This week we set off to visit our Community Partners for the first time. Myself and Elly from England are placed at Anand Gram, which means Village of Joy. Initially this organization was established to provide a community for Lepers and their children where they could become self sufficient and educated, despite being ostracized from the mainstream community. Now, Anand Gram's primary focus is on education of their students, as well as those of the nearby village.
It was certainly an eye-opening experience as we were given a tour of the site and met some of the older residents and children who live there. I realized that my Western self will indeed be learning a lot, which is a good thing. The quality of living there is unlike anything I am used to, yet the people have all their needs met and appeared truly happy.
The school at Anand Gram has approximately 300 students (maybe more) and there are six teachers, which means each class has anywhere from 30 -50 students.
This is a typical classroom at the school. There are no smart boards or even whiteboards, just a chalkboard. No space for centres or storytime, just bench tables. The style of teaching in India is primarily rote, which will be a shift for me. However, I can appreciate this style in a situation
where you have 40 students. Hopefully I will be able to learn from the teachers at the school and also share with them some other strategies.
These are the on time students lined up to start their day with an assembly. School starts at 11:30am here. This teacher is reprimanding the students for not having the stage swept and being late and out of uniform. The amazing thing is that he just came out and calmly started talking and they all fell into line and were attentive. Would this happen at home? Not so sure...
After their assembly where they recited school rules, said prayers, and other stuff (all in Marati) some of the students went off to class and the younger children stayed with us to play games. We had a great time teaching them the hokey pokey (0r the hokey cokey as it's called in England) and Duck, Duck, Goose, which they loved. I'm sure we could have played for hours as these kids seemed to never tire. But, as I was 'goosed' many times, I was somewhat relieved when it was time for us to say our good byes and head back to Sangam.
There will certainly be more posts and pics to come as I get to know the students and teachers at Anand Gram.