Thursday, February 3, 2011

First day of school

My first full day at school was Wednesday. I arrived and was passed from one staff person to the next. First I visited the science lab. The lab is a small room with counter space on both sides and a cluster of stools in the middle. The school’s science fair had just taken place a few weeks ago so certain projects were still on display. Topics included volcanoes, the human nervous system, and composting.

After visiting the lab, I received a tour of the library. The librarian proudly showed me around. He started working at the school about six months ago and has turned the place around. While I don’t know what it looked like before, based on his description, it’s come a long way. Each shelf is clearly marked with the subject, the book shelves are all new (apparently the room used to be lined with shelves of different sized and styles), and there’s a general sense of order. The librarian is very proud of his space.

In general there is an overwhelming excitement to show me around. I’ve only been there for two days now, but every minute is packed with someone wanting to show me something new. And as I leave I’m always invited to please come back. There’s never a dull moment and the enthusiasm is contagious.

After meeting with Sabrina the head of the Early Years Section, I was escorted over to the Early Years Building, which is just a block away from the rest of the school. The Early Years Section consists of Playgroup, Nursery, and Kindergarten I and II (KG I and KG II). Miss Sara’s assistant teacher is no longer at the school and so I was assigned to help in her class. Each class has a name and this particular class is the Tulips. The Tulips are a nursery class and the students are roughly 4 years old.

When I first arrived in the classroom the kids seemed a bit skeptical (no doubt the fact that I had a mosquito bite on my eyelid that had caused my right eye to swell almost shut didn’t help). Though they were shy, they were polite, and after some encouragement they greeted me with “good morning miss”. All the teachers and staff are called Miss followed by the first name, so I am Miss Andrina, but since they hadn’t (and haven’t) mastered my name I was/am just, Miss.

Miss Sara started the class by asking the students to tell her the day of the week and the date. She wrote that information on the board and proceeded with a lesson about the alphabet and then numbers. So far they’ve learned how to count to 35, but one eager student insisted he wanted to learn to count to five zero! The verbal lesson was followed by some work in the activity book and a snack break. Their day ended with music class where the kids learned a new song about the Bangla language. Once the Tulips left, I went and sat in on a KG I class followed and then visited with the Garfield class (playgroup).

At the end of the day I left with Mike, or Mr. Mike as they call him. After a quick stop at the British Club, we went home via rickshaw. My first rickshaw ride was apparently pretty mild. The traffic wasn’t too bad and the automobile drivers weren’t too aggressive. Even so I felt exposed. The rickshaw seat barely fits two people and there isn’t really any place to hold on. The rickshaws compete with one another and with other cars, all of which are trying to get ahead of the other. On the short trip, I did learn two useful Bangla words – “dan” means right and “bam” means left. Kairod was our rickshaw driver and to commemorate my first rickshaw experience I took a quick photo with him. Now that I’ve had my introduction to rickshaw rides, I look forward to experiencing the real deal sometime down the road. 

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