Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week 3

Thanks for those of you who want to donate things to the kids of Shanti Bhavan! 

I spoke with the principal yesterday and she said the donations that they need the most are underwear, socks, shoes, and scientific calculators. 

That said, sometimes it’s easier to give money directly to The George Foundation/Shanti Bhavan since the US dollar can go a lot further in India, you don’t lose money on the shipping costs, and you don’t have to worry about it getting lost in customs.  It is also tax-deductible.  I can assure you that your donation will be well-used and appreciated.  If you still would like to send something, you can send it to their Bangalore address:

Shanti Bhavan
c/o The George Foundation
# 316, 5th A Cross, 3rd Block, HRBR Layout
Kalyananagar, Bangalore 560043, India

I have had a total of one hour of internet usage in the last two weeks!  Very disturbing indeed!  So far, my time has really been spent getting used to the schedule, the kids, the routine, and understanding the pattern to all my bug bites. 

I’ve been substituting for a volunteer who has been sick so I’ve been quite busy teaching-on-the-fly to the third, fourth, and fifth graders.  It is absolutely exhausting and there are some days when I just want to wring their little necks because they create absolute mayhem in the classroom with their incessant whining and talking over each other.  You spend more time trying to control their ADD tendencies than teaching, but there are other days when you get a token of appreciation from a student that makes it all worth it. 

Here’s an example.  Meet Barath…

Some days he really is the bane of my existence!  In class, he is constantly out of his seat, taking off his shoes, shouting out answers when others are called on, and disrupting class.  Every day I hear “Miss Vivian, can I go to the toilet?” or “Miss Vivian, can I sharpen my pencil?”  He clearly knows his way around the volunteer vulnerability.  Surely, he must have to pee at the same class period everyday and I bet his pencil becomes dull like clockwork.  The tricks never change - kids always want to test their boundaries! 

Here he is causing trouble below...

Last week, I caught Barath doodling with a red glitter pen in his grammar notebook (fyi - red pens are reserved for teachers marks) instead of doing an exercise with linking verbs.  I asked him several times to pay attention, but he continued to doodle.  So I made an example out of him by taking the glitter pen into my possession.  I told him that my friends in America would probably like a letter with glitter.  His remarks were “I’m sorry, Miss.  I won’t do it again.”  Of course, I felt better for a quick minute, then guilty for calling him out in front of his friends.  After class, Barath comes to me with his tail between his legs, “Ma’am I’m really sorry.  Can I have my pen back?”  What?!  Apparently, he took it from another boy and promised to give it back.  On a matter of principal, I didn’t give him his pen back. 

Then you have students like Hemanth:

He is the antithesis of Barath.  He sits quietly, pays attention, and is quite adept at getting positive attention from his teachers.  Last week, in my art class, they were instructed to write Diwali cards.  I was the happy recipient of his Diwali card which read:

The front reads:
To Miss Vivian!  I Love U!

Then the card opens and reads:
Dear Miss Vivian, I love you.  You are teaching us so much.  You are the best teacher.  Happy Diwali.  By Hemanth

On the back it reads “Thank you, Vivian!

Of course, my heart melted…call me a sucker, but Hemanth is smooth!!!


  1. I love Henanth...bring him home, please

  2. Hi Vivian,
    So glad to hear about your experiences. Your school trials and tribulations sound much the same as teachers here. There is always someone to brighten your day though. Glad you have found those individuals! For me, the ones that give me the hardest time in the beginning are the ones that end up being my best friends in the end. Looking forward to your next entry. Laura

  3. Wow - sounds like a marathon a day. Still, you are clearing rocking the teaching gig. Love the updates - pls keep'em coming.
    Big Boy Burrito and I miss you!

  4. Hi Viv,

    I am loving your updates! Sounds like you are in the thick of it with teaching and have already figured out how to dole out the discipline!

    Miss you -


  5. Viv this is hilarious!!! I love the teaching updates. That bad kid/good kid story certainly brought back a few memories for me... haha. Can you guess which one I was ;)
    Anyway, sounds like you are getting a lot of great things done around there. Keep posting!!!

  6. Viv, they have no idea who they're dealing with... Tell them you have already tamed a far more stubborn Indian :)

    I'm glad you are finding the humor in your days, which frankly sound exhausting. I am so proud of you! You are making such a difference in so many little people's lives, SB is so lucky to have you.

    MIss you loads, Mary