Waking up before dawn, preparing the family meal, making sure her husband has everything he requires for the long workday at the post office, caring for her children. This is the life of a typical wife from a lower income household.
Muktangan Teacher Educator; Chhaya Jadhav spent seven years in this environment. Having completed a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and getting married soon after, Chhaya knew little of the world outside the four walls of her home. As a mother of two, her family insisted that she give up on any hopes of a professional career and focus her energy more on raising her children.
An opportunity arose when a neighbor’s visit, informed her of a recruitment programme being conducted for teacher trainees by a non-profit run, education project called Muktangan. Chhaya curious, passionate about teaching and looking for an opportunity to connect with the outer world enrolled immediately.
At first, her family was not entirely pleased with her decision, even so, they did not stop her; their only condition being that she ensure that her work does not interfere with her duties at home. Excited Chhaya underwent, what was at that time Muktangan’s six-month teacher education programme. Being an English medium, activity-based schooling model, supported by the BMC; Chhaya and her batchmates underwent a rigorous training in spoken and written English, lesson preparation, classroom management, empathetic teaching, and child development. All transacted through seasoned educators qualified in school education philosophy and classroom pedagogy.
2005 – 2006
Chhaya began her career at Muktangan as a primary teacher. From the start Chhaya showed an immense passion for her work, she was sincere, dedicated, well organized and always ready and curious to learn. At first, the Muktangan’s Active Constructive methods of teaching did not quite resonate with her considering her own traditional educational background. However, she soon began to understand the theory and the impact of her classroom routines on her students, they seemed to be progressing quickly. Chhaya truly believed the children and their learning were her responsibility and as such conducted every lesson with diligence and skill, her own confidence as an educator growing simultaneously. After reviewing her progress in the classroom, her ability to work with other teachers and her focus that resonated Muktangan’s own goal; providing quality education to each and every child. Chhaya was encouraged into the role of a school facilitator a year later.
2007 – 2017
When Muktangan at the behest of the MCGM and the local community grew to six additional schools, Chhaya was once again called on to head one of these newly established MPS schools. The new demanding position included additional responsibilities of connecting with the community, engaging and counseling parents, keeping the team together in the face of resource constraints. The role also included working collaboratively with the MCGM staff; who still perceived an NGO run programmes as alien and to be held apart from regular school functioning. Her strong leadership and discipline ensured quality not only in the teaching process but also effective and efficient school management thus earning well-deserved acceptance and support from her colleagues and mentors.
“We worked as a team, there was just us and the job, and we had to ensure it was done well”.
Chhaya has held the position of school’s head at Muktangan’s Prabhadevi and Love Grove MPS schools between 2007 to 2016 and also headed the Muktangan pilot, Globe Mill Passage Secondary school in 2017. “It was a brand-new challenge working with teenagers, but our pastoral care sessions with the socio-emotional department really supported us and helped understand our students better” Chhaya recalls when speaking about the various internal and external learning forums she was encouraged to participate in by the programme’s management team.
Chhaya currently holds a Graduate Degree in Education and with her first-hand experience of the Muktangan model; she has successfully co-conducted training programmes for educators at various levels, outside Muktangan, as part of its ELDP and ACOTE outreach projects. Today, Chhaya holds yet another exciting position as a subject faculty at Muktangan’s pre-service teacher education centre. Her experience from 12 years of serving at various levels of schooling has made her well versed in the theoretical and practical aspects of the model’s education processes. Her colleagues find her insightful classroom applications of theoretical models an asset and her student teachers find her an inspirational mentor. Chhaya is the embodiment of the best of what Muktangan has to offer and as such she has represented the Model at a number of symposiums…