Students and Classrooms: An observation

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Classrooms are rectangular in shape. Some are as high as 10 feet while some are 6 feet. Entrance is at the place which is visible from rest of the classroom. There could be white board, but mostly blackboard. Desks are aligned horizontally in rows, in a lecture based format. There are two columns of desks. The alley, in between, is also used by teachers to observe students. Boys and girls are separated in the columns. The walls are bare. The windows are barred.

Class sizes vary from less than 10 students to even 100 plus. Students have a dress code. Classes are supposed to start at 10. Students keep entering classes until 11 AM. Classes run for 40-45 minutes. Before the class there is an assembly line where students chant National Anthem and do PT (not so common though). After four or five periods there is a Tiffin-Break. Some kids bring foods from home while some buy from small canteen. Students play games like football, volleyball, chess, carom-board or rubbers. Some schools have boundary walls, some don’t. After break, students stay in the class for three to four more periods.

Teachers take turns to enter the classroom while students wait in the classroom. After every class, teachers enter staff room and chat for a while before entering another class. 40 minutes of classroom runs for 30 to 35 minutes. Some teachers carry cane with them. Students are asked to produce homework. If one doesn’t, they get swipe by cane on their hands or are made to stand whole class-time, inside or outside the classroom. Few students are active in the classroom. They are the ones who give right answers mostly, situated at front rows. Someone, who is asked a question, if is unable to answer correctly or remains silent has to stand until someone gives right answer. Students recite poem, story or article from the book in the classroom. Students are loud enough to echo whole school. Multiplication tables are chanted loudly; so are alphabets. Students repeat what teacher says.

Some students carry bags filled with books and notebooks, some in polythene bags or carried by hand. Some are in shoes, slippers or are bare footed (mostly small kids). Dresses are stitched in many places. Senior students look cleaner than the kids. Small kids’ classes finish early; some play on the ground themselves, while some wait for their elder brothers and sisters outside the classroom. Some peep through the windows and if teacher allow they enter the classroom and share bench with their elders.

Students have their own groups inside the classroom. They talk within same group even outside the classroom.

Students travel from less than 5 minutes to 2 hours to reach school from homes. Difference in age between youngest students from eldest one could be upto five years or even more. ;evolusun

Position: Founder - Saathi Ko Ghar and School Relation & Placement Coordinator - Teach For Nepal

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