As my group of college peers and I prepared for our volunteer trip to India, one primary concern we discussed was our lack of knowledge about teaching. I was an education major, but still felt unsure about how the volunteer work would be structured. However, our fears were quickly relieved upon meeting Varun and the iSpiice staff. They explained the expectations to teach the students basic conversational and written English. Working together, we quickly developed games and activities we could use. iSpiice had a
variety of resources and books to help us. Varun was always willing to teach us some basic phrases in the local language so that we could start our classes ensuring students understood the new English vocabulary accurately.
We would volunteer in the morning, and then return to the iSpiice headquarters for lunch and an afternoon break. This gave us time to discuss different ideas and get materials ready for the next day of class. Often, our group would send two teachers to each class, allowing for a great opportunity to collaborate and share ideas. After the first few days, we found ourselves establishing routines for our classes. For example, I picked high frequency words for my students to study and then gave them spelling tests. We would discuss the spelling patterns in these words and play games with the words. The students loved games like “Hangman” to practice their spelling! With older students, we introduced more complicated English concepts, such as basic parts of speech and subject-verb agreement. These lessons helped students excel in reading, writing, listening to, and speaking the English language.
While we were at first hesitant about our abilities to prepare for teaching children in a foreign country, we quickly experienced success and progress, and were delighted to return to class each day!