20thApril 2019:I stepped my foot in TCV Choglamsar school, located in the extreme north with my colleague Gen TP la on 20thApril escorted by the school Principal Mr. Lhundup Namgyal la. Luckily, my interinary was made in such a way that I get one day rest to acclimatize the weather of Ladakh. The next day was Sunday and it came as extra bonus for me to take a break and plan my visit hmmm. Very soon, I found myself in the midst of a landscape far from the madding crowd of Delhi. And the hospitality extended from both the school heads and staff was as usual superb irrespective of the hardship owing to the closure of the road.
The early morning begins with the school monitors turn by turn checking the day scholars’ satchels for any junk foods. The students, from their side willingly show their bags for frisking. The early morning prayers led by the Riglam teacher fills the entire valley and sends a soothing melody across the nearby camps. Right after that, turn by turn, the English and the Tibetan Department members play the audio whose scripts are distributed to the students and the whole students read in unison. A great and innovative way to drill reading skill! Such is the beginning of a typical school time here in TCV Choglamsar, Leh Ladakh amidst the unpredicted weather.
During my stay here, I could not visit the 3 Jangthang schools Hanley, Nyoma and Sumdho due to my own failure in procuring PAP well in advance. My former aim was to visit those areas at least once so that I coud personally experience the severe weather and hardships under which our teachers and staff are working for our students.
With the support and co operation from the school heads, I interacted with all the subject department members during their common TPD periods and listened passionately to their woes and achievements. As a customary, I never failed to extend my genuine appreciation for their hardwork and dedication. As per the EDC resolution, the school heads had created a common TPD period.
As for the Senior Section (Class VI to X), I met all the department members and the headmasters. Here is a brief report on the TPD activities carried out by various departments. The Tibetan and English teachers are working on improving the reading and writing skills of the students and as such they use their TPD period in creating resources and sharing new strategies. The social teachers are learning themselves with the help from other teachers in teaching Tibetan History, which were earlier taught by Tibetan teachers. The Math department is using the TPD period in creating resources focus on class VI. The Science teachers had done Action Research and they were continuing. This is the only school which has been doing Action Research. A briefing is also done to the school Principal and the Headmasters.
And as for the Junior Section (Class I to V), they have their own common TPD periods made among three major subjects; Tibetan; English and Mathematics. I had a meeting with the section headmaster about TPD activities. Here is a brief report on their activities. During their TPD period, they gather in their respective subject rooms and do their collaboratives. The Math department are creating mathematic activities and materials for class I to class V this year. The Tibetan department are focussing on making PPTs for all the Tibetan lessons. The English department are using the TPD periods to work on Jolly Phonics teaching and creating teaching materials. They have been doing this since last year owing to the introduction of English to the class IV students this year. All the sections have been requested to focus on improving reading culture among students by using the long break and lunch break.
The Headmaster Gen Tsering la, like a typical big brother gave me a detailed tour of the school(Montessori to Class V). There are around 12 or 13 teachers including the Montessori teachers and 130 children. Apart from the regular academic subjects, the school gives lots of importance to co curricular activities. to build their confidence.The school had left no stone unturned in providing everything for the children. Last year, collectively they had published one children’s book titled “Tho Pa Ga” in Tibetan. And this year, they want to publish the second book. Apart from this, they would also familiarize themselves more to the ICT. A facebook account is maintained and events and activities are shared. During the long break, over a cup of hot butter tea, I gave talk to the teachers appreciating their work, reminding them about TPDs and social networks and most importantly to work with full sincerity and dedication.The teachers have been advised to utilize the two breaks to create a reading culture among their students. The art teacher has been requested to beautify the campus with some wordings and pictures. I have also requested HM to create reading culture among the children.
Menlha: This school ( Montessori to Class III) is formed in the middle of two camps of Sonamling Settlement and is led by Mr. Karma Sonam la, the headmaster. Just like Agling, Gen Karma la gave me a detailed tour and report of their activities. There are around 60 students including the two Montessori and 10 staff members. I gave a 5 minutes’ morning assembly talk trying my best to come to their level. God Knows! As far as their previous year collaborative is concerned, they had worked on Riglam. So, every Saturday 5thperiod, they gathered in the staffroom and started. This year, they would do book discussion and sharing on His Holiness’ advice on teaching Secular Ethics in schools. During the long break, I had an interaction with the teachers and they shared their doubts about TPD. I thanked them for their hardwork and requested them to continue working hard and make the best use of TPD periods. The school is also having a good relationship with the local parents.
Montessori: Under the leadership of Gen. Pema Dolma la, who look after all the Montessori classes around TCV Ladakh, the teachers are using their TPD periods in enriching their execution of all the four prescribed subjects. Every year, different schools choose one particular subject and work on collaboratively. At the end of the year, they gather in the main school and share their lessons and related teaching resources created. As such there was a good response from the teachers themselves. This year also, they have decided to continue. TCV Ladakh has one of the largest number of Montessori teachers who also have the longest service.
I made the best use of my visit by talking to the students during the morning assembly on three points; Make teachers happy; Law of Attraction and feeling grateful. I also gave a short interview to TCV Ladakh Media center on the roles of parents in children’s life. Last but not the least, I gave fifteeen minutes’ presentation to all the sections on teachers’ social network, creating a positive learning hub, using of Bloom’s Taxonomy, addressing the root cause of students’ problem and implementing the collaborative activities with full sincerity.
The school heads of all the sections have been requested to attend some of the TPD sessions without having to wait till the final TPD Day. They are also thanked for the rich morning assembly programs and the rich co curricular activities and asked to further enrich these. All the teachers are working so hard and as such the school heads have to encourage and motivate them time and again. Wish you all a good year ahead. Congratulations for producing 81.3% in the CBSE class X board exam much better than the previous year. Wish you good luck for 100% result next year.