I’ve been told by several people now that I should blog more often, so I’m going to try to do at least one a day for the my last week here. I can’t promise the same quality as the previous ones, but I’ll do my best.
Yesterday I went back to the Qazipur school to do some classroom observations. The school day starts at 8:00, and I wanted to be early so that I could video tape kids coming to school and their morning assembly, so I left my home-stay at 7:30.
It’s just a 10 minute walk to the school from where I am staying, but I had two wishes for these 10 minutes. The first was that it wouldn’t be too hot and that my shirt wouldn’t be totally sweat-soaked by the time I got there, which I guess was half granted. I was dripping sweat when I arrived and my shirt was just half-soaked. My second wish was that not too many people would be out yet. I’ve walked this route four times now, and each time I’ve had more people stare at me more intensely than ever in my life. And, having been a Peace Corps Volunteer, I’ve had a lot of people stare at me for a long time. Maybe I’m just not used to it anymore, but it kind of made me uncomfortable and sometimes you just want to feel like you fit in a little bit.
This second wish was granted. People wake up somewhat early here, but they seem to lounge around their home for a while, so I mostly saw children on their way to school. I tried to take some discreet pictures from my waist during the walk, but when people are staring at you, it’s hard to be discreet.
When I arrived I heard a ball of voices coming from the classrooms. I was worried I had been too late, but there were still children coming. Some by themselves. Some escorted by parents and siblings. They were all super cute in their little uniforms. Several of them said, “Good morning, sir,” as they passed me. Again, cute.
At 8:00 on the dot, it was time for the morning assembly. It was amazing to see how efficiently all the kids made it out into the courtyard, and they seemed to do it on auto-pilot. I don’t know how these teachers get the kids to be so perfect all the time, but they do seem pretty consistently perfect. Later, one of the teachers left the LKG kids (5 year olds) by themselves for five minutes and only a couple even left their desks! The assembly seems to consist of a prayer and a blessing, and that’s about it.
So before I knew it, the kids filed their way back to their classrooms. Both when they came out of and returned to their classrooms, they put their hands on each others’ shoulders. As they returned, I noted how their movement resembled a handful of giant millipedes escaping to seek shelter in all different directions. When I have talked with the teachers about the students, they often talk about the fact that most of the children’s parents are uneducated and don’t know how to support the children in school. You wouldn’t guess it, watching their behavior. It seems like they know exactly how to behave for school – like it’s what they were born to do.