We proceeded to travel to the compound from the Bihar station. It was cold, rainy and slightly wind; the drizzle made the atmosphere grey but I spotted some cows relaxing along the road, completely unfazed by the weather. We took a cab to the school and the rest of the group managed to squeeze into a tut-tut. Upon arrival at the school, we were warmly greeted by the teachers who were armed with hugs and handshakes for us all. They gave us handmade necklaces and hot tea and coffee.
The rest of the group were nowhere to be seen, but they eventually drove into the school, through the gates equipped with a story of their tut-tut’s lack in petrol; it seemed the driver parked up, went back to town with a bottle using a friends tut-tut, filled up and came back to rescue them.
We showered and had dinner which consisted of rice, daal and numerous other delicious dishes. After a team meeting about our assignments for the next day we were all exhausted from travelling so we hit the sack. I shared a room with Stacey and I remember the temperature dropped at night, so I wrapped up warm with a jumper, extra socks and my fluffy blanket.
The next day, the sun was shining bright, but it was still chilly. I woke up at 8:15 and had breakfast at 8:30 but I chose sleep so I got ready super fast! After breakfast with the group, Stacey and I proceeded to have a more in depth look at the school grounds while the teachers went to find the classrooms they were assigned to and observing that particular day. We were greeted by students and teachers with ‘‘Hello Maam’’- a pleasantry I realised most people in India use. We floated into our first lesson observation after the bell rang. It was an energetic year 5 Maths lesson on adding and subtracting. We then scurried over to the next lesson observation which happened to be the Head Teacher’s classroom, Jacob.
Jacob was teaching symmetry in shapes and greeted us with cut out paper hearts. I was blown away by his lesson. His objective was clear, the lesson was interactive and fun and the students seemed to clearly understand the lesson content.
Soon the lesson was over and suddenly, I heard havoc outside the classroom; shuffling and loud talking. We slipped out of the lesson and saw Jacob make a few swift moves and he was quickly on the roof of one of the classrooms. It seemed a snake has crept onto the premises and he was trying to get it off the roof as soon as possible. I saw the yellow slithery creature on the end of his long contraption and one staff member got it off the premises swiftly. I was in so much shock I couldn’t manage to get a photo.
Once the lessons were over, my colleague Amy had her special session outside. At this time of day, the sun was blazing but it was a pleasant kind of warmth. During the session, Amy focused on using pictures and actions to tell a story or make a storyboard. The aim was to get the children to look at the pictures and create paragraphs in the sequence of the story. Her example was three little pigs aimed at primary students.
Next, Rob did a special session on different types of ways to praise your students. He has over 100 phrases and was explaining how praising differently can have different effects on your students. Once it was over, we joined our mentor groups to discuss the feedback from the lesson observations of the day, the topic praising your students and any questions the group may have had. I joined Amy’s group and teachers seemed to be shy, but they asked important questions about starter ideas which would work for all lessons. Amy had a lot of game ideas which they took positively and pr
omised they would try during their lessons.
After this, we had our dinner and just the ladies of the group got measured for tailoring by the sewing teacher who stays on the compound. Some of the female teachers had gone to town to pick up some saris, salwaar kameez, fabrics and bangles for us to choose from to buy. I bought a bright red sari for my mother and some bangles, a tube of Henna and a salwaar kameez. We had to wait for the salwaar to get sewn close to the end of the week. Once we had put our items away we played ‘Stop the Bus’into the night. We found this game riveting but also funny as we found food, drink and brand names hilarious because some answers we did not classify as actually food or drink. Also the letter Q was a tough one as you can gather!