Engagement

AZEEM SARWAR - ENGAGEMENT

I belong to district Sheikhupura. I have been engaged with the Program DOSTI as a teacher since 2018 in Government Elementary School Farooqabad. The first impression of the program was just like a burden and additional work to do in an already tight schedule. DOSTI requirement was to behavior shift in oneself first, if aiming to see the growing number of students.

My mind flipped when I learned about the program in detail. I realized that the program had the right approach when it came to retention and enrollment, the approach I always wanted to be applied but failed to express my thoughts everytime. After the first week of DOSTI, I witnessed early signs of changed behavior in my students. The new and improved learning environment, where the students felt they could completely trust me instead of fearing me, had a wonderful impact even during the regular lesson. My students started sharing their problems with me without any hesitation and asked questions to improve their understanding of concepts. Before they felt afraid of raising their hand in class to ask questions, which was in large part due to my strict and dismissive attitude. I realized this adversely affected the students and most times resulted in them not having clarity of concepts taught to them.

DOSTI Sports sessions have provided our students with extracurricular activities that help them in keeping fit and active, both physically and mentally. My favorite part are DOSTI stories, they have helped our students learn basic manners/ethic and adopt positive behaviors by following in the footsteps of DOSTI characters. I must admit, DOSTI stories are a very effective tool in inculcating these much-needed values in younger students. Through DOSTI the interest of our students has increased in school, this is not restricted to just the sports sessions but also extends to regular classes. This is in large part due to the shift in our behavior as teachers. Even students who are not enrolled in our school have heard about the learning environment in GES Farooqabad, and we have attracted many fresh enrollments. We are also working towards minimizing the gap between our school and parents, as we think the key to ensuring regular attendance in school is to maintain a good relationship with parents and to keep them informed of the activities in school. We plan on hosting regular parent-teacher meetings and also continue to involve them in school-level sports competitions as guests. I am glad I did not stubbornly stick my initial stance about DOSTI, as it has made my workday a lot more enjoyable and brought me closer to my students.