Millinium Development Goals Achieved by this team from October 11 to - october 15
37.5 Hours of class room instruction in conversational English and computer skills by 2 volunteers and 37.5 Hours of preparation time
10 Hours of Childcare by 1 volunteer. over 65 students impacted
Children's Home's and over 65 students impacted.
Sunday ,October 10, 2010 ,
Day - 1 “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Gandhi
We had a great first day, started out with orientation after breakfast. Stephen walked us through the program, letting us know what to expect and what is expected from us. He explained the history of Global Volunteers in Chennai and why it is so important for volunteers to be here. During orientation Laura and I created our team goals for the trip: 1) travel with purpose to make a difference; 2) be open to the culture of south India, and 3) meet/connect with the students and teachers. We also listed what we felt were characteristics of an effective team:
• Open mindedness
• Open communication
• Supporting each other
• Having fun
• Punctuality (Stephen added this one )
We also found out what our assignment would be. I will be working with toddlers at Assisi Illam in the mornings, 4th and 5th grade students at Grace School in the afternoons, and all the children at SEAM in the evenings. Laura will be working with all grades at Grace School during the day, followed by SEAMs in the evenings.
After orientation was over we had some free time before lunch. I used this time to re-read the teaching handbook. Honestly, I am a little nervous about my first day of teaching. This is something I have never done before and I had no idea where to start in regards to lesson planning. Lucky for me, we have a seasoned volunteer with us this weekend. Dustin, from Team 93, is here until tomorrow. He was kind enough to give me some pointers and ideas, and also shared with me and Laura some of the activities he found were successful with the kids. I feel much better now about tomorrow (although I still do not have my lessons planned ).
We went as a team to SEAMs at 5:30 to meet the children. SEAMs is a quick walk from the guest house, which is nice because it gave us a chance to see more of Lakshmi Nagar, the neighborhood surrounding the guest house. We were greeted at SEAMs by the host and all of the children. The children sang a special song for us and came up to me and Laura one at a time for introductions. After that we had some quality play time with the kids. They are all so adorable and friendly! I am looking forward to spending lots of time with them over the next two weeks.
Monday, October 11, 2010
“Excuse me sister – but how are old are you?” 5th Grade Student – Grace School
Questions, Questions – how different it is to experience a place/culture that actually wants to know about us. People really do care who are family members are – our current marital status and real hair color. But everyone is inquisitive – even the local people who stare as we walk along the crowded road – I wonder what they are thinking about us? Back at home its very easy to feel invisible – here we are really seen.
Today started with me heading off to Grace school and Megan to Assisi Illam. I felt pretty confident that I could handle whatever came my way having done similar work last year . Keeping the younger kids quiet is a challenge no matter where you are. I loaded the backback up with books – crayons – paper and flash cards. The goal is to get the kids speaking – reading and writing English – the way you do depends on the day – the kids – your energy level and patience. First grade – second grade – third grade – all went quickly and smoothly – having brought stickers – I knew things would be ok. Megan shared with us that her first morning wasn’t as easy – remembering those nursery rhymes, songs and dances didn’t come back to her as quickly as she had hoped but admitted she would be better prepared tomorrow. After lunch we went back to Grace School to work with the 4th and 5th Graders – more introductions – more stories and new methods of keeping the kids engaged seemed a bit easier. In my last class – we added up all the kids ages – family members and pets living in the house. The kids loved this exercise – afterall the class was 76 years old – with 99 inhabitants living in their homes! I have to admit that I was also excited about this exercise because It wasn’t planned. Once back at the guest house Megan and I admitted to needing some good ole American caffine and sugar to sustain us for the rest of the day – so off we went to buy the “forbidden fruits” of pepsi and chocolate. After dinner SEAMS was once again a joy as you walk in and are so happily greeted by what seems to be some of the happiest kids I know – who would have ever guessed that that were living in an orphanage. Studying math and reading for an hour with fun activities was admitted by Megan and myself. What a joy these kids are to work with despite the heat – humidity and mosquito bites. Early night – we’re both tired!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
To the world you may just be someone, but to someone you may be the world.
It was great to see how excited the children were to see us again at daycare and school! Things went better this morning at Assisi Illam, thanks to YouTube. I watched some videos of nursery rhymes after breakfast to help me remember the words and hand motions. To all of you future volunteers reading this blog, YouTube will be your best friend if you need help with nursery rhymes! Today at Assisi we learned about animals. Laura brought the cutest elephant puppet, which she let me borrow for the toddlers. They loved it! We also played the children’s favorite game: Juice Banana. It is like our “Duck, Duck, Goose” game but instead of saying “duck” and “goose” the children say “Juice Banana” as they tap each head. The kids think this game is hilarious.
Laura and I were greeted at Grace School by two girls who had written a note for us. The note was very sweet, telling us how the girls liked us so much. They also wrote that Laura has pretty hair and clothes (which she does ). I had a good lesson with the 5th graders, we worked on adjectives and sentence structure. The 4th grade kids were rowdy today compared to yesterday, but we still had a good time learning. Laura shared with me that she had a good time with the children also, but agreed that they were a bit rowdy today.
At SEAMs we had our same groups as yesterday, which made the kids happy. Laura had great success with a game she used yesterday with her group of 5th graders. I tried this same game with my 4th graders but found that they were not quite advanced enough for it yet. Instead we spent the evening doing math (their favorite thing to learn) and playing “Snap Card.” I am still not exactly sure what “Snap Card” is but it seemed a lot like the old game “Memory” that I played as a kid. Each time they picked a card, they would read the word on it by spelling it/sounding it out. Many of the words were new to them, so it was a good exercise
Over all it was a good day today. I am looking forward to see what tomorrow brings.
Wednesday – October 13, 2010
“This is the first time Im doing anything like this and I’m worried that I’m not doing enough for the kids” Megan
Today started as the others this week – a hearty breakfast followed by our morning trips to Grace School and Issi Allam. The first graders were much more attentive today as one of the teachers reminded them that they are to keep quiet so mam could teach them. The second graders read a book called Five Scarey Monsters – sang a song about them and then drew a picture of their favorite one. The 3rd grade class did addition and subtraction problems all the way across the blackboard. Ive discovered the kids love to read in front of the class – answer questions – write on the blackboard and choose their own crayon color!
Megan shared that the day care children were back to their high energy state and she was challenged to keep them focused. But she will continue to reinvent and watch more YouTube videos for nursery rhymes.
We had a wonder traditional Indian lunch served on a banana leaf today complete with a local sweet called Ladu. The food continues to be wonderful.
Back to SEAMS late this afternoon – today I worked with the 4/5th grade girls instead of the boys. We read a book together on Ghandi and then they asked me to sing and dance. – I told them Id be happy to watch them (sorry to say I haven’t danced in public in years). Megan also had a great time teaching the basics to some younger boys and being impressed at how smart some of the kids are! Stephen reminded us that each volunteer is critical to the success of the childrens growth and development in English so we should ever think our contributions are small.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
“Did you put gel on your face?” – Ashley, 5th Grade at Grace School
To describe South India as hot would be a major understatement! I feel like I have been sweating non-stop from the moment I stepped off the plane. It amazes me how no one here seems to sweat though, except for me . A student today asked if I had put gel on my face, because it was so shiny. When I explained that my face was shiny because of the heat, he just bobbled his head at me.
Today was much better at Assisi due to the children being well behaved. We spent the morning writing the alphabet on the black board, reading books, and (of course) playing Juice Banana. I was called out as “Juice!” today and ran around the circle chasing little Vinodinni as she giggled. These kids are so cute and special. While I find them to be a challenge, I am grateful for every moment I get to spend with them.
Good day at Grace School with the children. In 5th grade we read about Helen Keller, did math, and played Chalk Board Chain. The kids really enjoyed this game and tried to come up with the most difficult words they could, to out-do the other students. We played the same game in 4th grade, but here the students were competing to see how many words they could come up with before settling on one to write on the board. In 4th grade we also read a story and did classmate interviews. In this exercise a student would come to the front of the class to be interviewed by the other students. Each student would take turns asking a question of the student being interviewed. This exercise was helpful because it pushed the kids to form questions/sentences in ways they do not usually do. By the end of the exercise the children were laughing, trying to come up with random and silly questions. Some of them had much broader vocabularies than I expected!
SEAMs was fun as always! I worked with the younger boys and girls again on their alphabets while Laura worked with the older girls. She brought princess crowns for the girls to play with, which they loved! Laura took some great pictures of the girls dressed up like princesses.
It is hard to believe that tomorrow is Friday already! Time here is going so fast!
Friday, October 15, 2010 – Day 5
“ Love is shown in actions not words”.
Its Friday already – the week went quickly. Settled into the routine now and finding the children a joy. Discovered that Ive forgotten so many math equations and have to double check the answers before telling the kids if they are correct or not. Never met kids before who asked to do math! Its back to English and reading on Monday. Tonite we took all the balls to SEAMS – the kids were so happy and enthusiastic! A little too much so as we also saw several of them crying after getting hit in the face or head with a swift kick from a hard soccer ball or two. But it was great and they really enjoyed the break from studying. Off to Pondicherry this weekend for some sightseeing – Megan and I are both looking forward to it.