If you are thinking "Look..she is blowing her own trumpet now!", yes I AM! :)
Before you start shaking your heads and reach for the close button wait! First listen to me! I know after you are done reading, you will pat my back too! That's something I can guarantee 100%. Ab stamp paper par likh kar doon kya? :)
So the thing is I've been teaching my maid, who does our utensils, to read and write in English as well as do basic numbers work. Its been about 2 months now. Probably a little more than that. I manage to teach her about 3 times a week on an average. And now I can proudly say that she can easily read and pronounce correctly the 3 letter words! Yippee!!!
She can also read numbers in hundreds! Yippee!!
I think she has done a great job in learning and grasping things. Especially looking at my teaching methods. It was a first time for me too when it comes to teaching. I had to do a refresher in the phonetics myself when teaching her. And but of course we had Anirudh who would always give his 2 cents whenever she would pronounce a letter wrong or write it wrong :)
So how did I start about teaching her? She herself came forward one evening and asked me "Didi, aap mujhe English likhna aur padhna sikhayoge? Mera bhi seekhne ka mann hai." I said "Haan bilkul. Par mann laga kar karna padega. Yeh nahi ki 6 din mein bore ho kar chhod diya." She nodded her head with so much conviction, that I agreed. I agreed despite the fact that I reach home only around 6:45 - 7 pm.
A little bit about her. Her name is Arti. She is actually the daughter of my maid. She is the eldest amongst her sisters. They are 4 sisters. She studied only for a year. Her parents took her out of school when their financial condition was bad. My maid's husband was jobless. He is a very decent guy. Doesn't smoke or drink and neither is of the types who beat their wife and children. He tried to get jobs here and there but to no avail. Finally he got a job as a rickshaw puller. But he would sometimes not even make 200-250 in a month coz he would drive the rickshaw on rent and would have to give major chunk of the earnings as rent. So she asked us if we can give him the work of cleaning our car. We agreed and gave both our cars to him. That way at least his fixed income would be 300 per month besides the money he would make from the odd jobs. Slowly he got more such car cleaning jobs and now just by cleaning cars he makes more than 2000 a month. So as a family they manage to make about 5000 per month. And over the time instead of my maid, her girl, this girl 'Arti' that I'm talking about, took over the job at my place. Its been almost a year since she has been coming to our house. I've always been fond of her and she knows it. Probably that is why she could get herself to request me for teaching her. She probably knew I won't say no.
Before starting to teach her I asked her why she wants to learn reading and writing. She replied, "Meri chhoti bahno ko bhi aata hai. Mujhe bhi seekhna hai." She went on to tell me that her sisters go to school but she cannot as she has to help out her mother in earning. I felt a bit sad but then this is reality. I decided that I will even sponsor stationery for her. So slowly and slowly we started from alphabet, to numbers to pronunciations and now to 3 letter words. And how she has progressed in these 2.5 - 3 months, I'm really happy about it.
It actually gives me dual happiness. One, she is on the path of being a literate. Second, I feel a little satisfied that I've been able to help in making someone literate. I do not feel wasted doing just our own things. I know we still have a long way to go but being able to read and write 3 letter words as well as the numbers is a milestone in itself.
Now I've to think of something to award her for her efforts. Probably I will ask her only what she wants :)