Chetna Pawar’s journey has been a transformational one, from a coy girl to a confident teacher. She joined an Akanksha center when she was just five years old. Chetna finished her grade 10 successfully and is now pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Arts.
She is currently teaching art lessons at the Laxmi Nagar Municipal school in Mumbai. Reminiscing about the days when she attended classes at a Mumbai Akanksha after-school center, Chetna is filled with nostalgia. She recalls those days as quite challenging yet very fascinating. Chetna remembers learning how to count using food grains like rajma (lentil) and playing games to solve math problems. Her teachers would come up with innovative teaching methods and she would find that very interesting. As a student, she used to look forward to her classes especially going on field trips. “My teachers introduced me to a whole new world where I could read and talk in English. I learned so many new English words” she says. Recalling some of her fond memories, Chetna says “I remember an essay writing session after Diwali, where we were supposed to read out our essays to the class. Being a shy person, it was a task for me to talk in front of people, but my teacher- Chitra didi, really motivated me and she praised my essay writing too. I remember that day very well as I felt really happy, inspired and that boosted my confidence. I have changed as a person and I can talk to people with ease now and make friends too!”
Being a first-generation English learner, Chetna says, “Even though my parents are not educated, they wanted me to go to school. My father used to give me a chocolate every time he heard me speaking in English and my parents feel extremely proud of me now.”
Chetna picked up art as a hobby in her childhood days when she found herself doodling, sketching and scribbling in her free time. She enlivens her class when she teaches art to her students at the school. She has come a long way as she has learnt how to make lesson plans, manage the class and get children to focus. It has been a learning experience for her and the support she receives from other teachers is great. “What really drives me is the fact that kids really wait eagerly for my class. They look forward to my art lessons and I love teaching them,” she beams.
Chetna wants her students to express themselves through art and to explore their potential. “I want my students to dream big and achieve their dreams, just like I did!”