A day in the life of a KHOJ teacher-Expectation vs Reality

If somebody tells you that they work as a teacher,just already know that they (most likely) have a very eventful day and a life(hah).

Working as a Khoj teacher has taught me to predict the unpredictable everyday..Every morning begins with new stories,new thoughts,new challenges,new things to laugh at and new things to learn about.Here is a glimpse of what the predictable part of a day in the life of a Khoj teacher looks like ; Expectations waitforit vs Reality

Waking up 

Expectations: Even before the rays of sun hit the trees I wake up feeling refreshed and blissful, slowly setting myself up for the day and meet my students at KHOJ

Reality: Beg to the lord of the universe that it is not 5 am when the alarm rings ,but the lord of the universe is too busy to care and when you eventually spring up from the bed ,it is way past 5 am(don’t ask what time exactly) and everything is blurry  while you try to board the 6:37 Dombivali local till you eventually reach the busy yet quiet Lallubhai compound of Mankhurd and hear a ‘Hiieeeeeeeeee didi’ while half asleep

Play time

Expectations: You ask some thought provoking questions to the child about something that they have made and it leaves them with countless questions to explore

Reality: (While referring to the object that the student made using manipulatives)

Child – ‘Look what I have made didi -I love you’

Teacher- ‘ What is it called?’

Child -’ It is called the heart’

Teacher – If it is a heart why are you referring to it as ‘I love you’?’

Student-’Because you love(I love you) with a heart


 से बनायीं हुए ऑब्जेक्ट के बारे में बोलते हुए)

 स्टूडेंट- ‘दीदी मैंने क्या बनाया है -आई लव यू !’

टीचर – ‘इसको क्या बोलते हैं?’

स्टूडेंट – ‘इसको दिल बोलते है ‘

टीचर – तोह इसको दिल क्यों नहीं बोल रहे आई लव यू क्यों बोल रहे हो ?

स्टूडेंट – क्युकी आई  लव यू दिल से करते ना ?


Expectation: You introduce a new musical instrument in the class.Everybody is awed by it,they handle the instrument with love and patience.All of us are amazed by the beauty of Music

Reality: After demonstrating precisely 30 secs of patience(they are trying really hard believe me) the instrument has been snatched and has travelled to god knows whom.From the end of the classroom a child has been sitting aside sad that his turn did not come up.

Circle time-(Social emotional learning circle)

Expectations: Children probably will take time to identify their exact emotions.After all it is a skill that is built eventually

Reality : Teacher: ‘Divya how are you feeling?’

DIvya- *Stares blankly at me*

Teacher- ‘I think you are angry about something’

Joey- ‘Nooo didi,she is sad look at her expressions 

Divya – Yesssssss

Teacher- *Smiles awkwardly* ‘Oh okay

टीचर – दिव्या तुम्हें आज कैसा लग रहा है ?

दिव्या – * टीचर तरफ बिना कोई हावभाव के देखती है *

टीचर – “मुझे ऐसा लग रहा है तुम्हें गुस्सा महसूस  है ?’

दूसरा स्टूडेंट – “नहीं दीदी आप ठीक से देखो उसको सैड लग रहा है !’

दिव्या -‘ हाँ दीदी!’

टीचर -ओह !ओके !

Lunch time

Expectation: Everyone brings healthy food in class.You pick out  a fruit from your bag and start eating with your students


Everyone brings healthy food in class.There is nothing in your bag and you are super hungry so you quickly grab some junk snacks and try to eat it without anyone taking notice when  a student takes notice, makes a sad face ,thumbs down and says “Not healthy didi”. You keep your snack aside all ready to make a comeback with a witty reply but you don’t because well…they…are…right…..

Resolving fights

Expectation: A child comes to you looking upset .Since you are used to this you assume that the child is someone has maybe fought with them

Reality: Teacher – You look upset, what happened

Child – Yes , I was playing with Shahid,I asked him to share some one of the blocks that he was playing with,but he didn’t ,I called him “Bhaai” (brother) yet he refused to give it to me.If you call someone your brother they should listen to you?

Teacher: *Frantically trying to think of an answer,with a pause long enough that the child looks at you suspiciously*  “Hmmm”.

टीचर – तुम उदास लग रहे हो, क्या बात है?

स्टूडेंट  – हां ,में शाहिद के साथ खेल रहा था,मैंने उससे कुछ ब्लॉक्स देने को कहे उसने ना कहाँ। मैंने उसको बोला ‘भाई देना ‘,पर उसने नहीं माना।  अगर आप किसी को भाई बोलते हो तो उसको आपकी थोड़ी बात मानी चाहिए न 

टीचर – *इस बात पे क्या ही बोलू यह सोचते सोचते * ‘Hmmm ‘

Addressing behaviours

Expectation: Teacher: ‘ I saw that you were making a lot of noise during naptime.Everybody was sleeping and getting distracted.What was making you do that?’

Child: ‘Because it is fun’

टीचर -मैंने देखा के नैप टाइम में तुम बहुत शोर कर रहे थे. 

सब सो रहे थे पर तुम्हारे आवाज़ से उनका ध्यान कहीं और जा रहा था ? किस वजह से आप आवाज़ कर रहे थे 

स्टूडेंट -मज्जा आता है 

Reality: Teacher-’I saw that you were making some noise during naptime.Everybody was sleeping and getting distracted.What was making you do that?’

Child: ‘Dimaag mei bahut ideas aarahe the(I was getting many ideas)

Teacher :’What ideas?’

Child :’Khelne ke ideas ,jab mere dimaag mei khelne ke ideas aate hai mai aawaz karta hun’

Teacher: *Trying to comprehend what was just said* ‘Oookayy’

टीचर -मैंने देखा के नैप टाइम में तुम बहुत शोर  कर रहे थे. सब सो रहे थे पर तुम्हारे आवाज़ से उनका ध्यान कहीं और जा रहा था ?किस वजह से आप आवाज़ कर रहे थे 

स्टूडेंट -‘मुझे ideas आरहे थे ‘

टीचर – ‘कैसी ideas ‘

स्टूडेंट – ‘खेलने के ideas .जब मुझे ideas आते हैं तब शोर करता हूँ 

टीचर -* जो स्टूडेंट ने बोला उसका मतलब समझने की पूरी कोशिश करते हुए* ‘ Oookayy’

Going home

Expectation: 4 pm-I know my professional boundaries.I finish my work at 4 pm and when I go home it is just Me time

Reality – 10:30 pm (while setting my 5 am alarm for next morning)- ‘Was sadia upset with me today when she said she doesn’t want to participate?’

Being a teacher in Khoj to me means to be passionately in love.I am not talking about the bollywood love of fiery emotions and drama.I am talking about the love that teaches me about myself. Love that teaches me to accept my students the way they are and see them grow everyday,That love that makes  me ready for challenges because challenges are fun. That love that doesn’t let a bad day turn into a bad week. That love that makes me come back to my students . Love that I call home.

That is how my friend is a day in the life of Khoj teacher 

Khoj Community School (Khoj) is Apni Shala’s initiative to create a space for high-quality education for children in Govandi/Mankhurd area. 

​Khoj aims to become a model space for professional development and research set in Indian context for integrated curriculum and pedagogy for whole-school SEL integration. In its second year of operation, Khoj in being designed on the following core principles: Concept-based Curriculum, Multicultural Education and Community Development.

About the author: Pallavi joined Apni Shala as a senior programme manager in 2015 after finishing her Post Graduation in Communication development. She then joined Khoj Community school as a teacher in 2018. When Pallavi is not in class building life skills with children, Pallavi enjoys cooking, sketching, doing some yoga and belly dancing.

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