Case studies

Rakesh Tiwari

Age: 37

Occupation: English teacher and GAP coach (grooming, accent personality), DPMS

Family: Lives with his wife close to Sitamarhi.

Rakesh: A very international personality

Rakesh’s journey to becoming a school teacher was far from average. Having graduated with a degree in Mass Communications in Pune, he spent 8 years working at a call centre in the city. His work involved interaction with many global clients which led to him to specialise in voice and accent coaching for other operators at the centre.

But after life in the city, Rakesh wanted to return to his home village and so he took a post with a local academy close to Sitamarhi. Rakesh believed that, in a village, teaching conversational skills, honing English accents, and developing personal skills can be more relevant than the theoretical English that children usually learn in school. "Local people know English but not necessarily expression, that’s where I come in, he says.

It was while at the academy that Rakesh was approached to be a guest lecturer at DPMS; at that time he was already familiar with the school’s reputation.

"The brand of the school has made a big impact locally. It’s one of the best schools, everyone knows that it’s very hard to get admission."

After five months as a guest teacher, Rakesh became a permanent member of the school’s staff. He’s now responsible for teaching English to younger classes, primarily Class 3-5, and for imparting a range of skills to older students.

"We thought it was better if we work with children from the beginning, so we start with English skills in Class 3.For 9th and 10th class we teach things like goal setting, leadership skills, SWOT analysis, time management, as well as English accent and expression. There’s even a summer workshop for them".

It’s not only the subjects that Rakesh is innovating but also the style of teaching, with a focus on 'soft skills' and reaching out to students with learning difficulties.

"For the younger children we keep it lighter, focusing on things like mannerisms and basic presentation. For weaker learners, we focus on showing appreciation and acknowledgement for what they achieve. That encourages them."

Rakesh’s unique skills are also put to good use with the teachers, in an effort to solve one of DPMS’s most critical problems, that of encouraging parents to take part in school life. For parents who have not been through education themselves this can be a difficult task, and for many of the children of DPMS their parents are migrant workers, living outside the area for long periods.

"Parents can feel intimidated coming into an English language school. I’ve seen other schools where parents aren’t treated with respect because they aren’t considered to be taking an interest, possibly due to their own lack of education. At DPMS we train teachers in soft skills so they work with parents effectively and encourage them to come into school."

In his time at DPMS, Rakesh has, like most of the people of here, learned to dream big. "One day I’d like to start my own school", he says confidently, adding "at an international level”, spoken in his charming, self-taught, and very international accent.