Sanjana Shrestha, Communication Coordinator
Nepal Country Office
July 19, 2013
Nothing deters Rita, not even a room full of curious and mischievous first graders. On a field trip to Kapilvastu, one of our sponsorship impact areas, I accidentally stumbled into Rita’s classroom and listened to her teach numbers to eager and excited first graders.
She has drawn a chart with numbers and things that represent the number. For example, the number 3 is represented by drawing of three cups alongside a “3.” She engages in a discussion with children about how and why they use cups. Children promptly answer that they drink tea from cups. She also encourages children to find synonyms for cups in other languages. When it’s time to learn about the number 4, she asks the children to count the number of windows in the classroom. In Rita’s class, children not only learn about numbers, but also about new words, language and discovering things on their own.
“I do not find teaching these children difficult. In fact, it’s more difficult to stay home doing nothing,” says Rita, who lives an hour away and comes on a bicycle every day. “My students help me in class. When I announce the lesson for the day, they volunteer to bring learning materials needed for that class. One of them always keeps the attendance register. The best part is when children volunteer to bring water when anyone is sick in the class or needs to take medicine.”
Rita says that she started enjoying her job more when she participated in training to make learning materials, “a door to new ways in which she could teach children.” She sometimes gathers her first graders and makes teaching materials with them, all the time asking them questions about what things they can make from cutting papers in different shapes and sizes. She says learning materials make children creative and more imaginative. When they see the lessons in textbooks turned into something visual, they can understand very easily.
Rita whose mother tongue is Tharu, uses Awadhi, the language they use at home, to speak to her students. She is a bridge for her young wards in switching between languages.
Rita takes great pride in her first graders and the discipline they show in class, even when they are playing games. She says, “I like the beautiful handwriting the children are learning, and I like their questions. I hope they help their grade two teacher like they did me.”
One of her students Anita, 8, says, “I like my teacher a lot because she loves us and tells stories to us.” Anita, who has been in grade one for the past three years, is making huge progress this year with Rita as her teacher.
Rita says, “Anita didn’t go to an ECD [early childhood development] center, but started in grade 1. In the evening after school, she goes home to wash dishes and cook. She can write and read Nepali and sometimes leads the class, and she counts from one to hundred. She even asks me for difficult homework.” Rita is confident Anita will pass grade one with flying colors this year.
Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.