Did I do it right?

Slice of Life Challenge #Day 19

A puzzled look, a definite sense of uncertainty…Their routine has been challenged and these young kids seem a bit bemused. They pull their shabby, dog-eared notebooks out of their backpacks (usually with a broken zip that’s stuck halfway) and hand over their homework with a bit of a question mark in their expressions. This is not our normal class room procedure.

Yesterday I gave two different story prompts according to class level, for them to take home.

For the two younger classes who have done only a little free writing practice, I wrote on the board, ‘On my way home I found a ……’ and explained that they needed to think of something they might find along the way and make up a little story around that.

One hand immediately shot up, “Do we need to bring what we find to school tomorrow?”

Okay, maybe I should have explained the sentence starter a little more carefully! I went over it again.

But this morning, most of them handed in their work with some kind of story. ‘On my way home I found a red shaped like a heart stone.’ ‘…a chicken with white feathers.’ .’..lots of coloured fish in the river…’ So today some students who did not go any further, need to tell me what they did with their object to complete the story. The others have a fresh prompt.

The other story starter was: ‘The boy jumped up and ran out of the door…’ For several of the older group, particularly the boys, he ran out to play a game of football (a favourite sport around here) and of course was on the winning team and scored all the goals. But one student had him tripping down the stairs and hurting his leg, so the moral delivered by his mother was to walk and not run everywhere. I distinctly hear a teacher’s voice in that tale (Walk, don’t run!)

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I’m impressed overall as English is not their first language and they don’t speak it at all except at school. So I’m definitely looking forward to tomorrow’s stories!

In case you’re wondering why they are coming into school (just for an hour), it’s because our school was in the middle of doing tests, when schools were closed down on Tuesday and so we were given special permission to finish off the testing up until Friday. Testing works its own magic as an essential assessment in this country and we do only have 60 students overall.

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Next week our teachers will be going around and visiting students in their homes to help them keep studying. It’s going to be interesting to see how that goes.

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16 thoughts on “Did I do it right?

  1. I’ve only read a few of your posts, so I’m wondering what country you are teaching in. I love reading your reflection on the writing your students are doing. Seeing the image of your classroom impresses me with the shelf of books and the colorful rug and artwork. I want to hear more…

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    1. In the north east of India running a very small school of 60 students from very poor families. It’s a rural area and the local people are tribal, so very different from most of the rest of the country. If you want to know more, please could you email me (email is on under ‘contact’ I think and I’d be very happy to share!’
      Thanks again for your comments and interest!

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      1. Thanks for the info. I haven’t been to India. I went to Africa a few years ago. I was reminded of the school I saw there; however, more colorful. I’m so glad you are there and doing such a wonderful service.

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  2. Both points of your post are interesting–the way your students responded to your lesson, and the way COVID-19 is impacting your corner of the world. Is your school private or public?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s private with only 60 students at six different levels from KG through to Class 5. They are all from very poor families in a rural area which means we cannot go online to teach them now, but the government has imposed a ban on schools until March 31st. There are no diagnosed cases here so far, so these are hopefully preventative measures but not sure what will happen next.

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  3. I like your approach of having students expand their stories if they didn’t go deep enough with their writing while giving others a new prompt to work with. It is as great prompt forcing students to be more observant of their surrounings.

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  4. Are there any actual cases in your community—I hesitate to add “yet”? I love the way school is a touchstone for the kids. It doesn’t matter where you teach, or how well, kids struggle with elaboration, at least some of them. As always, the photos add depth to our vision of your kids.

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    1. No, not so far (or none diagnosed). The problem here is probably lack of diagnosis with such an enormous population. The country is so far trying to be precautionary, but poor people need to shop day to day, so it’s very hard for them to be housebound. Isolation is pretty much impossible. There’s no back up plan that I know of… Thanks for your comments!

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  5. I always admire your tenacity and humor in your teaching moments – and am always impressed by what you AND these beautiful children are accomplishing, in already-challenging circumstances. No worries about “doing it right” – you handle it all with such dexterity. Their stories are definitely something to look forward to! I hope we will get to hear some. 🙂

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  6. I am glad you are making really good use of every possible teaching moment. It will be challenging to keep up the English without school, I suspect, but I look forward to how you are doing it. These are really interesting times to be a teacher everywhere.

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    1. Yes, it’s challenging for teachers everywhere for sure! At the moment half my mind is on the hope of getting out of the country for our daughter’s wedding next month if flights are available, so teaching moments are a really great distraction back to the matter in hand!

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  7. Wow. It sounds like you are really connected to your students – and they are all the better for it! Good luck to you all as you move ahead in the coming weeks.

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  8. Thank you, it’s possible to be connected because the school is so small and I sure will miss not having them around for the next ten days at least….Also trying to find ways to keep in touch without being able to be online is difficult, while also respecting government restrictions. The weeks ahead will be challenging, you’re right!

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