Jake’s update for th Volunteers at Gorkha
Jake's Report - Sunday, February 25th
I've now been in Gorkha for one week with Grace, and we've been teaching classes as a pair as she did with Maelle, my predecessor. One leads, the other assists, or in the case of absent pupils, one leads while the other gets said absentees up to speed.
As noted by Grace, there is a very pronounced difference in proficiency and behaviour between class 3, 4 and 5. Some of class 5 are almost conversational with the English they know; I look forward to getting the other classes to their level.
Today was the first lesson where I took the lead. After reading through Grace's entries to see what had been covered, I decided that directions (turn left, turn right, etc.) would be a good lesson. I started with a simple diagram, then had them repeat, before standing the class up and having the class perform the actions. We then split them into teams, and Grace took score and gave a point when the whole team got it right. The competitive element kept the more outgoing pupils interested.
I had mentally prepared for several eventualities, such as the class knowing the language already, finding it too hard, student absences, etc. However, out of left field came the realisation that maybe one third of the class didn't know left and right at all, so on top of teaching them new vocabulary, I was teaching a new concept altogether (if my first algebra lesson had been in French, I'd have struggled). This is a problem we can fix very easily, though. Tomorrow, I'll be drawing maps and having them give directions from A to B.
To conclude, my first week here has been astounding. I lack the vocabulary to express how beautiful this part of Nepal is, and I already treasure the students. Without a doubt, coming here was the right choice.