Journal entry by Fran for August 1, 2016.

The weekend is over and it is Monday, my first day at Christ King School. Actually, it is my first day at the school this year. I volunteered at Christ King in 2013 and 2014, but it is like any first day of school. There is a feeling of trepidation and concern; What will be expected of me? Will I do a good job? What will the teachers be like? What will the students be like? Will the principal give me suggestions or will I need to be creative?

Breakfast was very good this morning. We had an egg omelet, one of my favorites, and dosa. Of course, I had my cup of very hot milk tea. I gathered my materials and water so we could make the drive to Christ King School. The route is familiar, but the excitement of seeing the shops and people along the way is always a great experience. I have yet to take photos of the cows on the lanes and streets, but there were opportunities on the narrow way to the school this morning. I have not decided whether i really need pictures of the bovines. I have four more days of opportunities after today.

Stephen had told me that I would be meeting the principal before I met with the classes, but when I arrived a lady directed me to the fifth form. Fortunately the teacher for fifth form is the same teacher I worked with in the past two trips to Chennai. I was beginning to do an activity with the children, when Stephen came to the room and said that the principal would be available within minutes so I went down the steps to his office. Ah, steps. They are worth writing about. There are thirty steep cement steps to the fifth form classroom; there are thirty steps to the fourth form classroom. I am getting some fine exercise just going to the classes.

We joined the principal, Dr. J. Ebenezer Christhu Doss, in his office. It is a humble and small place, smaller than my bedroom closet. Humble though it be, he is an influential, wise and caring man. I told him that I remembered him because he had such a busy mind. As we drank a beverage and enjoyed a biscuit (cookie), the three of us talked about many things. The last times I volunteered, the principal requested that I teach the students specific subjects as they prepared for upcoming exams. This year, the exams were administered last week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so I received no specific directions when I asked what he wished for me to do. He suggested that we be active and not boring. Singing songs with actions was one of the suggestions. Other than the general ideas, He suggested I will do whatever I wish. He suggested in general terms that the students learn about the world and its countries.

I left the principal and Stephen to return to the classroom where I was to remain until 11:30 and the plan was to with the fourth form until 12:30 when it would be time to return to the guest house.

My time in fifth form passed too quickly. We played the chain word game after we reviewed facts about our continents and countries. We sang fun action songs and then it was time to go to the fourth form. I remembered the way, but students enjoy the reprieve from the classroom so I often have one accompany me down the stairs, through the younger student classes, step out side, and climb the stairs to the fourth form classroom. For the first day, we did the same activities as those of the fifth form students. Then I read “Harry the Dirty Dog” to them, sharing the pages on my IPad. We had just begun another story when the bell rang. The plan is to finish that story tomorrow. The children did “hands up-hands down, ” said the prayer, and left for lunch. Their teacher is new to the school and very effective. I asked her to suggest activities that she would like me to do. She agreed so my hope is to have a bit of direction from her tomorrow.

After lunch and after my rest, I met with my two young people for a night of building English skills.

I enjoyed dinner at the guest house after an interesting conversation with Sheeba and Stephen’s mother while it rained.

And so to bed.

Visit Global Volunteers’ Volunteer in India website page to learn more about service opportunities in Chennai. Or,  chat online with one of our Volunteer Coordinators. We’re ready to assist you with project descriptions, travel questions, registration guidance and other program details.

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