Teach For Nepal

November 19 (2014)

Today the students from पल्लो टोल came very early in the morning. It was 5’o clock then, and I was lying lazily in my bed. They made a noise outside. And, I woke up.

Yesterday, they had planned to come and play chess early in the morning. They love my chess board because the indicators ( गोटि) have magnet in it. I showed them for the first time couple of days back. I invited them inside and they happily started to play.
I opened my laptop and played the Buddhist chants to start the day with open mindset. I lit incense in my room. I mostly do this because it is a symbol which transcends the constructive energy in my nerves. It feels good when I smell it.

While students were busy in playing chess, I made tea for everyone and served. As, I was going through the e- books, I found, “The Diary of a School teacher” written by Hemraj Bhatt originally in Hindi and later translated by Sharada Jain.

My room was full with students. Some were playing chess; few were reading the book and rests were staring at my laptop and were asking me to instruct them how to use it. It was already 5:55 a.m., so I promised them to teach in coming days.

At 6’0 clock we all reached the class. It doesn’t take much time as it is close to the place where I live. We were all learning to solve the problem related to angles. Few were catching my guidance but most of them were struggling to read the complex figure in the book and identify the alternate, corresponding and co-interior angles. Sapna, Aashamaya, Anjana, Deepak, Kiran were not getting anything at all. I was there to help but new approach wasn’t popping out of the head. I felt low at the moment so I asked some of the students who understood to help them.  But, the challenge was setting a fire to seek another methodology.

I leaved the class at 7:15 a.m. and went to Sumati home to bring half liter of milk for Nawang and me. I did the dishes of last night. Afterwards, I went through the same book and started to read. I could feel connection with Hemraj’s experience, so I started to write my own diary.  Since the start of my Fellowship, I was seeking to articulate my experience but wasn’t clear on how to do it. I always look for an inspiration to start anything new and this book acted as a medium for me. I was happy to come across this book.

Bijay had planned a workshop for the entire teacher today. Yesterday head teacher was aggressive as we started a library in his absence and without his permission on 1st Maghsir. He was supposed to come on that day from Chapagaun but he came on 2nd Maghsir. We wanted to start the library from a very long period of time but it was being delayed and delayed. The books given by U.S. Embassy of Nepal were in Bijay’s room and there was no place to put them where students can get access of it. So, initiating was urgent.  And, we did it. Rather than welcoming our work he was showing his anger with the micro teaching that was planned in workshop. And, Bijay had stepped back in leading the program and told head teacher to lead with his own idea.

School was closed for the students and all were informed to be on time yesterday. I reached school at 9:55 a.m. It was 10 a.m. and except a teacher and we fellows none of the other teachers were present. I utilized my time in checking the copies of Class 8. Head teacher was still expecting from Bijay to run the program but Bijay hadn’t prepared anything. One could see his disappointment clearly.

Slowly all were present in Class 8 for the discussion at 10:50 a.m. and head teacher started the program with dictatorial approach. The day was more like a joke and waste of time of teachers and students as well. I was imaging myself inside the classroom and thought children could have learn something new today if the school was open. Only male teacher were participating in discussions whereas almost all female were silent.

When we were reflecting yesterday on how to run the program it was designed to learn collectively and elicit the positive things from each other. It was more like supporting each other with the teaching techniques and addressing the problem that we were all facing in the class.  A sample micro teaching was also included in workshop too but head teacher was refusing to teach himself as accordance to him it will take much time if everyone does that. Schedule was already made in considering the time. He was trying to prove that a superior person has right to deduct and add to the program whenever he wants. How it is different than being an autocratic person? Respect is not something to you asked for it’s a feeling to earn. And, without investment how we are supposed to earn it? It was reflected today. He was searching an undeserved respect.

It was a historic date yesterday not because we were in conflicting situation instead it was a day with full attendance of teachers.

Usually we talk a lot about change but it’s challenging to transform someone’s rigid mindset. System is never a problem for me; it’s the mindset and attitude of the person structuring the educational organizations.

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