Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The sweet feeling of success!

June 16th, 2009- Tues
If I were to keep a descriptive word for each day I would definitely label today a success! On the way to Wadala Zohar and I sat carefully planned out the day and what we wanted to do with the children and then we ran it by Sriya (who was in the other car) on speaker phone. Unfortunately, Ria wasn’t well so she couldn’t come with us. A large part of our success for the day could be owed to the fact that we were quick to pick up our mistakes from the day before and that we worked amazingly well as a team. We created a structure as such which we could largely go by everyday. We decided to start the day with introducing the 3 of us again (in a playful way, like pointing at each other and having them scream out the names loud), then we planned on some game that required movement to get them to wake up since it was late afternoon. On our way to Wadala we bought stationary for them to create nametags in Hindi and in English. We decided to split up the groups into 3 so that we could concentrate on a set of children at a given time. Although Zohar had to cope with the language barrier, she kept her group. I instructed the students that she would write out the names in English for them and then Sriya or I would come and write it in Hindi. Then we would switch up the groups and Zohar would continue to write the name in English while Sriya and I were done with Hindi. The purpose of the name tags was not only for us to remember, but also so that they could get familiar with their names in both languages. I realized that time on, Sriya got much more confident with the children. She was much more comfortable talking to the kids in a smaller group which worked well to compliment Zohar and me.
After the name tags we were running short of time, so we plunged into the next major activity for the day. We got the kids in a circle, asked them to close their eyes, think of the 3 most important things of value in their lives- be it mother, the water pump or some food. Many kids stared at us blankly and didn’t know how to draw. This is where I found Sriya’s core competency. She was good at getting the children to let out on an individual level. I was better with the louder kids, and if I was having too much trouble with any, I’d call for Sriya and then she’d swoop in and take care of the ‘situation’. Zohar walked around kid-to-kid and encouraged their drawings with ‘oos’ and smiles. They smiled back.
After this Sriya and I were trying to put up the drawings on the wall so that the students could get a chance to talk about their artwork if they were willing. We noticed the energy level going low again so Zohar and I looked at each other and realized that we need to get them immersed in a game again. Within the next seconds Zohar got the students to line up behind her, I instructed them that then were supposed to follow her and copy her until she abruptly stopped and looked at them- that’s when they had to freeze. Zohar finally got to lead regardless of the language problem- so it was really nice to watch them have a blast without really the need for communication.
Trying to put up the drawings wasn’t getting us anywhere since the powdery walls weren’t really conducive to tape. So we gave up and decided to get a better solution tomorrow. That’s when we realized that we were running out of time so we brought in the last part of the day where we asked the children what they enjoyed the most. They loved the drawing and Zohar’s game. We got them to get into the “dead man’s pose” by lying on the floor`. It was really nice to see that even with their level of energy they could focus their minds.
We went to the 2nd section and repeated most of the activities. Ofcourse we had to improvise but it was largely the same. It seemed like this class was much more confident. It was incredible to see 2 of the students who didn’t speak at all the day before be much more talkative. However, I felt bad that my energy level wasn’t the same with the 2nd class. The teacher wasn’t as inclusive, we had to repeat the games and the excitement level wasn’t as high. So we had to choose between the 2 classes for the next day.
In the 2 hour meeting after Wadala with Manjul we went over the day in detail. We started to work towards the theatrical exercises. Created a further focus. I’m excited about tomrw. :D

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