Settling into the daily routines of life at Joybells, the NMH students appreciate the opportunity to work with the children in the classroom and play with them when school is over. We hope you will enjoy reading the brief reflections below. The first is written by Laura Franceschi, a member of the English teaching team. This team (Laura, Sophia, Audrey, and Leela) teaches each grade ( 2nd, 4th, 7th and 9th) for one period a day. In the 2nd grade and 4th grade English classes, the students have been developing their reading and writing skills by reading lots of short stories, books, and plays. They have also been writing and illustrating their own stories. The 7th-grade students have analyzed and memorized Paul Revere's Ride which they will recite for the other students at our closing assembly. The 9th-grade students are reading and analyzing Lord of the Flies while they work on vocabulary building, writing, and grammar.
Here is what Laura has to say.
Teaching English at Joybells Reflection by Laura Franceschi
English has long been my favorite subject in school so I was very excited to teach it to kids. I wasn’t sure initially how they would respond to the classes we planned because all the kids I know from home have little interest in sitting at a table listening to someone talk at them and write on a board for an hour. I was filled with surprise the first day when I started to write a grammar lesson on the board, and the kids were rapt with attention, staring up at me. They were furiously scribbling down notes as I talked and seemed genuinely interested in the use of semicolons, which isn’t something you see every day. After I taught the lesson, I did some example sentences on the board for the kids to practice with. They all did the sentences correctly and seemed to fully understand the lesson. That day was when I realized why people become teachers. To see kids absorbing the information you are teaching, makes you realize that are actually making a small difference in their lives. It’s really special.
When the academic day is complete, the Joybells children and the NMH students get a few hours of rest before the afternoon activities. One on one tutoring and homework help for the older children begins at 3 o'clock while the younger children have arts and crafts, music and dance. Following this, we all meet for one of our favorite times of the day, chai time. Leela Kurzmann, who also runs a daily poetry workshop for the younger children, writes below about this special Joybells ritual.
Chai time at Joybells Reflection by Leela Kurzmann
Every afternoon around 4:30 at Joybells, the children, and the NMH students gather at the school for chai time, a time to eat biscuits and drink sweet, tasty tea. We sit on the cool steps of the gray concrete, waiting for everyone to arrive. This is a time when we switch gears from academic classes in the day to sports and playtime in the late afternoon. It is so nice to just reflect, relax and have fun. During chai time, the Joybells girls like to weave elaborate braids in the hair of the NMH girls, sometimes with fresh flowers placed in the braids. We all fool around, singing and dancing. Although this relaxing break is short and sweet, it is one of my favorite times during the day.