A departing letter from Allie to her school

Shree Dhaulasri Secondary School

Chhomrong, Kaski 9 Ghandruk, Nepal

April 2016-June 2016

To the Principal, Students and community members of Chommrong,

Coming to teach at your school, I expected to be immersed in an education system far different from my own. I expected it to be a challenging experience to teach with a language barrier, and l expected to learn a lot both about how Nepali children are educated and how my own education has influenced the person l am today.

This is what l was expecting, and for the most part, this is what l observed. I observed that the isolated nature of this school, and the low budget it receives, makes it very difficult for the school to gain access to many materials, and staff. It seems that much of the staff is placed here, and would often prefer to live somewhere either closer to their family, less isolated, or both. The school relies on, what I assume is the most affordable option of government textbooks, however, from my observations, these books are riddled with typos and grammatical errors. This not only makes it difficult for the teachers to teach the material, but also makes it difficult for the students both to understand the material presented, and gain a correct understanding of the English language.

Additionally, I’ve noticed that some of the textbooks are written at a level of English which is difficult for some of the teachers to understand. When this is the case, when teachers are not able to fully understand, or pronounce, the material they are assigned to teach, the teachers have more difficulty teaching and the students have much more difficulty learning. This is no fault of the teachers or the school. I know , for the most part, both are doing their best with the knowledge and resources they have, however, l did notice that these factors and the difficulties that arise from them may be a bit discouraging to both students and staff, affecting both the school’s structure and morale. These issues, of course, are somewhat beyond the school’s level of control, however, l believe they contribute to some of the difficulties this school has.

Despite these difficulties, I’ve noticed that the school encourages both structure and spirit.

Through morning training and trivia, the school sets the tone for a day of academic dedication. I believe that this activity of both fosters structure, and reward for knowledge, encouraging the students to learn. For the most part l would say that the students seem dedicated, though I did notice that their focus is disrupted when there is a teacher absent. Without a teacher present, students usually resort to outdoor activities, which, though beneficial in some ways, lack the academic component a classroom environment provides. Hopefully with the increase in staff since l began teaching here, there will be enough teachers to substitute for one another in case of absence. That way, teachers will be able to leave lesson plans for another teacher to oversee, and the students, after commuting so far to school, will still be given classroom instruction. I believe that the increase in staff will greatly help the overall morale of the school and allow it to continue working as strongly and smoothly it is able to.

Jumping playing laughing and learning
Jumping playing laughing and learning

In teaching here, I believe I’ve gained a much greater understanding of, and appreciation for the difficulties of rural education systems. I see that there is not one issue that contributes to the difficulties schools like Shree Dhaulasri Secondary School has, but rather, there are many difficulties stemming from its isolation that make it a challenge to both teach and learn. Despite this, l see a school of staff and students who are driven to better both themselves and the system they are in. l see kindness and excitement in the eyes of both students and staff. I have great hopes for this school and the improvements I see them making, the new foundations they are building, and the future they are carving out ahead of them.

I thank you earnestly for allowing me to be a part of your community, and sincerely wish you all the best.

Many thanks and Best Wishes,

Alexandria Cavallaro

Allie's farewell

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