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Friday, November 25, 2011

Teaching update

I’ve been here 4 weeks now, and things have changed quite a bit. Last week I mentioned that I started teaching the drama classes… and it’s going great; quite a challenge but so satisfying, especially when I see how the work is paying off and how the ‘play’ is starting to come together. But along with the drama and Spoken English classes, I’ve also been appointed to give morning presentations to the whole school. For the past week and half, I’ve been talking on the microphone, for around 20 to 30 minutes – in lecture form – to the whole school. I’m teaching nearly 300 students pronunciation, accent reduction, general morals, inspirational thoughts for the day and general knowledge on Ireland and Europe (something they’re extremely eager to learn about).

This new form of teaching I was asked to do last week by Lekha (the senior staff member who I’m also living with). She wanted my being here to have more of an impact on the other teachers as well as all the kids. At first these presentations weren’t meant to be so structured, so important, so extensive or so regular. But they’ve suddenly become something that everyone depends on.

To be honest I was quite nervous when I was first asked to speak. I didn’t really know if I’d have anything to say. But after 2 mornings the nerves had gone and I realized that I DO have stuff to say, and a lot at that! Even though I’m not a professional teacher or speaker and I haven’t trained to do any of this, still, what I do seems to work. The kids are happy, they’re engaged, they’re learning and I’m on a role. And now I’m at a point where I don’t really want those 20 to 30 minutes to end. Putting down the mic is like: Oh no, I have to put it down, switch it off and stop talking? Yes Niamh, you do! Okay… so of course I do, but my silence doesn’t last for long. I’m becoming more and more apart of this school and it’s like, everyday, I come up with something different I can contribute.

Like yesterday; I came up with the idea to give a yoga demonstration on Annual day (this is the festival on the 19th of December, the one I’m preparing and teaching the drama classes for). The school supports my idea. And to do so this demonstration, I now have started giving a yoga class in the morning. I’ve selected a small group of kids who I can work with, and I’m putting the performance together, with their help. Even though the kids do yoga every morning, for 20 minutes, they don’t give it enough attention or importance. So, I found that doing the demonstration would motivate all the students to practise their daily poses, with more concentration, so they can benefit more. As well, I found it could be an opportunity for me to see if I’m able to teach yoga myself. I’m not a professional, far from it. But I’ve realized since arriving that I can teach them more than they already know and it’s something the school is lacking; somebody who has the ‘time’ and most importantly, the WILL and passion to improve their daily practise.

This week, it already happened. I’ve been giving some short classes, with basic instructions to small groups. It’s so different to be working with kids like this. But I love it so much. I’ve only done a few classes, but it’s so rewarding to give these kids this kind of attention. There’s little lesson planning involved, only my own yoga practise, which I do in the mornings before going to school. And even though my time here is short and my own yoga ‘knowledge’ is only minimal, this ‘tiny’ step feels like something huge. I feel relieved and grateful that school is giving me the time to do this. I can learn a lot from this… And I’ve only got 4 more weeks left, before it’s time to move on to the next school… How the time is flying… but everyday is so full and action packed, that it feels like I’ve been here forever and that my time here won’t end… sounding very corny, I’ll leave this post for now!

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