In conversation with Ms Adita Saxena

At LifeBubble, we ensure to bring some unique stories and experiences from around the world to motivate our growing community. This week we were fortunate enough to interview Ms Adita Saxena. She is a teacher by profession and a great enthusiast about the environment. Let us learn more about her journey so far!

Talk us through your background and your journey of an educator: 

I am Adita Saxena, a teacher at Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj. I am a French teacher for 24 years. I have completed my Masters in History and Bachelors of Education. I have also received further education in French from Alliance Française. I am a certified DELF/DALF(Ministry of Education, Government of France) examiner for the last ten years. I am a positive person who has an enthusiastic outlook on life. I love my job, and I get a great sense of achievement from seeing my students develop and grow as individuals. If I can have a positive impact on their future, I feel I am doing my job well.

I have been living with my family in Vasant Kunj past 18 years. My association with Delhi Public School as an educator has been for almost two decades now. 

What do you love the most about your school?

The greenery all around the school caught my attention the moment I entered the school. I was mesmerized by the beauty of its gardens – the beautiful layout, colourful flowers, the landscape and just everything that added to the scenery. I can say it was love at first sight!

We would love to know more about your role of an environmental coordinator- 

Along with teaching French, I also enjoy working as the environment coordinator for my school. I have put my heart and soul into this role for over 15 years now. It has not only changed the way I function and organize my work but also impacted my perception of the world around me.

I started my journey as an environmental coordinator with baby steps. It all began with tree plantation – taking my students on a nature walk to bio-diversity parks. As we marched forward in this drive, we bagged the title of the leading school as recognised by the Ministry of Environment. We were fortunate enough to be assigned projects by different NGOs in Delhi. 

With each step we took, our learning enhanced. We realized the importance of connecting with nature and how it would soothe us. Nature heals you mentally; it helps you get in touch with yourself – the inner you. 

Our strong desire to make a difference kept us motivated throughout. We won several competitions like the Best Transition Campaign Award at National Level from TERI University, for our bake sale initiative, the award from Microsoft for the maximum E-waste collection in Delhi and so on.

What according to you is the role of the environment in an individual’s life?

The environment can influence peoples’ behavior and motivation to act. It also possesses the potential to influence someone’s mood. For instance, the results of several types of research studies reveal that rooms with bright light, both natural and artificial, can improve health concerns such as depression, agitation, and sleep. Who can understand this better than this generation that is living in confinement and has faced something generations did not.

Did the pandemic affect your life in any manner?

Initially, when the pandemic came in, I considered it to be a few days menace, but as time passed by, I realized that this is long to stay. It is this time that made me realize and focus on things that we were losing touch with, thanks to the rat race that we have been running. 

Everything seems to have come to a standstill. Things that were taken for granted, have now gained importance and are being cherished. Human connect has become a priority; materialistic significance seems to be diminishing. The need to bond with family and friends has become the new normal. 

Each one of us started to introspect in our way. A lot of our fears and uncertainties got surfaced. Clarity seemed to be sinking in.

Did the lockdown have any impact on your role of a teacher?

As a teacher, the first thing that hit me was the fact that I will not get to see my students any time soon. As a school, all the initiatives we took regularly would come to a halt since there will be no seeing each other in person. This thought bothered me a lot. This hopeless feeling took away my mental peace. Yes, I could do my bit of effort in taking care of mother nature, but what about others? Are they as passionate as I am about it?

But it looks like all my concerns seemed to be getting sorted on their own. I noticed a change in my surroundings. I was delighted to smell fresh and pure air. I could feel my breathing. 

The sound of birds chirping was a blessing each morning. Yes, the world was healing. 

What were the challenges that came your way while switching to online classes?

As an educator, I had to deal with a huge challenge – learning to use technology. No matter how tech-savvy I thought I was, the reality hit me hard when I had no choice but to take online sessions. Do you hear me screaming? Yes, that is how scared I was. 

This monster got real; the day came when I had to begin with my online class. My level of anxiety was reaching the sky. Who would have ever thought of such a setup? Imagine you talking about disconnecting from technology, to build faith in human contact, and now you are doing just the opposite of it. Your hours and days spent in front of the screen. And not to forget the headache as an add on at the end of the day. The screen does bother your eyes, and it is really disturbing. Well, life teaches you to make peace with things you cannot control, and this was one such situation. 

Any new learnings during the lockdown period?

Do you know the best part about it – I was still connected with my bacchas. A completely new experience. Like who knew technology would come to our rescue. Let me be honest, I was stressing out initially.

As the virtual classes progressed, I realized even my kids were facing the same trouble. They had their own set of issues. There is a huge difference in the interaction that takes place in school compared to the virtual connection. Most of them expressed their need to step out and enjoy the real-life connect. They missed school – they missed us!

For them, the fun element was missing. That noise which used to bother me in class was the class music. My ears missed listening to that music – it was their music!

Each class is a reminder of how distant we are yet connected. We are privileged to have access to technology.

What is your mantra for balancing work and home during such testing times? 

The mantra is just passion to do things. It’s certainly not easy, but my family has been very supportive. In these testing times, things are not simple but these times have taught us that the environment is all we have. 

We need to save it. The social media has helped us in spreading the message and reaching out to people. My students also have been extremely passionate and so it makes the task simpler.  

Any suggestions for your students?

Yes, the earth is all we have. We need to think before we act and this pandemic has a lot to teach us. It’s a lesson for us to remember for a decade if we mess up things, we won’t be spared. 

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