Tuition Kids by 2018-2019 Education Fellow, Lucy Martin-Patrick
What you should know about our tuition kids….
Being in such close proximity to poverty every day for months on end can have a strange effect after some time. The things you see become less shocking, it becomes normal. But last week I had a very real reminder of why I am here and why our work is necessary. I was with the rest of our education staff and our community director out on home visits. I walk by these kids’ homes a lot, but sitting with their parents and hearing how difficult their home situations are is an important reminder of how running tuition gives kids a chance to be in a safe place where they are listened to and engaged for a short time of the day.
I love running tuition and the kids that come are so much fun to be around. Following Radha’s post about the people of Oda, I thought I’d share with you some of the funny characteristics my students show in lessons:
They yell, “may I come in” at the top of their lungs whilst running through the threshold of the door.
They will say, “may I come in” when asking to leave the classroom.
They will say, “malaai” (give to me) repeatedly without taking a breath until you give them a pencil, even though they full well know you will give them a pencil.
If all the tables are stacked at the back of the room from the previous class, they will all run to the back and try to sit around it rather than moving the tables to where they’re meant to be so all the students can sit down.
You don’t want to go in the classroom after a day with 4 tuition lessons and 4 nursery lessons. Little kids don’t like to wash.
When you ask the kids, “leknubhayo” (finished writing?) you will be hit with yells of “no” and “yes” and the two sides try to see who can be loudest.
If you are marking one student’s work, the other students will try to put their books on top in the hope that you will just start marking theirs instead.
They will come two hours early on the coldest and windiest days of the year, but when its sunny they will be 5 minutes late.
When you take attendance, they will crowd around your computer. Amazingly, they will either not hear their name at all or shout, “I am here” directly into your ear.
While waiting for tuition, if they see a bideshi (foreigner), they will yell ‘ball dine’ (give me a ball) 1000 times at you until you hand one to them. Even when you have the ball in your hand walking towards them, they will still yell.
When it’s time for tuition, I shout, “tuition aaune” (come to tuition) to the kids playing. It can take a few moments before one child realizes it is time. That child will start to yell, “aaune” and run towards the classroom. After this event, a huge wave of kids begin to do the same and 30 children will run towards me yelling, “tuition aaaaaaaaauneeeeeee”
At the end of every class I ask, “arko tuition bholi ki parsi” (Is the next tuition class tomorrow or day after tomorrow?) so the kids know when to come, but whenever I am in the village I will constantly be asked by the same kids, “tuition aaja?” (tuition is today?)
I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been tough at times. Some of these character traits can get very annoying, but all in all when I write down these things it makes me laugh lots and I feel blessed to be invited into this community and be given the chance to learn about another culture so intently.