Monday, 30 March 2015

Reflecting On Our UniBreak Teaching Experiences in Udaipur

PROJECT: Teaching Placement
WRITTEN BY: Christina Poon

On arrival, it is undeniable that the raffishly charming Udaipur is all foreign, new and almost overwhelming, and the information that we have to teach two classes a day only adds to the anxiety and apprehension. Nevertheless, the lovely people, our coordinator, other fellow volunteers and the eager-to-learn students all have made this seemingly unimaginable experience feel possible and comprehensible and ultimately so enjoyable and fascinating that it made goodbyes nothing but heart-breaking.

“We are able to bring home heaps of special, personal and unforgettable memories that I’m sure will last a lifetime.”

Needless to say, teaching in such a different setting lead to a number of notable differences in teaching; some of which were noticed before the actual teaching even began. I still vividly remember the shock when I learnt from a German girl, Anna, who has been teaching for the past 10 weeks, that we have to make each and every worksheet by ourselves. Luckily, we actually got carbon paper. This peculiar blue paper, formerly unseen and unheard of, soon became my best friend. Although the process sounds tedious, it is actually a very enjoyable and manageable process since we have a small class-size and we teach in pairs.

Another difference that is absolutely rewarding is the children’s attitude towards learning. Their parents might not send them to school, but when they are actually in school, everyone is so eager to learn. While the little ones show their excitement by climbing and crawling on you, the older boys shows their appreciation through the concentration and their tears on our the last day. On the note of the little children’s love of crawling all over you, one advice I would give is that rather than disciplining them and stopping them from doing so, turn this into a reward for answering a question correctly or finishing a worksheet as it is supposed to be done so as to give them incentive and motivation to learn.

Overall, this experience has been immensely rewarding and I believe it is fair to say these 6 weeks is almost life changing. The only thing I can complain about, as I was in the airport on my last day with the other volunteers, is that we can’t each bring five people home. Though it is beyond the bounds of possibility to bring our beloved students home, we are able to bring home heaps of special, personal and unforgettable memories that I’m sure will last a lifetime.

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