…All systems are go! The first day of school has just been confirmed for Monday, March 5! In 72 hours, these children will walk into a formal classroom for the first time wearing custom tailored uniforms and brand new shoes with sponsors, volunteers, and readers around the world celebrating with them.
For the past two weeks, we have been dividing and tutoring our selected children to help prepare them for the onslaught of knowledge they are about to receive. In only two weeks, their English has improved dramatically. But what is even more impressive is the sensational enthusiasm to learn displayed by each student. These kids jump up from the floor to work on a problem.
Some students are undoubtedly stronger than others. Since I cannot communicate well with the students, I have them teach each other. I pair the students with relatively strong English with those who can’t grasp it and have them explain concepts to each other.
When I give Ajeet, Rani, or any of the students a task, they bolt to work and write methodically for as long as necessary to complete my request. I have never seen students so proud to show off what they have just learned. When most of the kids run out to recess, some students still continue to work until they have finished.
It is often amusing to see how the students process new concepts. For years, all that these students have been taught are the ABC’s and numbers 1-100. They seem to have had no concept that letters can be combined into words and words into sentences. When I asked Rani, age 9, to write, “My name is Rani” ten times, she wrote vertically down the page: M M M M M M M M M M. Next, she went back to the top and wrote: y y y y y y y y y y. Then, she drew a vertical line after the y’s and started on her n’s.
The uniforms, shoes, backpacks, supplies, and, most importantly, students are sitting on the launch pad. I can see the excitement in their eyes for the adventure they are about to embark on.