It was my first day at school after a five-month break due to health-related issues at my designated school. I basically engage with primary-level students in grades one and two. However, on National Science Day, I had the unique opportunity to interact with Mortunda Porta Cabin’s ninth and tenth-grade students for the first time. This is a girls’ residential school. The school view is mesmerizing, with pink bougainvillaea at the gate, a central ground with green plants of fruits and flowers, and corridors bordered by classrooms.


I went to the ninth grade. The class was filled with teenage girls with big smiles filled with laughter and shyness on their faces.  I was having time before the exhibition starts to interact with them. We started with the basic chit-chat followed by their introduction with a twist. They have to introduce themselves and share with the classroom the activities they enjoy doing. I started with myself and called out a random letter ‘M’ and the student whose name starts with have to go first. After a student finishes sharing they have to call the next student. In the beginning, they were too much shy and low in their voice to speak up about something. But slowly as we move ahead we built an open environment of laughter and learning.

I haven’t thought of how this small random activity can give many deeper reflections. The board was filled with varieties of answers highlighting their hobbies, livelihood, arts, entertainment preferences, language, the choices over going to cities v/s villages,  emotional bonding with their grandparents, parents, and siblings as they are away from home, their close connection with nature, jungle, mahua, farming were also there.

mujhe kya acha lgta hai.jfif

I was thinking about how all the concepts are interrelated. With this activity, I was able to touch on their Social Emotional well-being. They were talking about what they like to do, and their good times, and they were reflecting on themselves. The classroom had become a safe space which allowed them to talk about themselves. Along with this, it’s a short summary of what it is to be a girl in a tribal area. What all they do, their daily activities which they love doing.  It was a good ice-breaking session I hope next they will be more confident and share more openly. During the activity, they were motivating their friends to speak loudly, and persuading them to share when they were shy to do so.  


This was a wonderful and unexpected classroom experience for me. Before this, I used to think that I can only engage with primary-level kids and I was more comfortable with that. I am sure now I can be more open to this and have more wonderful engagements with higher-grade students in near future.