Twelve year old teacher goes to India

Teaching is one of my passions. My name is Manika Bhatia. I am a 12 year old girl, studying in 7th grade at North Gwinnett middle school in suburbs of Atlanta. I enjoy playing basketball, swimming, volunteering with kids, and spending time with friends and family. When I grow up, I would like to be a corporate lawyer.  But in the meantime, I am enjoying teaching.

I was vacationing in India for three weeks this summer, and wanted to do something interesting during the trip. There was a school near where I was staying in Gurgaon (suburb of New Delhi), but it was not just any school. It was a school for under privileged kids who’s parents could not afford to send them to a regular school. The 70 some students there received free books, uniforms, lunches, and more importantly a FREE education.

The person who started this school was a retired Army general, and he was the one who got me teaching these amazing kids. My family and I had actually gone to sponsor a lunch for the students, and that’s when the principal of the school took me aside and told me I would be a great volunteer teacher with some of the characteristics I have. Since I love kids and love to teach, I decide to take on the challenge.

The school started every day at 8 am and ended around 2 pm. That meant I had to wake up at 7:30am every morning, but I’m glad I did it. Each day,  the students greeted me with “Good morning ma’am.” Even though the students didn’t have many materialistic things, they certainly had a lot of discipline. I taught third, fourth, and fifth grades. I taught them everything from math, science, social studies, to Hindi and English.

One major difference which I found between schools here and schools in India was the atmosphere in which they were learning in. See, school here in the US are well constructed birck-and-mortal buildings with central air conditioning. But in India, this school was under a thatched roof separated by curtains to divide up the classes. It was extremely hot and we only had 1 fan. By the time I was done teaching, my whole body was sweating. I honestly don’t know how I managed for 3 weeks, but as I taught the students, I became  more and more comfortable with them so I didn’t really mind the heat.

Manika in India

The students were very kind and considerate always asking me, “ma’am do you need more chalk?” Or “ma’am should I get you some water?” We all did many fun things together, like going outdoors, racing, and playing traditional Indian games. We also found a way to have fun learning by solving quizzes in teams. The winning team got chocolates. I felt the older teachers were actually jealous of my learning methods because all the students wanted to be in my “fun” class.

I loved every single student at that school, but most importantly I loved the experience I got to have teaching wonderful students. The Dean of the school even told me, “You are better than any of my professional teachers!”

~ By guest blogger, Manika Bhatia, a middle school student in Atlanta who volunteered teaching at a school during her summer vacation in India. If you are interested in volunteering at this school, please call Mr JD Khurana at the Gurunanak Seva Sansthan, phone +91 93133  40478. 

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11 thoughts on “Twelve year old teacher goes to India

  1. Kudos to you Manika. We all think about ourselves but you have put others, specially the unprivileged ones before yourself.It is an example we should all follow.

  2. Very proud of you Manika that you have become such a sweet and unselfish girl,
    to recognized and shared with others that’s in need and know to appreciate. I’m sure they will remember you for those precious moment you have spent with them.
    Keep up the good work Girl!

  3. Manika is a young and talented lady. At this age she understands concepts of community giving, charity and dignity. Manika is responsible and takes up her goals very seriously. I wish her all the luck in her future endevours…

  4. Lovely article… we are so proud of you Manika. Wishing you good luck and continued wisdom for future.

  5. I am so proud of my daughter!!! She has done an outstanding job of giving back to those students who were in need &enjoying every moment sharing her knowledge.
    I am sure she will reach her goals& dream with her determination & optimisum!!!

  6. Manika Beta,

    You are making this world a better place:-) I will hope and pray that others get inspired by your selfless work and join you in your mission.
    Love always,
    Sarita Masi

  7. Dear Manika
    It is absolutely so adorable and a blessed life and moments you have given to those lucky children 🙂
    We are so proud of you and congratulations to Mansi (mom) n Kamal(dad) n Manav -your lil brother for an amazing daughter n sister like you 🙂
    You did a good job …hats off to you sweetheart !!! God bless you 🙂

  8. Manika- So proud of you and the work you did. The maturity and compassion at your age is amazing. May God bless you and May all your dreams and aspirations come true!

  9. Wow Manika! Your so generous to help these kids and I’m super proud of you! Keep up the AWESOME work!! Love, Sarika

  10. It is an honor to have watched you grow up. You have always been a beautiful smiling neighbor. You have turned into a wonderful young lady. Your parents and family have showed you a true example of love and caring for others.God Bless you and your family.

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