Sunday, May 26, 2019

Day 4: Second day teaching Volunteering at Surya Bharti: An Enlightening Experience

Day 4: Second day teaching

Today, we visited Surya Bharti for the second time. We were very excited to once again see the students’ bright faces, sometimes shy smiles, and enthusiasm for learning, and to teach them English in a more hands-on manner than the first day.

We  believe that across cultures, there is at least one common passion: food. On that note, we brought printouts of American menus to share with the younger students and teach them common food / restaurant-related phrases, like “What would you like to eat?” and “My personal favorite is …”

The activity was a hit, especially as we went around asking each student what he / she wanted to order. It was fascinating to see differences in tastes across cultures, as the Surya students frequently ordered items such as buckwheat pancakes and multigrain bread, while in the U.S., youth would typically order maple-drenched French toast or sweet pancakes stacked high. The students comprehended the lesson well and were giggling throughout, appearing to enjoy using their imagination while learning English. Toward the end of one class, all the students began ordering dessert items such as chocolate cake and cookies! It was endearing, and also struck me as perhaps driven by the rarity of such treats in their everyday lives.


For the older students, we taught Martin Luther King’s famed “I Have a Dream” speech. We again wanted to instill something beyond just a rote English lesson; we wanted to incite students to reflect on the ideas of equality, freedom, and justice that King touts so eloquently. We taught them the history behind the speech and read the first portion line by line, explaining the metaphors and deeper meanings behind some of the sentences. While doing so we saw the students’ faces become serious with concentration and, I hope, contemplation.

One of my greatest wishes for these students who filled me with continuous inspiration, is that they will live in “an oasis of freedom and justice” (King) in which they can strive for and achieve their many dreams. Surya Bharti School is setting them on the path to do so.

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