India Blog Day 4 – Lucy Kennedy

We are decidedly exhausted after late night shopping at Dili Haat market. There’s so much we want to do, shopping, sightseeing, walking, exploring but we start at 7, and our days finish at 6 – we are increasingly grateful for how late the shops and sights stay open.

It is a slow start to the morning, with everyone turning up to breakfast later and more bleary eyed. My team started the day at what has become a firm favourite school – with Vikas the head teacher, who cares more about the students than anything else. His enthusiasm and delight is palpable and after my team have started their observations, he calls me to the roof, to watch a martial arts lesson. The children kick, block, and cartwheel across the tiny, dusty rooftop while I stand with my mouth agape. They are precise in their movements and totally focused on performing to a high standard. That is the one thing the team keep saying – what incredibly high standards they have here. The curriculum is advanced. Children are learning in a foreign language in year 6, what we teach in year 5. In addition, the teachers want us to help implement further challenges. Growth mind-set seems to have taken all of India by storm. The rest of my team eventually found their way to the roof and we joined in the lesson, and this brought such delight to the children who put us to total shame. 

Our routine has become comfortable here and we are finding ourselves walking down narrow side streets with ease, navigating and bartering for cold drinks at lunchtime, walking into schools and greeting Head Teachers and school staff before heading off to where we need to be. This week has seemed immensely long in how much we have achieved but now as Thursday has drawn to a close, we are all a bit stunned that we have one day left.

Today has been the hottest day, with the sun beating down on us, and the team has needed to rely on each other to get through an 11-hour day. James’s constant and gentle positivity has really shone today and the team have all checked in with each other multiple times. Buying ice creams, cokes, and snacks to keep ourselves going – the long hot days are starting to take their toll. 

Luke and Layla have both said how they could stay another week, Layla laughed and said maybe when she needed a break from teaching she would move here and spend her days observing and advising. Teachers seem to have the propensity to give, endlessly, until they have nothing left and I suppose the nature of the job means they do give it all. It can be an exhausting and sometimes thankless task – but in India, there simply could not be more thanks. These teachers are in some cases exceptional, bright, sharp, bi-lingual and now in a position to mentor their whole schools.

A huge focus today has been in imparting skills, which can be replicated while we are away, the seminar gave hundreds of real ways to use, and implant student led plenaries. As we packed up teachers hung around asking for advice or checking in with each other. The collaboration culture we want to encourage has truly started and it has been a pleasure to sit back and let the teachers lead discussion’s today. 

We have one day left to make an Impact and the team are resting up tonight to give it out all tomorrow.

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