An (Unexpected) First Day of Teaching in India

WorldTeach India volunteer Jonathan Helland was caught off guard when he discovered that what he thought was his first day of class observation was in fact his first day teaching! Check out how Jonathan managed his first day of teaching in India! Thanks for sharing, Jonathan!
So the plan was that I was to observe classes yesterday and today, get my schedule, and then start teaching tomorrow.
But today at 3:20, Chandra, the headmistress of the Gurukulam, informed me that I would be teaching a Spoken English class at 3:30.
Fortunately I had my notebook handy to crank out a lesson plan in the 10 minutes I had before class!
Chandra accompanied me to the classroom to translate for me if need be (and I assume to evaluate me).  Class went pretty well, I was surprised at how shy everyone was about speaking in class–usually they all echo the teacher in an unintelligible cacophony, but speaking one at a time seemed to spook them pretty badly.  I kept on telling them that “The best way to learn Spoken English is to speak English” and as class progressed, I think they warmed to it a little.”
The kids have been a lot of fun–there’s one boy (a tiny 1st grader) who just stares at me and stands as close to me as possible.  He doesn’t speak a word of English, so I never know what he’s shyly whispering when he sits down next to me.  Another, Balan (I thought he was saying “Wally” until I made him write it down in class today) speaks better English than most of his classmates (better than any of the boys), so he’s taken to following me around and acting as my translator/bodyguard–shooing kids away when the crowd around me grows too dense.
I made the mistake of racing some of the kids yesterday during free-time, and they’re all super impressed with the fact that I’m faster than them (really?  my legs are longer than your body) so now they want me to run ALL THE TIME.  At least it’s better than the demands to sing and dance that I was getting in Trichy.  Running’s something I’m happy to do.
I’ll bring my camera to school tomorrow, so I’ll post some pictures on my facebook account over the next couple days.
If you're interested in volunteering in India, visit our website at www.worldteach.org for more information. If you have additional questions, feel free to email us at info@worldteach.org or give us a call at 857-259-6646

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