This month, I had the extraordinary experience of spending time with the students of Gyaan Ghar and getting to know them at a personal level. From helping Sonu review the Hindi alphabet after he returned home from his village to teaching Sarita how to use my camera, my interaction with the students was incredible. Though they were shy at first and my initial “ice breaker” activities were received as formal assignments, after a few days, we were shouting our ABCs and playing “rock, paper, scissors, soos!” so loudly that the whole neighborhood could hear us.
Each day’s lessons commenced with Radhika supervising students as they completed the day’s homework assignments. I would then lead an activity for the day. These included songs, games, and occasionally choreographed dances. At the end of class, Radhika would guide the students on what to review for the next day at Malwa Public School.
After class every day, Radhika and I held planning meetings to discuss strengthening communication between the students of Gyaan Ghar and the students of Flint Hill, as well as between her and myself. We plan to increase our communication via email and to institute a tradition of chats over webcam between Gyaan Ghar students and students here in America.
During this time, I also held interviews for another instructional position, hoping that the employment of another teacher would open doors for increased differentiation in the classroom, as well as uninterrupted learning time. After meeting with a few candidates, I selected Amanpreet Kaur on the basis of her thoughts about creative teaching methods, her achievements in extra-curricular fields such as music, and her interest in teaching underprivileged children.
Registration activities were completed this month, with the Memorandum of Association approved and signed by all members of the society.
What struck me most about the students of Gyaan Ghar was their passion for learning. It was not uncommon for some of them to show up for class up to an hour early, eager to learn something new. At the end of class, few ever wanted to leave. They are fascinated by anything and everything that is new and somehow foreign to them. This drive is extremely inspirational, and the enthusiasm I have observed on countless occasions before this is what led me to start the Gyaan Ghar initiative, and it is what keeps the school going.