2013. A new year and a fresh start in schools after the festivity of December. A new set of books and extension activities to look forward to.
My first class on a Wednesday morning is the Government Primary School. I have to admit that I ended the last year on what might be considered a skeptical and albeit frustrated note. This because I felt that I hit a block when attempting; what seemed to me to be a fairly simple task; a rhyming word exercise. While they enjoyed the read aloud of the book “I Like”; which is a simple story, written in rhyme; the difficulty that these children had with rhyming simple three letter words like ‘bat’, ‘car’, and ‘toy’ was in fact a rude shock to me. After a considerable amount of explaining, re-explaining and example giving, I was glad to see the end of the period.
What did it mean, these kids in the 3rd grade being unable to rhyme? I began to question the system. I began to wonder what was being done wrong. Do they not have to memorize poetry in school? This is a multi-grade classroom; how will the students going to the 5th grade cope? How? Why? I wanted the answers. I wanted to know how I could make things better….NOW!
While it saddens me that it’s been 6 months that we’ve been in these classes, and little headway has been made, I was forced to realize that doing one period a week in this school and expecting greater results than what we have is nothing short of me expecting a miracle. And this realization was humbling.
There have undoubtedly been those “AHA!” moments, and hearing the kids recount books and activities we’ve done is always heartening. They relate things they see around them and hear to the stories we tell. They ask questions, they think and they love doing the extension activities and come running up excitedly when they are done. The work has to go on…but more! While it still remains trying working within the framework of a school, what with existing schedules and time tables, syllabus having to be covered, end number of holidays that come in the way and in some cases; reluctance of schools to adopt our programme with all it’s requisites, its still a battle.
There’s 2 months left to the academic year, before exams become foremost on all time tables…..and so more stories there will be! As for the 2013-2014 academic year, we aim for more….a lot more. The details are on the drawing board….we’ll take them to the blackboard this June!