TFI Diaries 16: On the Bench :)

There are a lot of things that scream out – school! Chalks, black boards, books, students, classrooms, teachers etc. But there was always one thing that was missing in ours – Benches! For almost a year and a half of waiting and anticipation, finally a week back we saw glistening blue, green, red, and yellow coloured benches neatly stacked up outside our building.

They magically appeared from somewhere the kids said. But we knew that they were a long overdue promise finally kept up by the municipality. Better late than never as they say.

For a whole week every day was a self assuring statement for the kids “We will get benches tomorrow.”, “We will get benches day after!” After a week of waiting I finally decided that self help was the best help. We gathered all my brawn, Setu – the art teacher, Arnab-a co Teach for India fellow, Nagsen Bhaiya – the marathi teacher, Rahul – admin incharge and two willing parents to lug 32 benches up the stairs, through the tricky bends, doors, and gaps into the two classes -The Doers and Globe trotters. Kids helped arrange the benches in neat rows. This was the most home hitting moment of one of our core values of “What will I do about a certain situation?” The kids were ecstatic- to say the least.

We immediately came up with 7 rules around the benches, since we really did not want to compromise on any single aspect from drumming on benches, writing on them, pushing kids into benches, to sitting straight on them. And so, both my classes got their first ever benches to sit on. Despite all research driven theories about how it is better for kids to sit on the floor and learn, the classes finally feel like a class and the kids finally look like students of any other private school that I could think of. For now we chose to turn a deaf ear to all the theories out there. For now we have benches!

Of course this brings forward a world of new issues like, unintentional accidents that could occur while innocent play, almost no option of sitting in a circle during circle time, kids can’t really run around wild during break(I am secretly happy about this!) and sweeping the classroom becomes a mammoth of a task. But for now, we love our new benches and with time are sure that we will find solutions to any problem that comes up. We will cross the river as we get to it, of course with our benches!

 Some images to show you how smart the kids look on benches 🙂  

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