying working together as a team and family. They even help and support them during their free time and whenever it's possible. They have shown the urgency in tackling this grave problem and they are doing their best to help them in every possible manner. These group of kids explain whatever they have not understood in class and clarify their doubts and even read to them to help them progress in their achievement level. They have also gone to the extent of staying back after school to mentor them in the guided reading session in extra class. They take the ownership of reaching out to me and asking me about what else they could do to help the high potential students.

The high potential kids love and respect them for what they are doing and they freely reach out to them for any help they need. These kids have shown vast improvement not only in their achievement level but also in their behavior as they now follow class rules and demonstrate class values. This group of 5 kids have exercised their leadership in true sense and are working along with the other students towards our classroom vision of integrating the values of grit, teamwork, ownership, compassion and empathy in their lives, of becoming critically and consciously aware individuals, independent, curious and enthusiastic learners and working towards ending inequality which they see around them.

What role did you play in supporting your students’ leadership?

Last academic year I signed up for ASER which is Annual Status of Education Report in which our main objective was to conduct a survey from 3rd to 8th graders belonging to the different medium schools and kids not attending school across Bhosari area and to have the following steps covered. Assess: the levels of learning.
Inform: the truth
Act: to bridge the gap.
Approximately 50% of our students had conducted the survey and they were able to assess the learning levels where shockingly only 51% of the 5th graders were able to read a grade 2 text and solve grade 2 math. The 4 students (Sunny, Preeti, Nishiganda and Preeti) delivered a presentation to inform the truth in presence of parents, teachers and students. The group of 5 kids (Sunny, Preeti, Nishiganda, Preeti and Nusba) used to gather kids to teach them during their weekends and holidays. This is how they started to help the high potential kids in their class.

They also participated in Symbiosis DTMUN and Teach for India MUN which helped them to be aware of inequality and problems people all over the world are encountering in their day to day lives.

Recently, I implemented guided reading in the extra class and these 5 students have taken responsibility of mentoring the high potential kids. Our goal is to bring the high potential kids to their grade level by the end of the year.

What did you and your students learn in this activity that will endure beyond today?

Our students have learned to integrate the values of grit, teamwork, ownership, compassion and empathy in their lives which they will exhibit throughout their lives and help show path to others. They have learned to solve problems with critical approach which makes the solution more sustainable. They have learned to become independent and curious learners making them self-driven. In the absence of teacher they take the ownership of making sure the class is doing their task, instead of whiling away their time in gibberish talks. They have learned the value of time and opportunities and seize them with their open hands.

My co-fellow and I have learned that if we just plant the seeds there would be so many happily willing to share, spread and serve creating an environment of love and peace. We have learned that every child is capable of reaching their highest potential if we instill faith and hope in them.