How do you feel about the guest faculty coming to teach you?
Versha: It comes as a breather from the routine that we usually follow and breaks the monotonous daily routine. It is good as something new is being taught which makes it more interesting.
Kanika: I agree with her. Regular lectures get boring. So bringing new faces to teach, especially famous personalities, is an exciting experience. It gives us something new to look forward to in the school.
Sumit Kapoor: We are happy that high-profile people are coming to our school to teach us. We can gain new exposure with their life experiences as well as gain knowledge. We see people standing in our classroom about whom we used to read in newspapers.
Were you asked to read or research the topics that were going to be covered in these special classes?
Versha : No, I had no clue who Pawan Kumar Bansal is, did not know till our first class with him finished and I went to enquire from my friends to tell me more about him. I was surprised to know that he was a minister at the Centre.
Kanika Gaur: I knew that he was our union railway minister and MP from Chandigarh. We were not told to do anything with regard to reading the subject or do research on the topics they were going to teach us. He taught a lot of new things.
Sumit: A month ago, our teacher announced in the classroom that there are possibilities that someone from outside would come and teach us. None of us had a clue about the subject he is going to teach and who the person will be.
Did journalists and photographers in your classroom make you feel special?
Versha: As a student, it was a first-of-its-kind experience for me. We have been reading newspapers and watching news programmes on TV channels but had never seen so many people with cameras and notebooks entering into our classroom.
Kanika: The media asking us questions and with all the photographers around made me a little hesitant and uncomfortable as I have never dealt with such a situation. But in due course, everything became normal for us.
Sumit: We were told there will be only one outsider coming to our class, but there were dozens of outsiders on the first day in our class. However, talking to mediapersons made me a little nervous and shaky.
How different was Bansal’s style of teaching?
Versha: It was different in a sense that apart from the bookish knowledge, he gave us insights into how the government system of India functions. What is the Constitution? What is its importance for the people of the country?
Kanika: The class was not confined to books but it also provided us overall knowledge. The power point presentation and the detailed notes he gave us helped us in understanding various chapters of our syllabus. For many of us, the power point presentation was a new thing.
Sumit: He could converse in Hindi, English and Punjabi fluently which is not the case with our teachers. However, his class was a normal experience but the things we were taught in his lecture we are yet to study in our syllabus like the fundamental rights and when these were adopted and made part of the Constitution etc.
Does the Constitution interest you?
Versha: Yes, I want to become a lawyer and have opted for legal studies as a subject. We haven’t started with this chapter, so it will help us understand things more appropriately.
Kanika: The subject is alright but I want Bansal to teach us about the success and failure. How to face them as they come in our life? How did he manage to achieve what he has? What is the secret behind his success?
Sumit: Yes, I agree, I want to know how many times he has failed and how he managed to overcome his failures in life. What were the hardships he went through and how did he take life after school and in general?
What else do you want Bansal to teach you?
Versha: I want to understand the functioning of judiciary and government offices which he has held for long. An insight into how the budget is planned for Railways, what are the things that go into making it, how decisions are taken to include various proposals in the budget? We want to know it from him.
Kanika : The various dynamics of politics is the other topic that interests me. How is politics at national level played? How do various laws and policies come into being? What happens in Parliament and between regional parties and the Centre is another subject I would like to know.
Sumit: I want to become a chef or do something in the field of hotel management but still not sure about my choices. I would like him to guide me on this.
Were you afraid to ask him questions?
Kanika: Yes, I was very hesitant to ask questions. It will take time to open up.
Versha: He seemed to be nice and friendly. So in future we can be more frank in talking to him.
Sumit: He was receptive as he knew we were being disturbed by consistent chattering of individuals.
Is it a good idea to get a famous person or an outsider to teach?
Versha: Of course, it is a good idea. Experience matters very much. People like Bansal can impart knowledge to students.
Sumit and Kanka: Yes, it is a good idea. We would like more eminent persons to teach us.