Thursday, November 5, 2009

School days in India

By Laurie Wong
Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching graduate

Tashi delek (‘Hello’ in Tibetan),

I started teaching my class 5 (grade 5) English today and had a wonderful experience with them. I also had to work on my SFU midterm assignment after school in the library and one boy from class 6 came and served me tea.

The students want to learn songs from Canada so I taught them our national anthem. I plan to teach them "Wheels on the Bus" tomorrow. Many of the songs that I sung to my children are coming back to me – I sure miss my kids.

The children at the school are very respectful and kind to me. Many of them are trying to teach me Tibetan and they test me every day at lunch time. The school has a large kitchen and prepares all the meals for the boarding students. Their lunch consists of mostly rice, dahl (lentil soup) and some veggies – they have almost the same foods everyday.

It is very evident that they lack attention from their parents. Often, I will have four to five children hanging on to my two arms. Many of the children do have parents but they are far away in other parts of India trying to make a living. Most of them make Tibetan sweaters to sell. The children only see them once a year for two months, January and February. I cannot imagine seeing my children for only two months each year.

There will be another professional development retreat in the coming weekend at Sarah College for Tibetan Higher Learning. After the retreat all SFU students will be in full force teaching for the following three weeks.

I am currently busy with preparing my unit and my lesson plans for English class 5 and Science class 6. I am quite excited about my lessons. For English, I will teach them about global warming and some environmental issues relevant to India and in Dharamsala. For Science, I will be teaching units related to ecology. My school associate Lobsang Loste is so nice that he lent me his laptop so I can work on my lessons at my temporary home. We will also be sharing our Halloween traditions with the Tibetan teachers at the retreat. All of the SFU student teachers will be dressed in costumes and will be carving a squash!

Laurie Wong, a Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching grad, is in India with the Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU as part of the International Teacher Education Module. She will be filing stories for doug during her adventures in India – stay tuned.