Experiences of an International Fellowship

As I write this, I have just returned from a dinner with the Headmaster, and his wife, of the school where I and a friend Rosie, have been placed as LRTT fellows. They were extremely welcoming and constantly offered us more and more food. We left full to bursting of delicious home cooked Indian cuisine. Even though the whole experience was somewhat surreal, there were subtleties that reminded me of home.

Background noise of the football game between India and Sri Lanka playing on the TV in their home was a constant, comforting presence. Our host passionately described, what I believe if my Punjabi had been up to scratch, were the controversies of the match so far. He flicked between an array of sporting matches when the adverts appeared reminding me of the way my dad does the same thing when watching football on his television. There was also the grumpy uncle who clearly loved family occasions because it gave him the opportunity to moan that the ice cream flavour wasn’t his favourite. The whole family was so generous, interesting, and warm. The language barrier wasn’t a deterrent in us getting to know each other. We laughed all throughout the evening!

Delhi was a series of contrasts as well. On arrival we visited the bazaar in Old Delhi which can only be described as utter chaos. Tuk tuks, cars, taxis, rickshaws and cows compete for inches of road space through the constant bellowing of horns as everyone nudges closer to their destination. Rivers of mud wash through the back alleys as we tiptoed our way to the spice shop. Despite the craziness, each and every stall was immaculate. Hordes of colourful ephemera was laid out meticulously. Children and women are constantly battling to keep the mud at bay with their brooms made of sticks. It is through these winding alleys we headed through a secret door only to find amongst the chaos, a plush hotel equipped with fish tank and an international menu.

Teaching abroad this summer helped me see both the similarities and differences from teaching at home!

My time in local schools has also shown me similarities and differences. I have been placed at Gourav Model School, a small family run school in a rural area. So much of the school has reminded me of the school where I teach at home. There are the group of teenage boys who lurk around in the background, the conscientious girls so eager to please and the cheeky trouble maker you can spot a mile off. But in other aspects the school is worlds apart from life in rural Worcestershire. Small class sizes are placed into even tinier classrooms. Walls are dark and damp and have not been painted in years. There are not many windows in the classrooms. The playground is mud. I have yet to see a resource other than chalk, a blackboard and an exercise book. The school certainly has incredible spirit, much like schools at home. There is such a strong camaraderie amongst staff and the teacher and student relationships are very warm. I feel very lucky to have been placed at this school for my fellowship. So far India has been mind blowing and I can’t wait to see how the coming weeks pan out.

Written by Rebecca Dunn

Around the world, too many teachers don’t get the support great teaching depends on. Grow as an educator leading teaching training abroad this summer. 🌍