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Kasturba Matoshri High School, Panjim
Experience at Kasturba Matoshri School
January 1, 2015
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Written by Deepali

Its been more than a couple of months since I have been going to KMS. We have two classes each of std five and six and a class of std eight Marathi Medium which has just ten students. They are a bunch of students who are rarely all present for my sessions. I have a varying degree of presence ranging from four to five at any given time. They understand a story visually and only when I explain it to them in Hindi and Marathi. English on a whole has to be broken down and simplified to the most basic level and when I say that it means I say the word, explain what it means in Hindi and Marathi, give an example about that word’s usage in a sentence, then break it down in parts, write it on the blackboard and get them to repeat the word after me.

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An instance that has etched itself in my memory is when one day day during a written activity, they had to select an animal and write two or more sentences on it.  I had written down animal names on the blackboard as spellings are difficult for them to comprehend orally. Priyanka copied down the word ‘elephant’ written on the blackboard in her notebook. I asked her what animal she was writing about and what did she have in mind and the girl told me that she is writing about a monkey as she likes monkeys as they are very naughty. I asked her to show me where the word monkey is written on the blackboard and she happily pointed out the word ‘elephant’ to me on the blackboard and in her book.  Ganesh, another boy just sits quietly in a corner whenever he is present. And I can see a faraway look in his eyes and would always wonder if I am making a dent in his shield but after a conversation with the head mistress, I realized the futility of such a wish as apparently the boy only understands Kannada and Telugu, both of which I am unable to converse in. I cannot express my anguish over this and many more such instances that are difficult to pen down. How can I make a difference in the lives of these children who can barely recognize letters at even this age? Who is to be blamed? I go to this school only once a week and this children will leave school in another two years if they manage to remain in Grade 8 and pass Grade 9 which is highly unlikely seeing what poor literacy they have in any language ! What will happen to them? Yet the human mind never loses hope and so I will carry on forth…

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