Posts made in March, 2016

Attending school – as a teacher!

Posted by on Mar 19, 2016 in Blogging | 0 comments

This is the story of another good chapter in my life. I am sharing the experience of my first visit to a school and that too as a teacher! Believe it or not, this was my first visit to any school altogether, as I have been home-schooled and do not have any formal education due to lack of schools for special students where I grew up. So it was quite a unique experience to go to one as a teacher!
I conducted two art workshops at BBMP Public school, Shrirampuram, Bangalore. I got this opportunity because of the wonderful people at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore who not only helped me arrange an art exhibition at the Bhavan, but also arranged for the art workshops at this Bhavan affiliated school for underprivileged children. My sister suggested that I conduct such workshops at the school because I love creating and teaching art and craftwork as well as spending time with kids.

Day 1: For the first workshop, I selected to teach the art of (terracotta) pot painting and decorating.

Some samples of Terracotta Pot Painting done by meSome samples of Terracotta Pot Painting done by me

For pot painting, we need a terracotta pot (obviously :)), fabric paints, brushes, decorative things like satin ribbons, scissors, colorful kundan, beads, fabric glue etc. We started collecting all these things a week before the workshop and went from one shop and mall to another to make sure we had all the things and in enough numbers for all the students. After that, my mother helped me with preparing the mud pots. First, we did the base paint on the pots. This should be white or some other light shade. This is required because if we directly put any color except white or light colors like light-yellow or light-peach, then these other colors will look transparent and will not look good. We then put a second coat with the final base color and allowed these to dry.

Stuff needed for Pot Painting and Decorating

Stuff needed for Pot Painting and Decorating

The idea is to decorate these pots by making designs using dark color paints and sticking ribbons and chumkis etc. which give the pot a beautiful and artistic look. Such pots can be used just for a decorative display or as holders for pens/pencils/brushes etc. With all the prep work discussed, I am now very excited to share the experience of my first day at school. So here comes the day, 19th January’, 2016, my first art workshop in BBMP School. Once I reached the school with my sister, we were introduced to the teachers, other staff and the children who would participate in the workshop. We then divided all the art material into five parts and on the carpet we arranged everything in five areas (one for me and four for four groups of children).

After the setup was completed, teachers of the school called in 20 students from classes II and III and introduced me to them as their art teacher!  The children sat on the carpet in groups around the material for their group. I felt happy to see that the children looked super excited and eager to learn and work with all the bright and colorful stuff in front of them (no different from how I felt of course ;)) The workshop started by with me showing some samples and demonstrating what I was going to teach the children and then all children started their work.

Starting the workshop with demonstrations

Starting the workshop with demonstrations

I was so engrossed in the class that I didn’t even notice when the hour got over until my sister asked me to announce to the class that time was up and it was chocolate time :)  Note to self: need to keep better track of time in future workshops.

I was floating on cloud nine being with the children, forgot everything while teaching and guiding them. I must say I have never seen such a disciplined, quiet and eager to learn set of kids!

Engrossed in teaching

Engrossed in teaching!

Proud Teacher with thrilled children

Proud Teacher with thrilled children

After that I got several beautiful flower bouquets, gifts from the children and teachers. One more thing happened that touched my heart greatly, the kids read a sweet speech for me in their cute voice. For me, that moment was very special because it was the first time in my life that a student gave a speech for me, the teacher.

A sweet speech for me

A sweet speech for me

The happy group

The happy group

We then saw some of the classrooms including their art room which was very beautifully painted and looked like a room from a dream (from my perspective of course :)), After that the music teacher and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the school and the music teacher, Gayatri Madam asked us to have lunch at school the next day as well. She insisted on cooking something for us and asked me what wanted to eat, and without much ado, I said ‘Bise bele bhath’. In Kannada, bisi means hot, bēle means lentil, and bhāt means a dish made of rice. This was the first thing that came to my mind because I just love it and can eat numerous times! So, my first day of the workshop at school as a teacher was really awesome, had a great experience and I enjoyed a lot.

Day 2: On the second day, I had decided to teach children how to make “pop-up greeting cards”. For making these, one needs chart paper, colorful craft paper, pencil, eraser, ruler, scissors, paper cut into various shapes, glue, pastel colors, sketch pens, colorful thermocol balls, colorful tape etc.

Material for making pop-up greeting cards

Material for making pop-up greeting cards

20 children from classes IV and V participated in this workshop. I was happy to see that once again, the children were disciplined and very excited and eager to learn. I started with showing them what a pop-up card and demonstrated how to make it. I showed them one or two steps at a time and the children followed.

Immersed in teaching and thoroughly enjoying it

Immersed in teaching and thoroughly enjoying it

To make this type of card, one needs to make some measured cuts, which after the class I realized was a little difficult for students, so in future I will find a better way of teaching this in the next class. Yet, the children had created some very beautiful greeting cards using their imagination. They went with various themes ranging from, Birthday, New Year, Diwali, Christmas, Republic Day, Pongal to Happy Garden, which I hadn’t heard of before! I was thrilled to see the enthusiasm and creativity.

Busy kids working on colorful creations

Busy kids working on colorful creations

After ending the workshop, we first visited an exhibit of some huge and beautiful paintings done by Mr. Suresh (Director of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan), I then continued talking with the children who weren’t ready to leave me alone even after the workshop was over. They didn’t want to go for lunch or for their other classes ;). A group of kids expressed how happy they were about the class and gifted me a big “thank you” card they made, one child gifted me a hand-made bracelet and we took a lot of group photographs to preserve our precious memories of the two wonderful days.

Feeling proud - children of their creation and the teacher of the kids :)

Feeling proud – children of their creation and the teacher of the children :)

The jolly group after the class

The jolly group after the class

Collecting memories - lovely greeting card created by my lovely students

Collecting memories – lovely greeting card created by my lovely students

Can’t miss mentioning the fabulous lunch we had on the second day as well – yummy bise bele bhath, raita, sweet pongal and dahi bhath cooked by Gayathri Madam.

One really remarkable thing for me was that for the first time, children used “Ma’am” or “Madam” to call me for questions during the workshop. Prior to this, I was used to children addressing me as “Didi” (elder sister) in Kharagpur – this was quite significant for me. For the first time, I wasn’t at my home and was not teaching kids I knew, instead I was at a school as an art teacher among school students I just met.

This workshop had many heart touching and lucky moments for me and was overall a great experience for me. I am looking forward to conducting many more and better art workshops and classes in future.

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