Inspiring Volunteering Stories from Saakshar Summer Computing Camp — Day 1

We would love to publish a series of Experiences of Saakshar Mentors in Summer Computing Camp, to let you all know the insider feelings and experiences who are working for social good.

In this post, we are publishing the story of Rajesh Mummaneni who mentored the Summer Computing Camp on Day 1.

I was insisted to take-up the mentoring responsibility on my shoulders, on the very first day of Summer Computing Camp For Government School Students. Definitely, it was one of the fantabulous experiences in my journey of life so far. The first day of any event is extremely important because it is the day which lit up the event or which breaks down the event. If the first-day experience of students is bad, it highly impacts the whole event and it may even result in skipping the sessions on upcoming days of Summer Camp. If it is good, students listen and learn with great interest. So, I knew before hand itself, I need to engage the students with great excitement while creating an active-learning environment. I loved the first day of Camp when those bright shiny faces are sitting timidly waiting to see what I’ll do. I wanted to set the tone and give the detailed schedule of Summer Computing Camp as this is the first day. Firstly, I started with the various uses of Computers and moved to the necessity of learning Computing. To make the session interesting and engaging I asked them how children can use computers in their daily lives. I’ve got good responses from them. Later on, I moved to basic parts of Computer and explained about their functionalities clearly. Later, I switched to Do’s and Don’ts of a Computer by elaborating “How a computer should be used and how it shouldn’t be used” and also I demonstrated the correct way of using computers. Finally, I asked questions to students randomly, on the explained topics to know their levels of understanding and I’ve got good responses from all of them. As these children are from Government Schools, for a better subject understanding purpose I switched between English and Telugu languages. As my mother tongue is same as theirs, I’ve got good expertise in Telugu and switching of languages in between didn’t seem to be a huge problem for me. Hopefully, I think, I taught the contents in an appropriate manner and engaged students well.

At this point of time, I’d like to recollect few situations of my life which fit in this context. In my first year of Engineering, I was expected to deliver in “Just A Minute” session in my English Lab in front of my friends. I knew a lot of information about the topic, I can speak well but there is this thing called shyness which didn’t allow me to utter a word before them. I lacked comfort, felt awkward to speak up when other people are around. It was my fault and I wanted to rectify that. Eventually, I went on improving social skills and took some sessions in Saakshar regular program successfully. Here I’m, feeling insecure to talk for one minute before a small group of students to successfully mentoring sessions for three long hours!! Even though I took some sessions in our Saakshar’s regular program before, this will be remembered as one of my fantastic mentoring experiences. Saakshar Organisation helped me a lot in guaging my performance levels, to know where I’m standing, where I should improve on. Engaging children for a session made me learn a lot of things, because children always have their own moods. So, I should always come up with new techniques and ideas to engage them, which significantly improved my social skills. Mentoring on the first day of the Summer Camp while creating the levels of enthusiasm and excitement in students is the biggest challenge for me and I hope, I did it well.

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