Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lessons packed for Nepal, and some "change"

The (physical) change

I was recently teaching in Nepal, and yes, my learning  curve was deliciously steep  and the journey incredible beyond words—but there were several lessons that resounded mightily before I even left.

Let’s begin with a little 3rd grade math:
Keep this in mind.
One picture may be worth a thousand words, and as I was about to learn, it can also ignite a passion never before realized. If you doubt that it can, please read on for an encouraging story about 4 girls inspired by one picture and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Story Behind SAV School, Nepal

“When I was in class 7, I went to take my exams, and had to leave because my father did not pay the fee. He didn’t know. I was very sad, because I was always the top student, and this hurt very much…”, began Govinda, founder and principal of SAV school, Nepal. Thankfully, his uncle, who worked at the same school, was late that day, and saw Govinda standing outside, head down in understandable despair. He spoke to the powers that be and Govinda was permitted to take the exam, although that painful feeling never did go away.

Govinda, working right alongside his teachers. 
That situation led to what is now the SAV School in Bageshwori, Nepal—a rural K-5 school, operated by Govinda and his wife, Sudha. Now in its 14th year, the school has been in 3 different locations within the village, with fluctuating numbers of students from 13-137. Currently, it has around 80.

SAV School, Bageshwori, Nepal--an aerial view. 

In the beginning, he met up with some steely resistance and “you can’t do that, you’ll never make it” attitudes, but his personal experiences

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Community-Sized Thank You

Lately it seems that teachers need their own pair of boxing gloves to spar with the onslaught of challenges, from funding and staffing cuts, to a disheartening disregard for the influences in a child’s life outside of school.

It’s not so much the boxing gloves teachers need as much as someone in their corner, with a supportive understanding of the demands facing us—economic, academic, and emotional. Many assert that priorities have shifted in education, blaming politics, teachers themselves and the controversial madness of standardized testing. Whatever your take, your political view, or opinion of our country’s global educational reputation, if you know a teacher personally, your "Mickey” moment is here (think Rocky's coach, not Minnie's man). Supporting teachers and schools is something everyone can do, with time, resources—or even a hug.

There are a lot of optimistic, some would even say “hope-timistic”, teachers in the ranks that continue to push the limits for their kids. They reach out, pursuing additional logistical steps to get those visitors in their classrooms, grants for resources and experiences, and donations for classroom supplies to supplement what comes out of their own pockets. Consider it an underestimated kind of advocacy for the students, but it makes our day to know that so many are willing to invest their time, money and abilities to make learning come to life.

As I reflected on my year, I realized just how many people had their “hands” on (virtual or real) the education of my students. I have a feeling I’m missing some folks, and I’m truly sorry if have. I could write a book about the many other individuals who have been coaches in my corner, who sent me into the proverbial ring with confidence and inspiration. I hope I’ve thanked you already, more than once.

Thank you to the following people and businesses who have impacted our school and my students in just the past few months. Your support and trust in our abilities mean the world to us!