At the charitable school in Tigaon, Faridabad, the teachers have been very impressed with our volunteer’s consistent work and contemporary methods for teaching the children English. In India, and especially in this school, most of the teaching encourages only students who can learn from rote memorization. Though rote memorization is extremely helpful, Ek Koshish feels that we can complement such methods with teaching for understanding the material as well, once enough material has been memorized. For example, our volunteer explained to us that he had asked the children to properly arrange the words in the sentence “There everywhere water is.” When the first student responded, he started answering the question by saying “Water everywhere,” when a teacher stopped him and said it was incorrect. The English teacher who assists our volunteer in all of the classes later explained to the other teacher, “Let the student make the mistake and think through the sentence. Then, Justin ji [our volunteer] explains what is wrong with their sentence, and lets them try again so that they can reach the correct answer on their own. This is how Justin ji teaches, so that the children can understand how to fix their own mistakes. It’s been very helpful.” The other teacher then observed him explaining to the child how to fix the sentence, and when he could make the sentence “There is water everywhere” she was very impressed! Let’s see if he can keep dazzling the teachers with his performance!
Today at the infirmary at the charitable school in Faridabad, all of the teachers insisted that I too check my hemoglobin, as all of the students and teachers in the school had done earlier today and yesterday. Of course, everyone was very nice, and I did not feel pressured to get the blood test done, but after viewing the equipment and assuring myself that everything was completely sterile, I figured, “Why not?” In the end, I had a hemoglobin unit of 13.3, which they affirmed was in the normal range. Every so often, the charity running the school subsidizes a doctor, his associate, and a lab technician come to the school with some equipment, and they check the health of all of the students. There is also a dentistry station next door in the building, but the dentist will be coming another day to give the children checkups and cleanings. Otherwise, today, after my lesson, a teacher approached me and thanked me for al of my help. She has seen a big improvement in the children’s work ethic, especially in their interest in learning the material. Not a day passes when I feel like my work at the school has been ineffective, as all of the children beam with joy while they greet me hello or goodbye, when earlier these children rarely smiled.
This past week of work at the charitable school has been one of the most wonderful experiences I have had here in India. I have lived and traveled here for over a year and a half now, but helping the students at this school is surely one of the highlights of my time in India! The children are all eager to learn about me and why I want to help them, which I feel inspires them to learn more about other cultures and want to make a name for themselves too. I have been teaching the English periods for 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades individually, making rounds at each of these five classrooms. Before leaving the classroom, yesterday one of the students remarked to me that I am a very good teacher, and he really thinks English is fun now! Although there is a bit troublesome language barrier between the children and me, the English teacher accompanies me in all of the classrooms and let’s me teach, while translating anything I don’t understand. Mostly we began with some simple vocabulary, but eventually I transitioned each of the classes towards learning more complex grammar, practicing antonyms/synonyms, and translating Hindi to English sentences. I aspire to be a good role model for these remarkable children!
Today our volunteer went to a charitable school in Tigaon of Faridabad, where he has been working since the beginning of the week. Around 900 students attend the school six days a week, where they are taught, given clothes, given two meals daily, and have a safe place for fun and recreation as well. The school has been running for the past seven years, and the oldest class is in 8th grade. In the coming year, the same class will be in 9th grade, while the school enrolls even more students for kindergarten. Even the younger children take science and history classes, with classrooms and facilities which are extremely impressive, with a sports area, computer lab, and library, just to name of few features. The most valuable asset of the school, however, is the beaming children who come eager to learn each and every day.
Today I visited a cow shed, or “Gaunshala” in Mawai, a village in Faridabad, Delhi NCR. It was very special to witness the reverence and care with which the laborers carry out their work. The operation was well organized, as the cow shed houses hundreds of bulls and cows, producing over 100 liters of milk per day, which tantalized my taste buds as I had never relished such fresh, delectable milk. The cows themselves struck me as very peaceful and humble creatures, with a distinct air of sympathy as they gazed into my eyes. As I pampered one of the many adorable baby cows, she neared me and relished the attention. Otherwise, the laborers were happy to see that an outsider was interested in their work, and expressed interest in showing me the ropes whenever I would like to stop by the area. I plan to make another visit soon to get my feet wet and learn more about these tranquil bovines. Don’t forget to watch one of the workers as he milked one of these precious cows!