Sandra Berlin

 

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Day 1, July 9th 2018:

I arrived to Jaipur around 5:30 pm, I wasn’t nervous about being here but I was worried that the person who came looking for me was going to recognize me or even if he/she was going to come at the right time. As soon as I got out from the airport I saw a men with a Tushita Foundation sign and he was really nice and smiley and welcoming. He told me his name and asked me if I was Ana´s sister and we talked on the way home. When I arrived to the house, I met the other volunteers really quick and unpacked my things and decorated my room a bit. The volunteers explained to me some of the rules of the house and how Bim left dinner for us and we must to clean our dishes. We had dinner together and we were getting to know each other. I felt really welcomed by Bim and Virendra and I could relate a lot with Victoria, CJ and Oli.

I felt very excited and happy to finally be here.

 

Day 2:

I woke up really early in the morning because I was too excited to meet the teachers and students at the foundation. I was also very jet lagged so I had a hard night but since I was so happy I didn’t feel tired at all.

As soon as we got to the foundation, I could see the teachers with signs that had “welcome” and our names on it and they were all happy and smiley and excited! I felt instantly welcome because of the warmth of the community. The teachers then gave me a flower necklace “mala” and they put a “Tilak” in my forehead as an indian ritual. We had a  teacher session to introduce ourselves, explain our projects and understand how the foundation works.

I started my first lesson with the students by introducing a children song called “lets go to the zoo” which includes all the senses, students sang, danced, watched images and understood the animals and how they move. After that we played a game to learn their names so I threw a ball at them and they had to tell me their name and favorite animal.

The last activity was to draw a self-portrait, I first introduced the word portrait by asking them what they though “self’ meant, they all answered “myself’ then I asked them if they knew what a portrait was and someone said a picture, so I explained that a self-portrait could be a photograph, painting or drawing of themselves. They drew it and I asked them to also include what things they like the most to get to know them. They presented their work to the rest of the class by talking about their drawings and explaining in full sentences what they liked.

 

Day 3:

For the second session with the children I asked them to draw their families and explain who their family members where, what they did (as a job) and what they did for them. They explain that their parents give them love, buys them clothes, cook them meals, take me to school, etc. and the jobs they did. Almost all the fathers where either drivers or stone-makers. This activity was so that we could get to know each other and for them to realize and be thankful by everything their parents do for them.

 

Day 4:

On day four, I gave them their new notebooks and introduced it as their personal journal. I told them to color a pretty cover that includes their names and most important I asked them to give their notebooks a name. This is to make the journal more personal and I explained that it would be their friend, they would laugh on it, cry on it, write on it, draw on it, etc. I took them the entire session because they were very inspired.

 

Day 5:

On day 5 I asked the children to draw TF in the first page, I noticed that they only drew the building without people on them, so I asked if they could draw some friends, teachers and people. Almost all of them drew either Virendra or Tilak. I found that very interesting and cute. They explained what they liked the most about TF and what they did while they were here.

 

Day 6:

For the sixth day, I introduced 4 primary emotions in the first batch, but only two in the other ones because there were more students. I first asked them if they knew what an emotion was, someone said “happy” I told him it was correct and I started asking to the rest of the class one by one if they knew other emotions. They said, sad, angry, happy, “crazy” (I corrected them on that and explained why it wasn’t an emotion).

 

They understood what an emotion was so I explained that every emotion had a feeling, so when there is “happiness” you feel happy and then I explained that every feeling had an expression and for happiness you smile. I asked every student when or why they felt happy and made them write the moment as a sentence. They wrote: I feel happy when I come to TF. I feel happy when I get a gift, etc.

They quickly figured out that sadness was the emotion, sad the feeling and crying or not smiling the expression. I asked them again to explain and share when they feel sad. One student wrote that she felt sad when she didn’t do well in her exams.

For the “afraid” emotion I noticed that a girl wrote “I felt scared when if broke something”. You could immediately understand that her mom yells at her when she breaks something. Other students wrote “when my mom gets mad” and another student wrote “when my mom goes to my grandmother’s home” so I asked her if it was because she was left alone and she said yes.

 

I found this activity the most interesting one because you could really understand what they felt, what they need or where they come from.

They loved the activity and they imitated the emojis and they also drew them next to the sentences to link it with the emotion and feeling. It was my favorite session.

 

Week 2: 16th July

In the first day of the week, we finished learning 4 basic emotions that are: sadness, happiness, anger and fear. I asked the students to give me examples of when they felt some of these emotions so they made a summary all together by passing to the front and writing their examples in the board and I also asked them to read them out loud and speak confidently.
Day two: we started painting the happiness emotion. They were surprised that I told them to paint with their hands, some of them refused since they wanted brushes but I told them that it was forbidden. They started painting with their hands a little bit disappointed but they finished their paintings and they were amazing! We painted happy in a yellow color.

 

Day three: for this day, the students were excited to paint with their fingers! They already knew how to do it! They didn’t ask for brushes anymore and they liked painting with their hands. They only use brushes when it comes to details of eyes, nose and mouth. We painted sadness in blue this time.
Day four: they all know how everything works now! As soon as they got in to the class, they started putting newspaper on the ground, taking out the paint, passing the sheets of paper and the boards… they were really excited and couldn’t wait to start! The classes passed by so fast while painting! Some of them got angry when they heard the bell ring and some others stayed more time to finish what they were doing. We painted anger in red. (Anger was a hard expression, they couldn’t draw an angry face so told them to imitate the expression and look at each other to really see what the face does. I asked them to look at our forehead and how it frowns. I asked them to see the eyebrows and how they move and to see the way our mouth gets angry as well) some of them really managed to represent the angry expression, others are serious faces.

Day five: they love painting, even the ones who hesitated at the beginning are really good at it now! We can’t wait for the equipment to paste them in the wall! It’s gonna look so colorful and full of our personalities!! Today we will try to draw fear in a purple color, I didn’t know which color to pick until I thought that your pressure actually goes down and you can pass out by fear. So I think purple is the perfect one.

It would have been interesting to ask the kids to pick a colour for an emotion.

 

Week 3, July 23rd – 27th

Monday:

This week I had to be really flexible and change my entire week plan, we were supposed to continue painting the emotions, but I figured it would be really hard on the kids to paint for two weeks straight and write the next two weeks. For that reason, Payal and I decided to start writing sentences with the 6 emotions we had already learnt and see if they could identify the names with the emotions. I made them take their happy emotion and write a sentence that explained a situation in which they are happy. They identified it well and then I asked them to mimic happiness expression, they all did. Then I asked them to take their sad painting and write a situation in wich they felt sad, but this time I didn’t mention the name of the emotion, I took a painting and asked what emotion it was, when they answered it was sad, they had to write the sentence. This way, during the exercise they had to remember the name of the emotion, imitate the expression and write a full sentence of a moment in which they felt it. It was nice to be able to adapt to what the students needed because they all voted to write instead of continue painting, and we agreed that next week we´re gonna lear the new emotions and do our drawings.

For the new kids, I told them to draw their cover for the diary, and also to draw their self-portrait and the things they like or hobbies. They each had to pass to the front and introduce themselves with full sentences so that we could get to know each other.

During the teacher session, we read some poems of Rupi Kaur and made them reflect upon them and discuss what she writes about, we got all together and talked about our weekend so that the teachers can practice their English. It was nice to read the poems because we could see how they thought the words were literal, so we explained that often metaphors are used and that you had to give the poem your own meaning.

 

Tuesday:

For Tuesday, given the improvising, I had to figure out another activity to see if they would be able to identify the emotion with its correspondent word and give examples.

I came up with charades and acting to make them more confident, do a fun activity/game and to have fun during the class. What I did was that I took to students outside of the class and told them what they had to act. For example: I took Chanchal and Pooja and told Chanchal that she had to act like the mother, Pooja had to act like the daughter and Chanchal would give Pooja a gift, so Pooja had to act surprised.

When I came back to the class I specified to the students that they had to say not only the emotion but the situation as well, they had to figure out 2 characters, what they were doing and what the actor felt. It worked out perfectly! They said that Pooja and Chanchal were friends that gave each other gifts and that made them feel surprised.

I took more students out and they all had to give full sentences to explain what they understood from the acting. Some of them are still very shy, but I think if I keep playing activities like this in which they must pass to the front and be stared at it will get easier for them to be in public. They liked the game a lot and since we still had thirty minutes, I asked them to write new sentences.

With the new students, they started finishing their self-portraits, so some of them passed to the front and introduced themselves to the class, two of them had a really good English, I have to keep working with some of them because they still have difficulties in expressing their ideas in English.

The ones who finished also started their new drawing that was about their families, they will introduce us to their families tomorrow.

For the teacher session, I asked Ruchi and Firdous to finish their priority web. This web is created to see which are your priorities, how to make them work and have an idea of how much progress you have throughout the month. For example: I wrote that my priority number one were the students in Tushita foundation, to make it work I must do my planning in time, investigate more about resilience and emotions, find out more activities for the kids, be creative and flexible, etc. My second priority was my family, I should stay in touch with them, ask them how they feel and what they’ve done, etc. They liked the activity and found ir very useful. Now they will have to fill a part of their web every week if the managed to accomplish their goals or live it empty if they didn’t put that much effort to evaluate their progress.

Wednesday:

To continue with writing and expressing of emotions, I told the students that we were going to correct the sentences they made during the last class, but that we were a team so we would do it all together. I specified that it was alright to make mistakes, that we were going to correct them together but not to judge, only to grow together. That way I could see if the other students identified the correct answers and how the student that was getting corrected reacted. I was surprised to see that no one got angry or felt bad when they had corrections, and that the ones correcting didn’t laughed or made fun but took it really serious and we all understood our mistakes.

 

Each student came to the front and wrote their sentences choosing whatever emotion they wanted to share, I could learn a lot about them thanks to that, Farah wrote that she felt disgusted when people ate pigs, but she also shared that she liked eating buffalo. At that moment, a student asked me if I ate pigs and I said that I did, and then they asked me if I ate pig and I answered that I did and made it really normal, another student then asked me if I ate cow, and I said that I did. (I truly think that I’m teaching emotions and values I won’t lie to them) so chanchal got very surprised for my answered and asked me again if I ate meat. I wasn’t going to stop the conversation without explaining and I tried to make it as normal as possible, Payal was a bit nervous and I didn’t want that to happen to me, so I stayed firm and started talking about cultures, I told them that in my country we have different beliefs and traditions, that they were different but that didn’t mean one was bad and the other one good, and that it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person or anything I just have different traditions and that that was what I loved the most about the foundation, because it gives me the opportunity of learning from them and that because of that I’m not eating cow now and that I loved when they share their traditions and beliefs with me. Everyone understood and I think the topic was well managed because I didn’t make it at all awkward because there is no need for that, it’s something normal so It would be wrong for me to make it look bad. Only Chanchal was confused but I talked to her at the end and she left home really happy and calm. I don’t know if what happened was wrong or right and I would love your opinion for growing and changing things and to be prepared for further situations.

 

With the new students, we continued the self-portrait drawings and the ones who finished made some sentences about themselves and that way I could see their level of English, which in my opinion is amazing. I didn’t expect them to write that good and I believe that all of them could stay in lily class.In the teacher session, we joined with Victoria to learn about diabetes. It was very interesting and the teachers learnt a lot.

 

Thursday:

I was a little bit nervous because of what happened during the last class, I didn’t want the students to feel uncomfortable with me but it turns out that they were all happy and normal as usual so that made me feel very calmed and ready to teach 2 of my favorite emotions!

I started with gratitude, my way of explaining it was to say that when a “THANK YOU“ is not enough, you feel GRATEFUL. I gave this example: I feel grateful to my parents for allowing me to come here and teach you.

– I say thank you to the man that gives me coffee.

I gave both examples and I told them that you can feel thankful to anyone but not grateful to everyone because grateful came from the heart and I don’t give my heart to the person who gives me coffee but I do to god and to my mom. They understood it really well and gave me perfect examples. (I asked them to close their eyes and imagine a color for grateful and they all answered pink. So, PINK for grateful J )

After that I taught them serenity I made sure to help them with the pronunciation first because they were having a hard time with it, but they managed! And then I asked them to close their eyes and imagine a place in which they feel safe, happy, calmed, quiet, loved and respected. When they opened their eyes they all said different temple names! I was shocked, in every other country I’ve been, including my own, I had never seen children think of temples as their peaceful place, I guess it is because we are not used to meditate and we follow religion because our parents take us to church but otherwise, small children never go there for their own. I LOVED BEING PART OF THAT MOMENT.

Then I noticed how the understood how they only fee serene while they are alone or meditating, so I told them that I FEEL SERENE WHEN I COME HERE AND TEACH YOU. And they understood that you can also feel serene while being with people and doing what you love the most. I asked them again to close their eyes and think of a color that made them feel serene, in both batches, they all said that they felt orange was serenity!! I LOVE IT! So, orange for serene <3 !!

 

Week 4, July 28th –August 3rd

Monday:

This Monday we continued our paintings! Students in first and second batch painted their correspondent emotion. The new students found it very unfamiliar to paint with their fingers, but they actually enjoyed it faster than the first students. My first batch is good at drawing now, they are very fast and focused when they do it and their way of drawing expressions is so perfect! They even know that eyebrows can change an entire emotion, as well as the shape of eyes, and mouth! I am very impressed. For the third batch, last Friday they told me that their grateful and serene place was home… they said they were really lucky to have a place where they felt safe, so I decided to do home visits on Friday. We didn’t have enough time so this Monday I continued the home visits and it was one of the most beautiful experiences ever! Their parents were so nice and grateful, they showed me their houses, offered me water and some of them even gave me gifts. They girls were so proud and excited about their houses, they couldn’t wait for Payal and me to see it. I felt so grateful.

Tuesday:

On Tuesday, all batches did their paintings, I thought I would have some trouble with the new students because of the lack time to teach them, but I am managing on teaching them the 4 basic emotions and paint them during the same class. I give examples of situations so they identify which emotion it is, for example: when I was in my house, my sister took my things without telling me and she broke them. How would you feel? And they all replied angry. I said that I was playing with all my friends in the garden, and they all replied happiness. After I did that and they guessed the emotion, I would make each kid tell me a situation in which they felt sad, happy, angry or whichever the emotion was in order to get a white page to start drawing, that way, I challenged them to think, identify and speak in the class.  The other students already knew how to paint, so that went out smoothly.  We painted happy with the new students and serenity with other ones.

 

Wednesday:

I continued using the same method of questions for the kids, so I would ask them to say a sentence about when or why they feel serene, if they answered I would give them the blank page in order to start their painting, that way they would all think, speak and apply the knowledge in daily live situations. The new students are very good at painting and they work really fast, I have to put Hello, Hello song as the last activity because we end up having more time. The old students are now really  fast at painting but they do it extremely good! I am very happy to now be able to identify each of their drawings, because even though the emotion changes, every time they draw the put a specific thing and it’s very personalized, like a signature.  We painted sadness with the new students and gratitude with the other ones.

 

Thursday:

It is almost my last day with them… I feel really sad to leave them but also excited to meet new students. I feel like my project is gonna help a lot to students who have a more advanced English because they will be able to express themselves better.

During class, we painted scary and bored, bored was color gray and I Ioved it because it look really cool! Everything was black and white and the drawings had serious faces. Payal has been excellent all the time, she is a really passionate teacher and we work very well together because we understand the children’s’ feelings. I loved working with her.

 

Friday:

For first and second batch, I wanted to do an activity to reinforce the numbers that include learning through senses. We printed numbers on different sheets, cut them separately and gave out numbers from 1 to 10 randomly to each child. The first instruction was to paint the number of fingertips as your number is. So, if they had a 7 they painted 7 fingertips. If they had number 4, 4 and so on. The next activity while this got dry, we introduced our first song that includes all the numbers from 1 to 10 so they had to shout the number and then do it backwards from 10 to 1 and surprisingly every student was able to do that without difficulties. To make it more challenging for them, I asked them to put their hands in front with no fingers and as soon as they sang the number they had to represent it with their fingers. So they sang 4 and put 4 fingers up and so on. It was very nice and it was hard for them when we got to the backwards part of the song but I think they will be able to make it soon. First batch is always more challenging because the students are a bit older than third batch and noisier and pay less attention, but at the end even if it takes a little bit more time, they always manage to do the activities properly and I am in love with all of them! They are so sweet and cute. I had to improvise a trick so that they would stop shouting maam at the same time and we could all listen to each other and concentrate better. I stood up in a chair and shouted “crick“, and then told them, “every time I shout “crick“ you will scream “crack“ very loud. But be careful, because after the crack, everyone has to stay still and quiet, because this game is for grownups and not even them can manage to be quiet after the crack and they always loose the game!  do you think you can do it? They all said yes, I tried it and it worked perfectly haha, now, when the class is really noisy and students are not paying attention to the instructions, I say crick they say crack and the class is really focused and quiet. They love the game and scream as loud as they can. I obviously let them talk during the activities, but we don’t shout anymore.

Second batch continued learning the alphabet, we taught them letter c and d the same way but on Friday we are doing a fun activity and game with them because they have been working very hard these past days. The activity will include knowledge of the letters, team-work and coloring!

 

September, 17th-20th

Day 1:

This Monday we started learning shapes and colors. We knew they already identified the shapes but some of them forgot their names, so we reinforced that in order to do our next activity on Wednesday. We played educational videos on Youtube that made the kids pay attention, have fun and repeat the words after the video. The videos showed how shapes could transform into objects and that gave students ideas for hour drawing!

We started teaching the same topics to second batch because we figured out that they already knew the alphabet, so we will apply the same activities to all our sunflower students. Although, we are going to do it slower with the new ones.

For teacher session we debated about whether abortion should be legal or illegal, all teachers came up with different ideas and reasons why it was wrong to get abortions and to create debatable points of view, I started giving a lot of examples of circumstances in which abortion is taken as a right for the mother and children, a lot of them reconsidered their position and we came to the conclusion that it was a good decision to make it legal for some circumstances.

 

Day 2:

We continued teaching shapes and colors and made exercises to reinforce it. We watched different videos and we explained our next activity so that they start thinking about what they will want to create with the paper shapes.  Second batch learnt faster and understood the class rules way better this week, we are really happy about our decision to teach the same thing to all our students.

I am teaching Ruksar and Geeta Ji, they asked me to teach them a little bit of computer programs, so to link it with my project, they started doing a presentation about themselves in PowerPoint. They have to include pictures, videos, things they like, family members, who they are, etc. I will see how many tools they know how to use on PowerPoint, they will present it out loud and introduce themselves. After that, I will show them all the amazing tools we can use and how a presentation in PowerPoint can be very professional and nice. I will send you the first presentation they make without me interfering, and also the second one so that we can see how many more things they add and learn how to use.

 

Day 3:

After learning shapes, we wanted to see student’s creativity through applying the knowledge they had. We separated them in groups and we made sure each student had 2 big shapes. After that, we put some smaller shapes in the center so that they would share them and take the ones they need to create something. We did not give them any ideas or help them at all, this way we could see their own capacity and creativity in imagining shapes. The final drawings were amazing and we were so surprised because even the smallest ones, created wonderful art.

Today’s teacher session is dedicated to write lesson plans and journal.

 

September, 24th-28th

On Monday in during teacher session we played a game called taboo, that encouraged the

teachers to find ways to describe objects. It was really good for their English.

We reminded students the names of the expressions: happy, sad, angry and scared. We played games so that they would guess which expression we were acting and after that they all had to imitate each expression. We watched videos at the end and learnt children songs of the same topic. It was a nice session and Payal gave two batches this time because it was her lesson plan.

 

Tuesday:

For teacher session I am with Ruksar and Geeta Ji, we are working on power point

presentations so I asked them to do a presentation to introduce themselves as if didn’t know them. I didn’t want to help them at all because I want to see how much knowledge they have before teaching them how to use it properly. They are both very excited and they are choosing a lot of pictures to describe their families and all. I asked them to send me the presentation they did before so we can compare after and before knowing the tools of the program.

With the students I had the class by myself. It was quite hard because sunflower batches are really big so I had to teach 32 to 35 students by myself since Payal was doing assessments today. I asked Lilima to tell the students that I needed their help today because I had to see if they were grown ups enough to follow the instructions of only one teacher.

We wrote our first summary! It was really short and I wanted to see how much they could write and they all made it really good! They summary looked like this:

  •         Happy: I smile and laugh
  •         Sad: I cry
  •         Angry: I frown
  •         Surprised: I jump

 

At the end, they had to draw each emoji in their notebooks. The summary helped explaining not only the emotions and their names but also how we react to them.

 

Wednesday:

Today during teacher session, Geeta Ji and Ruksar finishes their presentation with the knowledge they had using PowerPoint. After they finished, they both presented it to me, and then I explained to them how to use amazing tools on the program and outside of it. I explained how to download music from YouTube into their computer and taught them how to put in in their presentation, so they can put their favorite song as background while presenting the PowerPoint slides. I also taught them how to put animated pictures that move during the presentation! They loved the features and the final task was to explore all they could in PowerPoint because I told them it’s the best way to learn how to use a program and discover new tools. They will finish the presentation today and we will send it to you so that you can see what they learnt.

With the students, I had a talk with Veenaji and Lilima because I saw that a lot of kids in sunflower didn’t know how to read, most of them know phonics but not how to join their sound to form words, so I asked if I could teach them how to read instead of making them write because that way they finish the process that is more important and writing comes with it.

I don’t want students to drag problems with writing or phonics through their next batches, I want them to be the good at one thing before learning another (can you please confirm if you agree with this).

Veena and Lilima agreed so Payal and me started separating students in two groups with each batch. I wrote small words like: arm, across, air, all, etc. The first group of students were the ones who knew how to read and pronounce the sounds of each letter to make a word. We have the names of students in third and first batch who managed to read and they will be one group.

Students from first and third batch that know the phonics were separated and are going to be in one group as well. ALL OF SECOND BATCH IS GOING TO LEARN PHONICS AND HOW TO PUT THEM TOGETHER.

There were around 6 students that didn’t know the alphabet in either hindi or English, we separated them as well to see what to do and how to teach them separately.

CONCLUSIONS:

I will teach the students with the higher level in English and phonics, I will not teach them how to write at all, I will make them good at reading and reinforce their phonics! I saw that the know how to read small words so I will make them read all the small words of each letter.  The read the words joining sounds and were able to read the word at the end. Ex: aaaarrrrmm (phonics) arm (word)

I want our children to have that joy too.

 

October, 1st- 5th

Day 3:

On Wednesday, we started the session with our division in sunflower. Some students went with Jyoti and Shalu, half of the class was with Firdous and the other half was with me.

As I commented before, the students that I have are the ones who already know how to pronounce two or more alphabet sounds together, they technically know how to read small words and are able to understand the meaning. I wanted to see what their level was and how much vocabulary they knew, so I came up with a new game that wasn’t in my lesson plan. I wrote a big letter A in the board, I asked the sound and I gave two words with it. apple and arm. I told them that the person who said a word with A would win a star, so Veshnawi said: auntie. I wrote her name on the board and drew a star. As soon as I did that, all the other students were so happy and started thinking of words with A to say. I was very surprised at the end of this letter because they manage to say at least 15 words with A and I didn’t know they knew so many. I did the same thing with letters B and C. the blackboard was filled with their own vocabulary words. 20 minutes before the end of the class, I stopped the game and made sit properly (because they were all over the place due to excitement) and I started explaining the meaning of each word that I saw on the board. Some I explained with mimics but I drew most of the words and they were happy to see the board with drawings.

 

Day 4:

I already knew they were stronger than I thought in vocabulary, so this time I wanted to see how good they were at reading. It’s harder for me to follow lesson plans because some days I can feel they are tired of reading words with flashcards or things like that, so I taught the same thing and a different way. I again made up a game at that second by looking at the flashcards and by looking at them and their needs. I asked them to make a circle, (I don’t have a large group of students anymore so the work is better I think, more personalized and deeper). After they made their circle, I explained that I would pass one flashcard with 3 words on it. I would read the first one and if I read it correctly, I would pass it to the person in the right. But if I didn’t read it properly, I would have to stand in the middle and dance! They all giggled and were very focused once the activity started. We played the game and I could see how much effort they put, if a person didn’t know how to read a word, I would stop the game, he would dance in the center (very happily, btw) and then I would explain to all of them what the sound of each letter was and the meaning of the word. I realized that the short words were definitely easy for them, but the long words are still the ones that need practice. We made it until letter Z so I was very proud of them!

I think I want to use these two games and some other methods to make reading easier and more exciting. I hope I can come up with more games and things to motivate students.

 

October 8th- 12th

Day 1:

We started our session with meditation as usual. Firdous is very good at conducting this meditation.

At the beginning of the class, I took the books we read on Friday to put them in the shelf, but as soon as students saw it they were so excited and started asking me if we were going to read. I realized that their level is advanced enough to read the phonic books instead of the flashcards so we started to read all together in a circle. The method we are using right now is that each of us reads one page, that way, they all pay attention to see what they should read next and they get to make voices and intonations of the characters differently. They really love reading, I had never seen before that students were so excited to choose their book and to practice reading out loud. I believe that they are also building confidence because they don’t think twice before reading out loud anymore, and when they read something wrong, I immediately repeat that word correctly so that all of us says it again so they don’t even have time to giggle about someone else because we all repeat each of our friends mistakes.

 

Day 2:

We started our session with meditation as usual. Firdous conducted this one as well.

I love to see children relax and breath and imagine everything firdous say. We ask them at the end of the meditation what they saw and they all share very excited different things they were able to imagine. We made our division and my students asked me “what book are we reading today!“  I let them choose 5 books. After they chose the books we were reading today, we started our class by reading one page each. They are building their confidence by reading out loud, they also repeat each word that is not read correctly and we all learn from the other one´s pronunciation. I always try to invent an activity with each book, so this time we jumped like kangaroos, then swam like tadpoles, etc. in between every book they do some physical activity to get distracted, focused and have fun.

 

Day 3:

Today I saw that each student wanted a different book to read in class, so I let them choose and asked them to read in their minds this time without speaking the words out loud, but I also asked them to tell me if they didn’t know how to pronounce a word. They did let me know when a word was hard or when they didn’t know the meaning and I would individually help them reading it. They liked reading individually and I could see their little fingers following the words one by one and how focused they were! Every time they understood a full sentence, they got excited and jumped and share with me what was happening in their stories.

 

Day 4:

Since we had read a lot non-stop this week and it had been two weeks since all sunflowers weren’t all together, we decided to take them outside to the playground to play, when we got there, we saw a lot of candy trash and plastic, so instead of playing we asked them to collect trash they saw in the playground and explained to them how it was theirs to take care of and clean because it’s where we all play. They cleaned almost all the trash and were playing when collecting it so they had a lot of fun while taking care of their space. After that, we made circles and sang “head, shoulder, knees and toes “ , “5 little monkeys“ and “peal banana“ we laughed and had fun all together.

 

October, 22nd- 26th

Monday:

We finally gave the “word books” to the students! They were really excited to receive a new book and we gave the entire explanation on how that book was going to help us be better in English and in Hindi and that it was a gift to be able to write whatever we discover so that we never forget it. I wrote their names on the notebooks with a nice and big letter and they loved it!

 

Tuesday:

Of course no one can have a notebook without a touch of your creativity or personality! We made our own cover page! I asked them to write their names and draw whatever they liked! We got all kinds of nice drawings, flowers, houses, animals and even ghosts. They put a lot of effort on this because I told them that it was theirs to decorate and to make it different from anyone else’s. We wrote our first two words today, the words come out of books they like and are interested in, this one is called “Zac and the vet” which obviously made us start with the word “veterinary, with shirt “vet” and we defined it as doctor for animals. They drew it and wrote it in Hindi as well. Our second word was “Pet” since I saw that they didn’t understand the difference between pets and other animals. We defined it as: small animals that live in our house and give them love. We drew the most popular ones that came from their comments which where: cat, dog, parrot, mouse. After their summary, they coloured their drawings.

 

Wednesday:

we took a different book today! It’s called “shop” and we had to define that word first. We defined it as: a place where we buy things we need. And gave them the example by acting of me going to a shop to get milk and pencils and clothes. They all always give me the word in Hindi when they understand the meaning, which makes me think that they are actually learning new vocabulary and I’m so happy for that! The next words of the book were really easy and they knew them, it was food they already know and buy, but we found one word that wasn’t in their vocabulary. The word was: “shell”. We defined shell as a “strong protection for small animals”. I drew two shells and I drew a crab on one so that they see how animals live inside of shells. Again they figured out the word in Hindi and made their drawing.

 

Thursday:

this phonics books are getting easy for them and I couldn’t be more excited about that! We are using the advanced phonics books now because they already know a lot and the vocabulary is not hard. We’re looking only at words that are hard to understand and new for them. We wrote two new words again and we can’t wait to read new books this Friday!!

 

Teacher session:

For teacher session on Monday and Tuesday, we made the resilience test, it was a series of 50 questions to be answered by “true” or “false” regarding self-esteem, resilience, interpersonal relationships and stress and anxiety management. It was a nice activity from my point of view because it also gave the teacher’s a lot of new vocabulary about emotions and resilience that they had never heard and we all reflected a lot about our reactions and conducts during and after adverse situations. At the end of the test, I sent the way to check it to everyone because they all have to count their own answers, it doesn’t give you a score but it puts you in different percentages, if you had less than 25% it meant that you found life very challenging and that you could not be positive or optimist and got stuck in bad situations, NO ONE HAD THIS SCORE ♥♥ they were all very resilient and only a few of them were in the average percentage that states that they are resilient but in some situations they need to work out their resilience to improve and be less scared of change and be more optimistic and worry less about the future.

Most of them were above average!! I was so happy to see this because it is only 25% of the people who take the test that end up there and almost all of them did! It talks about how resilient they are against adversity and how well they control emotions

To close this 2 sessions of resilience I made a circle (my favorite way to speak as you know) and asked them if they found something surprising or unexpected about themselves and if they would like to work on an specific matter. They all one by one talked about how they activity went, if they liked it or not and each of them gave me examples of questions that they would like to change the answer to. Some teachers talked about not being able to control their emotions and anger, others talked about how they can’t speak their minds when another figure of power is in the room, others volunteers talked about how they can’t talk about their problems to their friends even tho they know they can, how hard it is to share their feelings and worries… many more things came out on what they’d like to change or work on so I made a list of all this things and if it is okay with all of you and correct for me to do it, i can give each of them specific exercises to write and work on their resilience and emotions. They all wanted me to do it and started asking recommendations and answers and it was really nice to see how we all want to improve things, I am waiting to see if it sounds like a good idea!!

 

November, 12th -16th

Monday:

Since we just came back from one week holiday, we thought it was important for the kids to express and share what they did with their families, if they had fun, what they ate, played, etc. I also wanted to see how much they noticed and realized that happens during holidays. Therefore, my first activity for the week was a drawing about what they did during the Diwali week. I asked them to be very careful with details and to try to remember everything they saw to put in their work of art. The drawings came out very nice! They all (obviously) drew food! Some of them drew their fancy outfits. Fireworks, decorations and even match boxes!!

 

Tuesday:

I wanted to relate their drawings with words so that each kid understands the meaning after an experience they lived. They all showed their drawings and they would tell me what they drew. A lot of the words were easy for them and they already knew them. Like candle, matches, fireworks, food and crackers. So I came up with 3 words that can be used for any holiday despite the different religions.

The words were:

o   Celebration

o   Feast

o   Decoration

I wrote the meaning of each word in 1 line and they did the respective drawing to associate it with.

 

Wednesday:

We celebrated children’s day today!! We had different races in the playground and we danced! Students were really happy!! They all laughed and played and ran across the playground! The teachers too, it was a lovely experience!

 

Thursday:

I had a little difficulty with this day´s lesson plan because I was planning to introduce to them some vocabulary words of children´s day. I planned 3 words: game, race and medal, but when I asked Lilima to explain the reason behind children´s day, she remembered that the past class I taught them celebration, feast and decoration. She asked what the last vocab words were, but since they didn’t have class the day after, they forgot in first batch. I don’t want to confuse them or give more words before they understand the past ones, so we reviewed their meaning, I did the drawings again and in this batch before teaching the new words they wrote 5 times each other word and on hindi too.

Second batch remembered the past words and their meaning so they wrote and drey children´s day vocabulary words.

Third batch students were absent on Tuesday, so I had to give them the first set of Celebration words

At the end, first and third batch got a little behind, but at least they will remember the words and their meaning and I will make sure that they catch up but in their own time

I liked this week and the words that came out and how they were able to link it to a life experience and how smart they are that they got them by themselves after sharing what they did during both activities.

 

Friday: Reading day

In circle, each student reads one page out loud. (it’s the method they enjoy the most and pay more attention to). They gain confidence, we all correct each other in a friendly way and we learn to work with our classmates.

 

November, 19th – 23rd

Monday:

I started this first session with ice-breaking activities so that I got familiar with the new students. We went to the playground and Ruchi and I taught them the “hello, hello´´ song so that they would be more confident while dancing and singing! They enjoyed it so much we had to play it 5 times! But they all learned the steps and they will soon have all the words. After that, we went upstairs and sat on a circle, I told them I would throw a ball at them and they would have to say their name, favorite color, favorite animal and hobby. This was good because I could see their level of English and learn their names!! After that, I decided to explain what my class was going to be about, I asked them if they knew what emotions were and waited for them to identify anything related. They did, in all three batches some students said, cry, laugh, feelings, etc. I would use their own answers to congratulate them for that and thank them because they were right, emotions involve all the elements you just said. I explained the 4 main emotions, I said that each emotion had a feeling and each feeling had a body response. Ex: Emotion: Sadness – feeling: Sad – body response: crying. I did this with happiness, sadness, anger and fear.

They enjoyed the class and I also made them imitate the expression of each emotion.

After that, I said that we always knew how we felt even if we thought we didn’t. that sometimes they ask us how we´re doing and we say sad and when they ask us why we respond: we don’t know. But we always know, and if not, that is what we are going to learn in this class, because if we learn how to identify our emotions, we learn how to control them. I gave the example that if I was sad in my house, I wouldn’t come to class in a bad mood and yell at them because they were not responsible for my anger. That way, I learn how to control it and I come and give class and forget that I was angry. Same thing happens with everyone, I explained that emotions are very important because EVERY HUMAN BEING HAS THEM, EVERYONE FEELS THEM and that is how we relate with others.

To finish the session, I said that we say this: I FEEL HAPPY WHEN I SEE MY STUDENTS. Then I asked Ruchi to say when she felt sad and she responded: I FEEL SAD WHEN I FIGHT WITH MY SISTER. The students are so bright, with only two examples they each made a sentence! Only some of them made small mistakes but overall they understood the way of expressing. I would ask different feelings to each and they came up with good answers such as: I feel sad when someone dies, I feel happy when I read a book, etc.

I am really happy to be back with me project, I feel like talking and writing about how we feel encourages us to have a better grammar as well. They will form sentences and then paragraph to express their emotions and we will correct the grammar as we go along. They enjoyed the subject and expressed at the end that they understood now the importance of our feelings. They were very focused during the class but we also had lots of fun.

 

Tuesday:

We started the class by asking students how they felt yesterday, we wanted to see how their vocabulary was and if they understood the difference between today and yesterday. I was really impressed because a little girl said she felt sad. We asked her why and she explained that her nephew was in the hospital. I like when students share those kinds of things because now I am keeping an eye her and asking her how her nephew is and how she´s feeling. At the end, I gave her a hug and told her to tell us if she needed anything. Also, she shared that in front of the class so her friends hugged her too and then she said today she´s feeling happy. Other girls said they were happy because they finished some exams, and many other examples.

After that, I did a summary in the board so that they copied the name of the emotion, feeling and draw the expression. I guided a meditation so that they came up with the colors they feel like when they are happy, sad, angry and scared. Each batch came up with different colors and I respected that and let them draw it but we did find one color for all of us, usually the one that was repeated the most. We finished the summary in our regular notebook and to finish the class, Ruchi wrote the name of the emotions and feelings in English and in Hindi and we asked them to write it in their vocabulary notebook to study for the holiday and remember everything on Thursday.

All three batches work really good, they are passionate and serious but also have fun and share and love drawing!! I’m really happy to be with this new class, although I miss my babies in sunflower!

 

Wednesday:

HOLIDAY.

 

Thursday:

To get to know them more and promote their speaking of English in class, students had to draw their own self portrait including everything we have to know about them. They drew things they like or dislike and who their family where, what they wanted to be when they grow older etc. The presentations will be held on Monday, each child will pass to the front and introduce themselves to the class. This also makes the students know who has similar taste, likes and other things in common which makes a friendly environment! All of them enjoyed drawing a lot, I can see that they have some difficulties in speaking but I feel like confidence by standing in public encourages to speak more. I am excited to see how they share who they are with all of us.

 

Friday: Reading day

What did you learn this week?

This week I learnt that there is always a way to teach grammar and encourage kids to speak through different activities. I loved going back to my project because I feel like the find a lot of interest in it.

What was the most challenging moment of the week?

The most challenging part was modify my week plan in order to be able to teach them grammar but also about their emotions and feelings.

What was the most rewarding moment of the week?

The most rewarding part for me was that within the second session, this girl shared that she felt sad because her nephew was in the hospital, I find this activities so good for people to trust and open up. Everyone hugged her and made her feel better and the same day she said “today I am happy“.

 

December,17th – 21st Holidays

January, 7th – 11th

What did you learn this week?

This week I learnt about my new students. It is always exciting to change class and meet new children, the whole point about ice-breaker activities for me is to break the tension and create a friendly environment in which children feel comfortable in sharing who they are and what they like. I already knew some of daisy students but they were the last group I had to teach and I am loving it!

What was the most challenging moment of the week? The most challenging part for me was to make them understand that erasers are not needed when drawing because creativity shuts down when you try to make something perfect.

All drawings are beautiful and there is no need to change them. In order for me to get rid of this problem I said that I  could not find any erasers in the class, they were very surprised but I said that even if I wanted to, we didn’t have any. It worked out well, they started concentrating way better and weren’t focused on perfection, but on drawing.

What was the most rewarding moment of the week? The most rewarding moment for me was to see how creative Daisy class is! i did not expect their drawings to be so good for their age! I was impressed to see that some of them even drew better than older students and that they were passionate about it. Another rewarding moment was to see how confident they were in speaking! They all used high tone while talking in the front and we could hear them even in the back of the room and that had never happened before with me. They all get along pretty well so I feel like that helps them being confident in sharing who they are

 

January, 15th – 18th

What did you learn this week?

This week I learnt how to adapt my lesson plan due to the lack of students that came. I learnt that I could not only focus on students that came because the commonwealth of the entire class would diminish. What I did, was that I gave a different topic that was useful when not many students came, that way, I would give the real topic to all students and the ones who came wouldn’t have to wait while I explained something they already saw. We even changed reading day for a day with almost no students so that the emotions that were more important were learnt by everyone.

What was the most challenging moment of the week?

The most challenging moment was to be flexible enough so that everyone could learn meaningful things. At times it was frustrating because students didn’t come this week, but then I started teaching things that were useful while I waited for the entire class. One day I taught the emotion: sadness to half of the class because the other half was absent, but the next day I gave reading day to students that already learnt sadness and I gave the lesson again for the students that had just come.

What was the most rewarding moment of the week?

The most rewarding moment for the week was to see that at the end of the week we were all in the same page. I modified my lesson plan enough to wait for students that were absent without taking care of the need of the ones that were more responsible. I actually taught them things they needed and we also had time to play and enjoy.

 

January 28th  –February 1st

What did you learn this week?

This week I learnt how to watch and stand back. It was amazing because Geeta Ji taught every single second batch and she did it amazing! I didn’t intervene except for very few times but she would watch me give first batch and she did the same activities including so many new aspects from which I learnt so much. I remember at the beginning I would be nervous because feelings are a little complicated to teach because we should not try to make them feel as we feel or give them a right or wrong because they aren’t any in feeling, only in our actions afterwards, but Geeta demonstrated this knowledge perfectly. I literally sat down in the back of the class while she did everything and I couldn’t feel more proud and happy.

What was the most challenging moment of the week?

The most challenging part of the week was to explain boredom because I didn’t want to encourage children to feel bored or that it was something positive if repeating a lot, but I figured out a way in turning boredom into motivation, I kind of tricked the students into thinking that they were only bored because they didn’t find interest on their own. So I asked how many of them are bored while reading, but asked them if they would feel bored if they were reading about superheroes or animals and they said no. So I explained that everything could be interesting once we identified why we are bored with it. I also gave a math explanation using a pizza and they all had fun while learning fractions, at the end I asked them if they enjoyed math and they said yes, that they were not bored. It was me who was nervous to explain it but at the end children identified that boredom is an important emotion and that  we can always find a way to avoid it.

What was the most rewarding moment of the week?

The most rewarding moment for the week was to see how much Geeta and I share now when it comes to the importance of teaching feelings and emotions. We talk a lot about what children write in their books and how they don’t hesitate in writing how they feel even if it is: feeling angry because my father snores. It is rewarding to see how feelings begin to be important especially in teachers because it is very needed for everyone

 

February 4th – 8th

What did you learn this week?

This week I learnt a lot of new words too! English is not my first language so I learn a lot while teaching! I have been reading a book for the past 2 weeks about the history of humankind and I have found amazing words that I had never heard before. I am doing my own dictionary with these words and these are the ones I come to teach during teacher session. While explaining how to use them I reinforce my learning as well and it’s the best feeling because I am very excited to share them with Payal and Firdous!! They ask me for examples on how to use them or meanings and they challenge me to investigate and practice before each claiss to share it with them wisely..

What was the most rewarding moment of the week?

The most rewarding moment of my week was during teacher session. After learning almost 50 new words during the past sessions, I asked Firdous and Payal to write a story out of nothing with my help and including a minimum of 15 words. I expected the exercise to be hard because we had never done anything like that in which they had to put into practice what they had just learnt while using creativity. They both managed to make amazing meaningful stories!! I have never doubt their capacities and abilities but this was surprising for the three of us because I could see that they were kind of hesitant at first saying that 15 words was a lot and at the end we were all so proud of their work!! They used the words perfectly for every situation!! Writing stories has always been something I enjoy and I feel like it is the best way to practice our grammar and vocabulary, plus we can discover a new world we didn’t know existed in our heads.

What was the most challenging moment of the week?

The most challenging moment for me was that I had to be stern with Abhishek. He is a very smart and nice kid but he always bothers other children and I have seen him slap his friends and take erasers and say that he brought them from home in order not to share them with anyone. It has been going on for 2 weeks and every time I see him I firmly tell him to stop taking erasers and share with the rest of the students and I tell him that if he hits again he will have to leave my class. He started doing it more discrete so that I didn’t see him, but yesterday he slapped a really cute tiny student who is 2 years younger than him and he slapped him because he took the eraser that he had. Another student told me that Abhishek slapped Ayush and when I looked at Ayush he had a marc in the face and he was crying. At that moment, I got really angry and told Abhishek to stand up and come outside with me and Ayush. Outside I told him that I had enough of his attitude. That he had no right to slap someone after what we have learnt in class for controlling our emotions, that we were there to help him if he had any trouble. I was speaking to him very serious and angry and I decided this time to scare him with my seriousness because this had to stop. I told him I was going to take him downstairs to Veena so that we call his mother because he was saying that he bought erasers and hitting other kids and he started crying. Despite his crying, I stayed very serious and still because I actually want him to learn that there are consequences to his actions and that I am very nice but there is a point when they lack respect for others that I can’t and will not ignore. Shalu helped me translate and I asked him if he paid for the eraser and he said no, so I said that he had no right to lie and deny other students to their job. At the end, I asked him to help me during class, I told him I knew he was very smart and that he could follow the steps not to get angry, I told him I was always there in case he needed help with something but that if he hit someone the only one who loses is him because we will all react to it. He apologized to Ayush, Ayush apologized back and I told him to continue working. I felt bad when he cried but every student in my class sees him hit and they see no consequences to that either so it was the right call to make as a teacher. Before he left, I gave him a hugged and asked him if the next day he could help me by working as well as he always do and I asked him if he wasn’t going to slap anyone and he said he promised he wouldn’t and we finished the class with a hi5.

Reflection:

Reflecting upon the past few months I’ve discovered so many changes as a person but most importantly as a teacher. I personally believe that if we don’t experience some struggles along the way, we don’t learn or at least we don’t grow as excited because there is nothing more beautiful than noticing that you have overcome obstacles and that it made you better, it’s is my biggest motivation. This year I think I struggled with a few things that for a moment I thought were bigger than me. My project was very hard to explain even to students that spoke the same language as I did, so when I came here I noticed that I had to change it and adapt in order for them to learn… my concern had little to do with the children and a lot to do with me, I knew they were capable of learning but I started questioning whether I was going to be able to teach them something meaningful.  I had an idea in my head of students sharing things with me and writing big paragraphs of how they felt, and it turned out that I could only teach them the name and definition of the basic emotions.

I woke up to a phone call from my best friend in Mexico one day, to find out that a close friend had passed away while climbing. I had no idea how to react or what to do especially because I was so far away from everyone. I decided not to speak about and give my class as normal as possible. I remember breathing before walking into the classroom and telling myself that I could not cry in front of my students. I started my class and Shalin told me to stop, he looked at me and said: ma’am, why are you sad? And my reaction was to immediately answer that I wasn’t. He then replied: you have taught me how sad looks like, ma’am, don’t lie. At that moment, I looked at them and shared what had happened, I figured that if I was asking them to trust me I had to trust them. They all hugged me and asked me to “please be happy again” it was at that moment that I realized how important those “basic few words” were. How small things that we teach have the biggest impact if we do it correctly. How just by writing the word “sadness” they learnt empathy, and how by sharing we learnt trust. The classroom after that was a beautiful place to express how we felt everyday.

If I had to summarize what I’ve learnt in these months I would conclude with this:

– I learnt that there is nothing more important than adaptability, and that adaptability comes by being humble enough to recognize what you can and cannot give as well as what the can and cannot learn. Because this gives us ACCEPTANCE. And there is nothing better than accepting who we are and who they are not trying to change that but work with that.

– The other aspect that I changed was to let myself learn from them and from their pace. It was wrong of me to think that what I was teaching was not enough because I couldn’t see that what they were getting from it was in fact a lot. We can’t think that we know what is good enough for them, as long as we are doing something positive and with passion, they will show us if it is meaningful or not. They would have showed me through attitudes if the project was not liked or useful, but they showed me that it was.

– Be proud of the small moments, listen to them but also let them listen to you. It’s as simple as you cannot expect something you don’t give. Give them smiles and love and laughter, but be humble enough to show your sadness because that is when we all learn.

 

February 11th – 15th

What did you learn this week?

This week I learnt that Marigold class is very diverse. Every batch have different age groups as well as in the same batches. We have 7 and 8-year-old students with 15-year-old teenagers. I don’t write this in challenge because I feel like it is an opportunity to see how different age groups perceive feelings. The younger students are commonly more open and straightforward about their feelings without the fear if it is right or wrong for the teachersTeenagers in the other hand already know how teachers react towards honest opinions and they know what is right or wrong to share. They won’t openly admit disliking a teacher but the younger kids will. This for me is very precious because we can use them as an example to explain that the class is without judgement, that there is no right or wrong answer and that they can be honest and we will not punish them for speaking their minds.

What was the most rewarding moment of the week?

The most rewarding moment for me was when I introduce the generalities of emotions and at the end of the class after putting the different emotions on the board a little girl said: I feel bored right now.

It was rewarding because she understood that she could speak her mind and be honest about what she feels and no one is going to scold her for sharing. I asked her if she liked drawing and she answered that she did. So, I told her that hopefully tomorrow with our drawing activity she would feel less bored and happier to participate. She smiled and got excited and I thank her for sharing her feelings with us. Great!

What was the most challenging moment of the week?

The most challenging moment was the lack of light in Marigold class. We had no electricity for a day and the class is completely in the dark, so we had to go outside and have class in the playground. The problem with this was that the students of other batches are playing there as usual but I couldn’t listen or my students couldn’t focus with the noise and I didn’t want to stop the other kids from playing as they always do. I told them to play but in the other side of the playground. I would really recommend to put only marigold class a light that is not powered by electricity because there is no way of seeing If the light goes off.

 

February 18th- 22nd

What did you learn this week?

This week I learnt how to teach emotions through more activities. The first week we wrote a lot of emotions names and I wanted them to improve their writing and speaking skills, so this week I manage to do both. We learnt a lot of emotions and wrote sentences two days, but the other two days we had role plays and we watched videos and had more active classes. The kids had a lot of fun and so did I and we all learnt a lot through practice but we also had to write.

What was the most rewarding moment of the week?

The most rewarding moment for me was to see how motivated Ruksar and Jyoti felt during teacher session. The article that Rosenda sent me was pretty hard to understand but we manage to do two paragraphs a day and we stopped, reflected and explained what it was. I am good at explaining things with examples so I tried doing that in order for them to picture what was happening. If it talked about teachers embodying compassion because children would follow what they saw, I explained: imagine you are a teacher, and you try to teach kindness and compassion but a student is being to noisy and he hits another student by mistake and the first thing you is slap him. Do you think that children will understand what kindness is even if he read a summary on it? Or that he will think that the normal thing is slapping because even his “compassionate“ teacher slaps? So I said that if we want to teach kindness, we need to show them kindness. We need to learn to observe and ask before punishing because that will only make the student ask for more attention and we won’t help anyone. If we ask them what they have, we will give them importance, teach them compassion, kindness and also we will fix the problems in the class. It was very rewarding to see how both teachers were excited about the topic, specially because the second day they both told that they loved the lesson plan!

Thank you for making me challenge myself and them! It has been amazing!.

What was the most challenging moment of the week?

Learning emotions can become a tedious task given that we first need to know the vocabulary of emotions in order to properly identify and later on express how we feel. The most challenging part of the week was that after 3 days of fun activities to learn, we had to come to the part of writing the different names of the emotions but with examples. I made a summary called: my emotion vocabulary. We wrote the names of the emotions that are more common but they are at least 20, so to make it more fun I explained each emotion with fun examples. For example: in ashamed, I wrote that if I thought I was very smart and copied in a exam and the teacher caught me, she would she would announce what I did in front of the class and I would feel guilty and ashamed.

Another example was embarrassed and I told them: imagine I tell Manisha, to stand up and wear a banana costume. After that I tell her that she has to wear the banana costume all around Amer for one day, she would feel embarrassed and laugh but not feel ashamed because she is not doing anything wrong but she still wouldn’t want to wear a banana outfit.

 

March 4th – 8th

What did you learn this week?

This week I learnt the difficulties our student’s lives in their day to day lives outside the foundation. I don’t put this as a challenging moment, because it gave all of us growth and hope to find as many solutions as we could to help them. For the first time in a while, I felt like all the teachers and volunteers worked all together in one specific project.

After reading my pyramid activity, I found that 6 problems where common in every child’s notebook, by reading them I remembered how Lily and Rose shared the same issues with me during the first month of the Foundation. I needed to help as many as possible with this, so I called the teachers for help. Firdous and I started to write solutions to these problems, to do it more friendly we gave it the name “manual to solve my problems“.

What was the most rewarding moment of the week?

The most rewarding moment for me was to see the teacher’s excitement with the manual, given that they all have encountered students that share these issues with them. Bullying is very present in their lives, as well as physical and psychological abuse. Altogether we read each part of the manual, modified it, shared comments and opinions and by the end of the teacher session, we were all very satisfied with the result. I truly hope this poster inside of the foundation can help our students to find comfort and know what to do and how to protect themselves from adversity..

I will send the manual on Monday for your suggestions, opinions and most of all you’re your approval. We thought that the best way to share it with students was to print it as posters and paste around 5 or 6 all around the foundation.

I would love to know your thoughts on this and modifications if needed.

What was the most challenging moment of the week?

The most challenging moment this week was regarding the problems students face inside of their houses and in their family’s dynamics. We heard some students telling us that their parents fight a lot, or that their parents hit them without reason, etc. The realization of when we need to step out because we cannot do anything about a problem is very tough…

Nevertheless, we found the solution for this. It was to address each class with problems that can be faced inside our houses and talking about it, giving them tips like going outside or listen to music or get distracted while my parents are fighting, behave correctly or understand and find out why or when my parents get angry enough to hit me to avoid that situation. And also, to open an invitation for them to get close to any of us if they ever need to be heard or listened.