Hi Everyone, (I hope there is an ‘everyone’ out there!!) I am back from India – dusty and tired – but uplifted and inspired.
It is such a privilege to do work that you love. When I have been in jobs I didn’t love, I’d often feel heavy and sluggish, as if I was forcing myself forward every day. When your job involves helping children and helping release the child in every adult, it’s hugely energising… mainly because their appreciation and joy then gives you back your energy – so it is a virtuous circle.
I have been away for nearly a month in India and part of my work programme involved me working in Velammal Schools in Chennai. I worked with over a 1000 teachers over 6 days, so I had around 350 teachers at a time for 2 days. Can we please appreciate these amazing Indian Primary School Teachers who are mostly all women. They have to get up early in the morning and cook a real breakfast for everyone i.e. sometimes vegetables and dhosas … make the tea which involves milk and a range of spices, then after that prepare the lunch for everyone. Again, these are hot cooked lunches that go into tall silver tiffin boxes. Everyone is now up and out and they go to work in their beautiful sarees… on to old dusty buses where you cling on for dear life over all the pot holes which takes you to their school.
When they get there, they often have 40 – 50 children in a class (in government schools, it can be over 100 children in a class to 1 teacher). So, here they are looking at me – a strangely-dressed, golden-mopped, hand-gesturing, too fast-talking English woman… asking them to change their pedagogy to a more positive one. Asking them to embrace games and fun as a way of learning. To put themselves first sometimes so they have enough energy to engage with children. To practice mindfulness before they start their morning duties so that this quiet appreciation of life can infuse their busy day… then, not content with just these things, the busy English woman begs them to practice looking for the children who behave well and not scold the ones who behave badly and more than that, to run a Circle Time with maybe 20 children a day so that by the end of the week, all their children have engaged in Circle Time.
I cannot believe their good heartedness, their ability to take on new ideas but also at the same time helping their colleagues who may not have such good English… and so not only do they absorb all I am asking them to do, but they actually really appreciate it. Here is an amazing letter from Manveen Chadha, a principal of one of the schools.
“CEO Sir” is Mr Velumurgan – a wonderful enlightened man who is running a range of schools with over 2000 staff. Over the years I have been visiting India, he has attended my course many times in different parts of the country. He passionately believes in his children and staff and wants the very best for them. He is endlessly curious and continuously exploring worldwide options for his schools. While I was out there, he had just come back from some educational trips to Finland and then went off the USA. He has a big golden heart… and the softest furry elephant – I know because I gave it to him!!! I left it on his desk with a note to ask him if he could be the VIP reward for children. I want the schools to have a draw of golden raffle tickets so that the lucky children who win can go to his office and meet him and Mr Elephant for a chat and a hug.
- Read some of Jenny’s other International blogs here.
- Jenny went to India for the 2017 Schools That Care Conference in Bangalore. The Teacher Foundation presented a conference with a national presence and an international perspective, celebrating 15 years of dedicated work in making schools enabling environments for students. To find out more about this conference, do see the special conference section on The Teacher Foundation website. Whilst in India, Jenny was delighted to be invited to work with large groups of teachers at Velammal School.
Jenny Mosley delivers keynote speeches, seminars and workshops at conferences and training events including headteachers’ conferences in the UK. Jenny is also an International School Conference Presenter and has worked in many different countries. For further information about Jenny’s work and availability please phone 01225 767157, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see our training section and international training section on the website.
For all enquiries about INSET Training Days and Working in School Days for positive behaviour, social and emotional skills development, staff well-being, circle time and lunchtimes and playtimes in mainstream, special schools and early years settings click here or phone 01225 767157. Jenny Mosley’s training, consultancy and conferences are for teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers, midday supervisors and everyone who works with children in schools and settings to promote positive lunchtimes and playtimes, SEAL, SMSC, PSHE, citizenship and British Values. Read more about Jenny Mosley’s Wellbeing Training In Primary Schools.
- ‘How to Create Calm Dining Halls’ has quickly become one of Jenny’s best selling books ever. This book has many initiatives, audits, photographs and ideas for the dining hall such as those mentioned in the article. If you are interested in school dining hall improvement, you may like to see our dining hall articles in Headteacher Update and the TES.