Not all that jolly with my singing voice… Onwards and upwards!
Suas volunteers outside the office for Devlopment Action Society after our induction day earlier… So excited for starting tomorrow!
I am working with children aged three to five in two schools, Nabadeep and Anandalok. Myself and my teaching partner Naomi began in Anandalok on Wednesday while Nabadeep is our original school.
In India, much of the teaching is based around rote learning. Our children can rattle off the numbers 1-30 no problem but when asked to identify a number, they have trouble.
It’s necessary to test and retest and then test again on every little thing they appear to know, in and out of order. You have to ensure they understand that numbers, letters, body parts, colours, are separate concepts and things rather than just a list which can be memorised.
The progress the children make can seem incredibly slow and we have been forced to reassess our expectations. During our preparation weekends, we were warned about this but – like a lot of what we were told – I didn’t really consider the implications it until I was faced with it.
What seems like very little work to cover becomes immense when you have to spend ten minutes saying hello to each of the twenty children and trying to get them to sit calmly in a circle - particularly when they look blankly at your pleading of ‘sit down’ and then have a giggle when you attempt to speak Bengali to them.
On Thursday and Friday last, Naomi and I spent the entire two days working on getting them to recognise and remember the emotions ‘Happy’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’ and ‘Silly’, complete with actions, chalk drawn faces and numerous renditions of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It…’
They got it. But just about and probably not for long.
We made TLM’s (Teaching Learning Materials) that weekend based around the emotions and when we began to stick up the laminated paper faces on the wall the following Monday, a voice yelled “Happy!” and the rest of the children followed suit.
Between glorious moments like that and the numerous high fives we receive, it’s all worth it.
Naomi and Nisha giving it socks. Twinkle Twinkle - a staple of every teaching plan.
3. Moon Moon, Akash and I.