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Poor Kids! It was a rainy day and they were deprived of playing in the open ground. A ground amidst the graveyard that was compact and had just a couple of broken swings and stinking toilet around. Such is the fate of most government aided schools in India. Yet, playing there was a joyous act for the children.

This was evident from the little-disappointed faces around. “Rain rain go away little children want to play” cried a small girl in me.  While children cursed the rain, I entered the classroom with slight nervousness and more excitement. After all, it was my first interaction with the children. “Namaste Teacher,” said all the voice at once. “Good morning” was my response. Yes, I had to respond in English as I was there to conduct a short duration English learning sessions for the children. It’s very sad to know that a formal English class became a part of curriculum only from standard 5 here.

“Aidondli Aidu… Aideradli hathu” “Rajesha- Bandidini teacher, Rama- Bandidini teacher”. What’s this? Mathematical tables and calling of attendance were having a fight of being heard louder besides the headmistress introductory note in my class. OMG!  I then realized three classes were being conducted in one big room just with card board separation! Thus, the discussion in all three classes made its way to every child’s ear. So somehow, Standard 3 and 4 also gained a glimpse of English class with standard 5 flicked my mind and made me smile for a moment.

Fun learning was my mantra. This blossomed the little faces.  The level of interest amongst the kids surprised me. The first lesson was “How to greet?” and respond to “Greetings”. This was followed by lessons on using the five W’s – Who, What, When, Where, Why and one H- How. On learning it the little children were eager to display the usage of these terms in self-formulated statements. Errors were as expected but the excitement and courage to come out and exhibit among the group was laudable. In the later days the sessions included learning through action songs, questioning, storytelling and various other activities. Children enjoyed action singing the most. “If you’re happy and you know it” was observed to be their favorite.   Children of neighboring classes peeped in with eager and some also came up with the request to teach songs to their classes too.

Alas! I had to put an end to it when my college reopened. I wished I had more of it. But, I am glad the end was temporary. I still continue to visit the school every time the college breaks for vacation. This voluntary act leaves me with contentment. The contentment multiplies seldom when I pass by the school in the morning and receive a confident greeting from the children in English “Good Morning Ma’am”. This makes me return to this school year after year with enhanced excitement.  

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