Santosh Mistry belongs to a small village from Shirpur Tehsil of Dhule district in Maharashtra & has been a LeapForWord teacher for a few years now. This is the amazing story of Santosh Mistry in his own words.
I had an option to join my brothers in the carpentry work, but I kept thinking if it was something I wanted to do. The answer was ‘no’ each time. Because I always wanted to complete my education, but unfortunately could not complete it. I am a BA undergraduate with Marathi as a specialization. I soon started working with a marketing firm to support my family.
In 2011, one of my friends introduced me to LeapForWord. I was very confused and skeptical whether I will be able to take this up.
But I was passionate about teaching…though not English…I used to teach Maths. My English was not perfect, could just manage to read 4 letter words…so it was a big challenge for me.
But I decided to give it a shot. Along with the supervisor’s help, we conducted mapping test for the students, it didn’t come easy to us, people were not ready to send their kids. My first batch consisted of only 20 students, but gradually things changed as parents started noticing the progress these kids were making. I did not look back after that.
Life is not that easy
I earned around Rs 8000 from the company and the income from LeapForWord was enough for me to support my family. I soon bought some things on EMI. But life is not that easy and simple. The company shut, and I could see the burden of loan piling up on me. I had to do something.
This was when I decided to break away from the regular routine to do something that matters and which would give me satisfaction. It had to be bigger than what I was doing currently .
I traveled to nearby villages to reach out to more kids. I aimed at earning around Rs.1 lakh through the vacation batches. I was ready to work very hard.
After investing nearly 10 hours of teaching everyday, I could earn nearly Rs 60,000 in 45 days!! I feel very very proud, not because I made that much money, but because now I was able to teach English to even 12th std students.
When people get to know that Marathi is what I specialized in, they are stunned.
I have trained around 600 kids from 2011 to 2016, and received excellent feedback and results. My son who is in 5th Std and daughter who is in 2nd Std also attend my classes. My son can read and understand English. He is soon going to appear for the Jawahar Navodaya Exam. My daughter can identify alphabets & read 3-4 letter words.
One of my students from my class had done an English speaking course and had invested nearly Rs. 4000 for the one month course. But she was barely able to communicate in English. After joining LFW she realised her earlier investment was not worth it. She continues to tell me that after attending LFW classes, she feels – The investment in terms of money at Leapforword is less, but the output and learning is immense.
I am ecstatic that I could make a difference…
The AHA Moment…
Now when I pass through their village, people address me as “Sir”. The feeling is incomparable with anything else in the world. Even the ZP teachers respect me a lot, their attitude towards me has changed.
I was not at all confident initially but I kept trying & never stopped. If I was not associated with LeapForWord, I would have been working with a company and earning a mediocre income. Not only has this experience improved my economic status but has also boosted my confidence, and has made my life’s purpose larger than just providing for my family.
I feel proud to be a LeapForWord Teacher !!!
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