So today I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to face the imfamous class one boys. Jen went off to take class six - an easier, in many ways, group as there are fewer of them for a start and they are older but not all of them know the letters in the English alphabet - so tricky having such wide ability ranges in one class.
So this morning, as I walked across the large courtyard between the class room block and our accimmodation, I was attacked by little boys saying "class one/ class two etc" as they implored you to come to their class! Poor little guys really seem to want the volunteers rather than the Mepalese teachers. The classes are bare except for a white board or black board which is usually so shiny it is difficult to write legibly on it. The boys sit on benches attached to a table like surface. There is no teachers chair or desk or table - that's it. Each child has aotley selection of exercise books and a pen. So we started off sounding out the sounds of the alphabet - one by one as I went around and listened to each child repeating the sound (a, b . C, m, f and o). They were happy to do this - actually they'll are happiest when reciting by rote! I then got them to put all their books on the seat next to them - a very foreign concept - and then handed out chalk and one torn off piece of loo paper. They then had to write the sounds on their tables while I went from boy to boy correcting how they formed the letters! Teechavteecha teecha was all unheard!! Well bybthe time we had done four letters there was chalk everywhere - on faces, hands, in hair, walls and of course being little boys they took great delight in making their palms purple etc and scaring each other!! So we used pieces of toilet paper to rub off the letters each time and of course soon there were pieces of screwed up loo paper all over the place!!! Talk about thinking throw ones lesson before hand!! The up side was most of them were forming the letters correctly and I could guide their hands while they held the chalk. So myission is to get a whole bunch of small face cloths so we don't waste paper. While we played games to one side of the class room - a big advantage is that there is enough space to do wxercises and sing songs without having to move furniture- three boys cleaned the table tops with black board rags. I then gave them each a drawing to colour in with crayons I brought with me - thanks Karen! They loved that and that was the lesson!!! They did clean up all the bits of tissue paper and throw it in the bin downstairs. The class rooms do not have bins in them and often in the first class of the day , you can be in the middle of a lesson when suddenly there will a knock on the door and a team of little guys with grass brushes ( exactly as we see in rural areas at home) will come in and crawl under the tables and benches to sweep the floor!
So pretty far removed from grade Obat thevRidge or any Montessori schools I've taught on!!! But I know I am going to get into the rhythm of it - I am thinking of staying with class one in the mornings for the two hour session and maybe teaching class two in the agternoon session . That waybthetecwill be consistency for them and maybe I can get through the sounds in the alphabet. As so often happens a lot of them know the names which does not help with phonics and reading. I will obviously have to ring the changes and get some alphabet flash cards organized.
Right now we, the four volunteers at the monastery are back in Thamel at the Hottl Premium for the weekend. We are meeting tonight for a meal with everyone. I am going to pop out soon to look for card board to stick the pictures I brought with me onto.
Jen and I are also planning on visiting a couple of places this weekend. We are expected to teach on Sundays as well but we decided we needed some time to recover from this dam tummy bug so told Pena at the monastery we would be back Sunday evening!
So cheers for now as I head off to find cloths etc!! Your obey for the children is being put to very practical use at this stage altho of course these little amounts are the tip of the iceberg of your generosity!