The Primary Joy of Education

Focused eyes and big smiles.

Every class I visited in Grades One to Five at the Shri Shikshayatan School in Kolkata, India, was full of excitement, enthusiasm and engaged students.

As a fifth grade teacher, I know the thought and work that goes in to crafting a day of learning. Primary teachers here teach English in addition to the mother tongue (Hindi), and Grade One students loved pulling out wooden animals out of a mysterious felt bag, naming the creature and whether it is domestic or wild, and then racing from table to table, showing off the new animal and calling out its name so each table of students could repeat it it in unison.

Grade Four students were in the computer lab, creating multi-slide PowerPoints with transitions which they celebrated as each shared her creation on internet safety.

Grade Five students acted out “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde, with students excitedly holding up one of four colored answer stocks when prompted with a comprehension question.

As I chatted with each primary teacher, I got more and more excited to collaborate on projects and lessons that would open up new worlds to our students.

I found myself missing my students back in California. I started thinking about new ideas from these amazing classrooms I would be using in my own classroom in the coming school year.

And I remembered that the primary joy of education is sparking that love of learning and seeing our students’ eyes light up with each new lesson.

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