Nepal – Teaching in Pokhara

photo credit: Alex Dugan

Pokhara

Upon our arrival at the school in Pokhara we were greeted by the headmaster, who let us know that we would have five classes that day. For those of us who had been teaching in Bhaktapur, we were struck by the infrastructure of the school and the paved playground – something we were certainly not used to!

The school appeared to be in great condition and behind the site you were surrounded by green hills. One comment passed amongst the mentors was that it reminded them a little bit of the Welsh hills – nothing like a reminder of home to make you feel comfortable! We were told to expect three grade eight classes and two grade nine. Some of us were split off to teach independently, leaving four to be put into pairs to co-teach. Sana and myself walked into our classroom of grade nines and were shocked to find a huge class of 49 pupils.

We started to teach our first lesson and they were certainly eager to get involved, but we quickly realised that our voices just were not physically loud enough. With the classroom walls being made out of bamboo i.e. Wafer-thin and not soundproof, next doors class’ number game completely drowned our voices out! Luckily, we had a brief team talk and decided to put the boys, Kris and James, in our class with the idea being that their voices might be louder than ours.

After a long and hard day of teaching, in which all of us came away with sore throats, we were able to put together a 5 person team to invite to the Debate Mate final in Kathmandu. It was a spur of the moment decision to invite a team from Pokhara, and was a result of a successful teaching day and some excellent students. Alex frantically sought to gather the money needed to give to the school for the transport. We joked that we would know have to live in hope that they would definitely turn up and not run away with 10,000 rupee (of course they showed up and were absolutely fantastic!).

Lizzie Holmes