Sunday, July 10, 2011


Blues. Ate at Blues Cafe yesterday and cant move from the bed now blues. Have left all my charts for tomorrow's class at the flat and hence will have nothing tomorrow blues. No more its sunday afternoon and have to go to office tomorrow blues. Am completely broke by the 10th of the month blues. Had aloo bhujia+cheese spread+bread+mango gelato for dinner- no more blues! :)

No one need worry about my health and happiness anymore....those kids are ensuring I lose both ASAP! I am walking/talking/jumping non-stop for 6hrs daily!! No voice, no food, no water (my school doesn't have any washrooms!) and 40 jumpy girls who start crying at the drop of a hat. But seriously, I have been having an absolute blast. We have a rather nice HM and all the other teachers have adopted me. Plus the kids really are very adorable- expect for their enthusiasm for singing Sheela ki Jawani at the drop of a hat! (How is it that these kids never learnt their ABCDs properly but can sing "I'm too sexy for u" with gusto???????????)

Nitin and I did a joint class on how to write ABCD properly on Friday. It is somewhat frightening that these kids in 2nd and 3rd grade cannot write their capitals and smalls correctly. The level of teaching in MCD is very low. The concept of accountability of course was given up on a long time back, with anything related to government work. But this! Evidently the style of teaching followed here is sit on a chair, ask one student to open a chapter at random and start reading it aloud. Then 10 minutes later, congregate in the staff room, put on some good music and start having a blast! Not all teachers are like that, we have some good ones also. But the fact is that no one really watches or cares whether they are doing a good job or not. So exactly why would they bother? Oh dear beyond blues now.

We had planned to start teaching entirely in English from tomorrow. But I don't think my kids are ready for it at all. Any suggestions on how to move them to English entirely (remember, this kids don't know anything- not even basic commands such as Sit down) by August end?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Toilet Stories

Courtesy Shivendu:

Bhaiya: In our class we will all speak in English.
Arvind: Taiya taiya, tutu aayi hai
Bhaiya: pehle english mein bolo!
Arvind: taiya taiya nikal jayegi!

Courtesy Neeraj:

Bhaiya: In our class we will all speak in English.
Manu: Manne toilet jaana hai, jaoon?
Bhaiya: please ask in English
Manu: Kyun english toilet kucch alag hoti hai kya?

Courtesy Seemant:

Bhaiya: Meri permission bina iss class mein koi chun bhi nahin bolega.
Kid: Bhaiya, chun kya hota hai?

As you can see, our classes are keeping us very well entertained. Had our first PM group meet after schools started, have really missed everyone! Heard about everyone's experiences- Rinky's classroom with a hole the size of a car in the wall, Divya's paranoid HM who thinks she is after his job, Vikas's corridor classes (they don't have a room), Avi's super-aggressive kids.

Its very easy to think sitting in your own little world about how tough your life is and how hard you are working yet getting no results. But listening to all these people made me realise how lucky I am- an invested HM, interested fellow teachers, excited students and pretty good infrastructure. So here is a toast to all these guys who are out there working their asses off in the worst situations- keep up the brilliant work! :)

PS: there is no dinner like dal tadka+chawal+dahi+aloo bhujia!!!!! :D (apologies for the non sequitur but we were really very moved by it!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


When I was a kid, for unfathomable reasons, I wanted to be a housewife. I thought, "wow, what a life! Watch TV whole day, sleep every afternoon and early in the night and nobody to fight over the remote with!" :) Thankfully my class has better dreams.

We made a dream chart today. All kids thought and shared what they wanted to be when they grow up. Needless to say, before this I made a whole "Chak de India" speech to get them up and motivated. :D I think part of the coolest thing about being a teacher is how you can make yourself the Idol for so many kids. These kids are really looking for direction, which is not available any where else in their lives. 60% kids in my class want to grow up to be a teacher and that shows how impressionable they are. This is also what TFI is about- giving these kids a chance to grow up to be something more than they would normally get a chance for.

Of course there are some kids whose primary dream seems to be causing mayhem! If nothing else, I am learning a lot of patience here. So 5 kids in my class would not shut up during the whole dream exercise. So I sent them out of class and called them in later after the English lesson (on months) was over and started our standard emotional spiel :) "Didi is very sad that you are not listening to her. She taught so much in class today and you missed all of it, while everyone else learnt. Is that good?" Pat comes the reply, "I already know this". Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.........figuring out how to handle this one tom- any suggestions?

We are doing colors in class tomorrow and I need to get back to making my colour chart. So good night and see you tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Disaster and Recovery!

So I found out something about myself yesterday. I can be rather harsh. Don't hate me- but I made two of my kids cry. I didn't mean to- but am sure nobody really does (other than a sociopath?). So two girls ( did I tell you am teaching an girls' school? yup, ME!) in the class didn't do any of their work in the math period. So I said "you may not go home till you finish your work"- and the fountains ran! Now that, for lack of a better way to put it, was seriously freaky.

I've never been the crying types myself, plus no one really breaks down (much) in an office, so I suppose you become used to passing out indictments and expecting results. But what I learnt yesterday was something more important- that while the WHAT and the HOW are important, the WHY is just as needed. When we were kids, we all hated being told "do it because I told you so". Yet that's an easy trap to fall into. So I've promised myself that from now onwards, I will make sure I tell my kids what I expect them to do and why it is needed.

Update for 5th July: so it definitely works! significantly reduced chaos in class, students motivated to finish work in time and a Fellow who is beginning to sound human again!!! Rolling out my investment strategy- a Dream chart for each kid and my Bee rules!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Morning assemblies and The Birds and The Bees

Who says sex education is absent from the Government's mind? I can assure you that the Higher Ups have left no stone un-turned to ensure students are clear on how exactly they enter this world and how they will leave it. Sample this from the daily morning prayer sung by the students of my school:

Ishwar sheesh jukhate hain hum
Haath jod gun gaate hain hum
Kamdev se aaye hain hum
Namdev ko jayenge hain hum

(God we bow our heads to you
We fold our hands and sing your praises....

From the Lovegod have we come
To the Destroyer shall we go....)

I think that takes care of the Birds and the Bees very well don't you?? :D

On another note, it is heartening to hear that our HMs (that's Head Masters to you civilians!) truly appreciate TFI fellows placed in their schools. One of my flatmates (hereby referred to as SC) is placed in a private school in a charming village of East Delhi, Seelampur. Here is how the first visit by his HM went:

HM: Very good, very good. I really liked your class!
SC: Thank you sir :)
HM: I can see you are a born leader, you will definitely go far!
SC: Thank you very much sir! :) :)
HM: Have I told you about my daughter? She has just finished her engineering and is now working with BHEL.
SC: Err....that's very nice sir.
HM: Very beautiful girl too...why don't you come over sometime?

See, this is called a truly glorious opportunity to eradicate educational inequity in one go!! Go SC!!! :D

High point: Nitin (my co-fellow) and I conducted the whole morning assembly perfectly on Saturday! :)

Low point: Truly understood the meaning of 'abysmal' when sat with two 2nd grade girls for 1hr to teach them how to draw A/B/C/D. It says much for the level of education being proferred in these schools!

Moved: 4th grader who had not listened to a word I said the whole day came to me and said, "Didi, I want to be an engineer. Will you teach me how to speak English like you do?"

Monday morning tom...expecting to get my class finally! Keep you fingers crossed for me!

Friday, July 1, 2011

First Day of School!

Who says school was not fun?? We certainly had a blast today! :)

So first day of school- catatonia has set in by 0700hrs. Reached school half an hour to find my co-fellow had made cards for each of the kinds- oh shit I am so going to be the loser! Quickly showed off corporate management skills by going for real power- made a card for the HM! :D

0800hrs- 30kids turned up in the entire school today! Morning assembly- ran through Vande Matram, Gayatri Mantra, Jai Jawan slogans, National Anthem as quickly and tunelessly as possible. Realised that no more kids are coming- no studies happening today atleast!

So we just kidnapped all of them into one room and started working on keeping them busy and entertained! :) Out came the Banana song (truly the greatest creation of mankind- read below to find out more!), Beauty and the Beast (the Rekha and Rajkumar version), colouring books, ABCD song and pretty much everything else we could think of, to keep such a diverse class busy. It was tough and maddening- I have never talked so much ever before (even though that maybe difficult to believe!) and I doubt my throat's going to be normal for the next two years. But I had a great time day and am much more relaxed about school now.

Banana Song
figure out the actions yourself :)

Banana grow grow
Banana grow
Banana peel peel
Banana peel
Banana jump jump
Banana jump!
Banana mash mash
Banana mash!

Whoever invented this- I could kiss you right now!! :)

Good things-

1. Our HM was very sweet and helpful- augurs well for the future.
2. The students are interesting and interested and am just waiting to attack them with my TFI-trained self!
3. Nitin was a great help and I'm glad we got a chance to work together.

Things to improve-

1. The level of English is honestly abysmal. Kids in 3rd grade cant spell their names! That's going to take some work.
2. The staff are more inclined to see us somewhat warily still- I felt as if I had horns on my head the whole day!

Cant wait to get my permanent class soon and unleash all the charts am making! Will update!