Hello Hastings.

Today was the day where it got serious as we went into Hastings School. As we have followed the experiences of Miss Gill and Mrs M in the past couple of years and have seen pictures of Hastings School my first impressions were somewhat as I expected although I didn’t expect there to be so little space in the classroom – there were 45 children of varying ages and abilities crammed onto the dusty floor and we were expected to teach them for 4 and a half hours (which is not easy). Fortunately we had a variety of songs, games and activities planned and I was joined by a couple of students from Derby University and another teacher who was placed with us at the last moment as her scheduled school couldn’t take her today. I think it is best if I show you some pictures.

The school is through that small doorway.

Can you guess what we are doing in each of the pictures?

We are shortly heading out for dinner so I will post more later. I am enjoying reading all you comments so thank you for those. Keep them coming!

End of Day 2

It feels like it has been a busy day here. We started our morning with a visit to Calcutta Cathedral for the Sunday Service. It is a beautiful cathedral built in the mid 1800s and the service was lovely but different – a lot of it was sung!We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside unfortunately so here is one of me outside. Following that we went to the Victoria memorial. It is a spectacular building with lovely gardens and made us think of the colonial times when Britain ruled this part of the world.

Then after having lunch and a presentation from the Cathedral Relief Service we did some preparation for tomorrow’s teaching and set out on a river cruise up the Ganges. It was a lovely trip – we saw a dolphin swimming in the river and visited a temple. We were also lucky to travel in a spectacular boat – see the pictures below. I did have to try to recreate Mrs Ms pose from last year. Unfortunately it is not quite as glamorous! Tomorrow is where we get down to business – meeting the children at Hastings School for the first time. I’m really looking forward to it and have lots planned. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.

We’ve arrived!

Well we’ve just had our first lunch at the Dee Empressa Hotel having arrived mid morning. Tandoori roti and curry – tasty but not huge.

The flight was good but we had quite a rush to get between our flights in Dubai. Despite rushing to the gate it said ‘final call’ when we got there! Not many of us were able to get much sleep on the plane and so we have pretty much missed a night which means we are quite tired at the moment.

The bus ride from the airport to the hotel was fascinating as there are just so many people going about their lives in so many different ways. The sound of car horns also seems to permanently fill the air here as if the vehicles are talking to each other. I’ll include some pictures to give you a flavour of some of the sights from the bus window. It will be back on the bus later to visit a temple before heading back for dinner and an early night.

Preparation Day

It all seems to be getting closer to departure day and even more so now that we have all met up to share resources we have prepared. A main part of our purpose of being in Kolkata is to train teachers to help teach their children long after we have gone. This is because most of the schools the Cathedral Relief Service supports are informal schools and the teachers are volunteers with limited training. We have therefore been working in groups to prepare resource packs that teachers can use in their own schools. Our twin school, Hastings, should therefore end up with about 8 different resource packs that can be used flexibly for many lessons. See below. Here are some pictures of us sorting and packing:

Now we just need to fit it in our suitcases!