After a good breakfast and nights sleep on Monday we left for our first day at Dhauladar convent school. When we arrived we were welcomed by principal and about 25 children. They painted a tilak on each of our heads and threw rice and petals over us before pressing bunches of flowers at us. It was great to have such a warm welcome!
We then had a tour of the school and saw the carefully painted walls of the last DUCK group to visit the school. The school itself has 12 classes ranging from kindergarten and nursery up to class 10 and has around 240 students in total. We then met a couple of other volunteers: Catherine is teaching music for six months, Alex is spending a year film making and Sahil is teaching maths. It's been interesting to learn about their experiences and great to get a few tips before we start.
During lunch break the children gradually got braver and we ended up swarmed by them shaking our hands and asking for our names.
After lunch, we found ourselves joining in with a class 4 music and singing lesson. We ended up singing our way through I am a music man!
During the day we kept getting doubts on our ability to dig the necessary hole for the water tank (6ft by 6ft by 6ft) in the 4 weeks we had. This just made us more determined to get the job done so after an evening of discussing teaching ideas and an early night we got straight on with the work.
On Tuesday we alternated between observing lessons, digging and carrying material from the road. The work was incredibly hot and sweaty but we were all really impressed with every member of our teams effort and commitment to getting the job done. We also saw various classes throughout the day and were impressed with the level of English shown by each year group. The main thing we noticed was that lessons often seemed repetitive and just involved reading from a text book. So our aim is to bring a bit more fun and interaction into their English lessons. To finish the day we split into pairs to plan lessons to classes from all ages in our first day of real teaching.
Today passed similarly to yesterday but as a team we had grown in confidence and knew what we were doing from the start so made even more progress than yesterday. By the end of the day we were proud of our efforts and our determination can be seen from various muscle pain and numerous blisters. The principal was really impressed with us and now has faith in us finishing with plenty of time to spare!
With all of this in mind we're all looking forward to the rest of the project and to see what the rest of the week throws at us.