9.6.10 - 9.6.10 0 °F
Much of the focus of the blog so far has been on our travels in India. Now that school is underway for us, we are in a position to share a little bit about what our school is like. Last week was the first week of classes for the Sanborns and we are quickly figuring out our various time tables and daily routines. So here is a quick look at a single day in our lives at school - Monday, September 6.
The boarding students live in separate boys and girl's hostels - our apartment is on the first floor of the girl's hostel (which is actually the second floor to an American).
The day for the boarders begins with a loud bell at 5:20 am. Students roll out of bed and head down to the tennis courts for a little early morning wake-up exercise at 6:00 am (our girls haven't joined them - yet)
After exercise, there is a short study hall time before breakfast which starts at 7:30 am
While breakfast is going on, the day students begin to arrive on the buses that traverse the Trivandrum area. The buses not only pick up the students, but they pick up the teachers as well, so there is no parking issue here at the school. And when the buses leave to bring the student's home, the teachers have to leave too.
On Monday mornings, the middle and high school students meet in the courtyard of the high school building for a short program that focuses on a current event or topic. Today, there was a short presentation and quiz on Ramadan which concludes this Friday.
The daily school schedule is divided up into 10 periods of various length. On Monday, I teach two classes - my 12th graders from 8:50 to 10:10 am and my 11 graders from 10:25 to 11:05 am. Outside of teaching, I have no other responsibilities but I do need to be at the school building where I can work on lesson planning. My classes on Monday are separated by a 15 minute tea break at 10:10 am each day at which everyone meets in the courtyard in front of the middle school for a snack and some tea or other drink.
The girls have a much more diverse day with their schedules - here's the girls class schedule for Monday (it's completely different every day):
Elena had Malayalam, Music, French, (tea break), testing, double Math, Humanities, English, (lunch), English again, study time, then sports club during which she did tennis.
Mariana had Biology, double swimming, (tea break), English, Math,English again, French, (lunch), Geography, study time, dismissal to sports club during which she had tennis.
Lunch happens in two shifts with the younger kids first and the older second.
After afternoon classes there is another snack break before sports clubs meet - the kids have sports club choices to select from on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Both girls chose tennis today but I went down and observed some soccer (excuse me, football), track, basketball, running, and, of course, cricket. I watched the cricket coach put a group of junior kids through a number of drills that were similar to baseball fielding drills - fortunately, the coach had patience.
From 4:15 to 5:15 pm is time to rest and bathe and at 5:15, "cold coffee" is served. After this break, pre-dinner study begin and lasts from 5:30 until dinner time at 7:30 pm.
It's during this pre-dinner time that Jenn and I have been going for a swim or a run as the hottest part of the day has past by now.
Dinner is served at 7:30 pm and because it is common practice in southern India to eat a meal with just fingers, there is a washroom near the entrance of the dining hall with about a dozen sinks for washing hands before and after meals. Many kids at our school use utencils, but when there were 15 other schools here on Friday, I noticed that most of the other students ate the traditional way. As I've said previously, Jenn and I have really enjoyed the food though on this given day, the dessert tasted much better than it appeared.
There's another study hall time for the students between 8:00 and 9:15 pm and lights out is at 10:00 pm, a little later for the 12th graders. All in all, the day for the boarders is very structured.
So what is Jenn up to during these hours when the rest of us are in school? Last week, she kept busy with helping to decorate for a big academic event that occurred last Friday and has been researching travel destinations and logistics. She had reserved a school car and driver for a shopping trip into town on Tuesday but with the state-wide strike strike shutting down the city, she was going to have to wait until Wednesday to get some food and other items for our apartment. So instead, she rode the school bus into the next town where there was a small "supermarket" and then took an autorickshaw back from there. Sometimes, even buying a dozen eggs can be a new adventure. She was successful and managed to acquire a couple more things on our shopping list including a new set of glasses (new to us anyway)
Each day is a little different and Jenn has a number of possible projects on campus where design assistance has been solicited not to mention being a mother to couple of kids adjusting to a new lifestyle. So far, she has kept kept herself occupied.
I simply forgot to take pictures of my classroom and students and our apartment will star in its own blog entry at a later date once the interior designer who I have contracted has finished her work. It's a very nice campus. I have a few other pictures taken from different places around campus.