Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Teaching in the Oxford School - By Abigail Smith

When I first started teaching at the Oxford school I was very apprehensive as to what to expect; it was such an overwhelming feeling walking over the field to the first assembly. However, I was welcomed with massive smiles and open arms by the pupils and teachers, it was such a lovely opening to my teaching weeks at the school. Almost everyday the children come up with new drawings and flowers for me, it's always such a nice way to start my day.

During my time so far I have mainly taught the youngest students consisting of lower kindergarten (LKG), upper kindergarten (UKG) and nursery school children.  They are all full of energy and come to school with massive smiles on there faces which really makes teaching them and being around them such a joy.

The main issue in the school is pronunciation of English letters and words, this is more of an problem with the teachers who then, therefore, influence the students with their speech. I estimate around 95% of the nursery rhymes have been changed which is strange when we start to sing one tune and they are all singing another.  Sometimes it's difficult to assign yourself to an individual child that may be struggling when the classes don't speak your language, especially as they are so young some can be shy and just stare at you (which doesn't help when you want them to try and work out a word or what a certain animal is).

I have also been teaching the girls from 8th and 9th class a dance ready for their leaving assembly on Saturday 14th.  The girls since the start were fully engaged in what they were doing and giving everything that I gave them a go.  We started off with some simple stretches to warm themselves up then got straight into learning the routine.   Going through the steps slowly count by count and breaking it down has really helped them understand the moves and what I am asking them to do.  Using spoken English to communicate with the girls has also brought some laughs to the sessions and improved their conversation skills greatly, they have all seemed to be enjoying the dance so far.

Today I taught one of our neighbours a few dance moves from the piece I have been teaching the girls in school, he then showed me a break-dancing move on the floor where I then proceed to have a go.  In England this is very acceptable and all styles of dance are welcomed to be learnt by boys and girls, but here it was clearly shown to me that this wasn't the case in Nandyal.  One of the women on the compound commented that the styles of dancing isn't made for women and that I shouldn't be trying it.  It really shocked me as in England this is something that I do regularly and I have learnt many styles over the years of learning to dance. It also made me think how shocked they would be if they came in England and saw some of the dance styles and groups that I see all the time, as women and men dance together and all they both take part in the lessons whatever style it may be.

Overall, my experience here has been incredibly valuable. I've learnt so much about this strange place and about myself. I'm not sure that I'm ready to go home just yet but with three more weeks left I'm dedicated to making every second count with these amazing people.  


  1. Sounds like you are experiencing the delight and confusion of life in Nandyal! Wish I was still there.

  2. Really glad to know you're enjoying the challenge and being with the children and staff at the Oxford school. Well done, both of you!