Saturday, December 22, 2012

Farewell, Young Children!

After taking the final construction photos, I wandered across Lokanthali to do my final day's teaching at Jana Premi Lower Secondary School. I had missed the previous 3 days but the kids weren't expecting me to turn up on a Monday so it was a great surprise for them when that happened.

My parents (thanks) had sent an advent calendar to me and I used that prop as an opportunity to teach the kids all about Christmas and what it means to us in the Western World. It was really interesting to see what they knew about Christmas - they were aware of Christmas trees but not Santa Claus, but they also knew that it is traditionally a celebration of the birth of Jesus which was quite impressive.

So for each class, I did something similar - a little bit of whatever the teacher wanted me to teach, then I hijacked the lesson to show them the advent calendar and get them to shout suggestions as to what Christmas means. For the younger kids I wrote a paragraph on the blackboard then helped them read it out.

Finally, I would explain that this is my last day, and show them photos of Warminster and Stonehenge, and my parents, to explain what I'd be going back to. Slightly embarrassing when they looked at the photo of my parents and asked 'which one is father?'. The photo was of Mum and Dad hiking so they were dressed quite similar - but it mused that in the same way that many Nepalis look similar (to the untrained Western eye), we all must look quite similar to them!


Children in Grade 7 enjoy the advent calendar and give an enthusiastic farewell!

Much more enthusiasm from the Grade 4s though!

Saying goodbye to the Grade 5s and some of the teachers.

When I got back to the main school after descending the slope to see the Grade 4s and 5s, I found that the Grade 7s had spent all of their time preparing some blessings and goodbye notes! I was blindfolded and led into the classroom, where suddenly I was covered in flowers, various greetings thrust into my hand and then dragged outside for more photos! What a goodbye...

Upon examining the notes I found a concerning proportion of marriage proposals and 'I love you Colin sir' notes! But also pleasing were the Union Flag and a small paper plane saying 'please design this sort of aircraft'.

And finally I bade farewell to the Grade 8s, only slightly more subdued.

Teaching at Jana Premi was probably the most rewarding thing I'd done during my volunteer placement - I was really glad that I went out of my way to spend 4 weeks there, giving the children some English education when on many occasions the teachers didn't actually turn up! I think that when the teachers were there, I spent almost as much time helping them with teaching techniques and improving their own English - with the exception of one teacher, they couldn't really hold a conversation. And having one child at the front yelling out two words at a time from a book, to have them yelled back at them call-and-response style by the rest of the class, does nothing to improve their pronunciation!

But how lovely it was to get to learn about 100 Nepali kids over that time. They all had such different characters, and while I didn't admit to learning any of their names (and be accused of favouritism), there were many kids there who I am sure will go far in the future. Which, especially in a Government school for the least well-off kids, is a great thing for Nepal.

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