Template – Teaching English in India
Our English teaching program in India is based in Kochi, Kerala. Kerala is known to be one of the most progressive states in India with very high literacy rates (almost 99%).This percentage however is calculated by the ability to read ad write in the local language Malayalam only. This makes our English teaching program a necessity especially for underprivileged children attending local government schools where the medium of teaching is in the local language.
In government schools there are very limited budgets and therefore lack quality teaching staff and proper infrastructure. Rote learning is the main method of teaching in these schools and this results in the lack of deep understanding of certain subjects and does not encourage the use of social skills amongst students.
As a result children from underpriviledged families prefer to take up jobs at a very young age rather than struggle with education in difficult classroom settings or due to rote learning which some find difficult. School drop out rates after high school are still very high in Kerala. Moreover because of rote learning from an early age many do not have develop confidence in later life also. This combined with poor English language skills means they can not get well paid office jobs that require English or work in tourism which is one of the fastest growth sectors in Kerala.
Our teaching program in India achieves the dual goal of aiding local government schools in Kochi, that have poor infrastructure and resources, and to help underprivileged children to get support with their education.
With the help of volunteers we can often make contributions to schools to improve facilities like creating library rooms and introducing the use of e-learning with computers and ipads.
As old fashioned methods of rote learning are still practiced students understanding of certain subjects like English is very weak. Students struggle in school as they do not have education reinforced at home as most have parents who are not educated or who can afford to encourage learning at home. Reading books for instance is considered a luxury and most children would never be in the practice of reading story books.
Through this program we hope to build up children’s understanding of English by alternative teaching techniques, giving them resources and support and thus developing confidence and making them enjoy education rather than fearing it. We hope that with the skills and motivation volunteers give them, students pursue higher education and get well paid jobs that often require English language skills.
As a teaching volunteer in India you will be helping children ranging from 4 years to 16 years of age. You will be working in local schools in Fort Kochi – a quaint little port town in Cochin, Kerala. There are no luxuries here, we’ll tell you that now. But what you can’t beat is the smiling faces of the kids who are so passionate to learn from you. And all the amazing, interesting, humble people you meet along the way – Well they will just make your volunteer experience unforgettable from start to finish.
In a day you can expect to work in one or two different primary schools (morning and afternoon sessions) where you will be assigned to a classroom where you will be taking English lessons. As most of our volunteers are not qualified teachers we will make sure you volunteer in classrooms with only 2 to 15 children or you could be helping weaker students with one to one sessions in English. You can also teach subjects like Math and Science. If you are a qualified teacher we can assign you to children aged 12-14 years.
Once you arrive to Kerala, we will give you all the support you need starting from appropriate training with our teaching coordinators, daily project meetings and providing you with appropriate resources to help you. In return we expect you to be enthusiastic and enjoy the experience of teaching in India.
To help us monitor progress, this teaching program does require you to thoroughly plan for any lessons you will be conducting. Allow yourself atleast 1-2 hours a day for preparing for the next days sessions. Our local teaching coordinators will guide you however we do expect you to do your own research and use innovative ways to teach the children the syllabus that is given to you.
In the past volunteers have conducted classes using iPads and computers, done art based learning and outdoor sessions. Before your arrival our teaching coordinators will be sending you a plan of your first few days on the program which will include topics you will be covering. Based on this you can also bring materials such as old story books and various teaching aids such as flash cards that are useful for young learners, as well as your iPads or computers that can help you whilst you lesson plan.
Please note that between April and May there are summer holidays in India for all schools. During this time we conduct special summer camp for children where teaching volunteers are always needed.
We expect all volunteers to come with an open mind, some patience and flexibility as things may not always go according to plan in India.
Here’s what your first week looks like
Saturday and Sunday
Your arrival weekend will be relaxed. Once we pick you up from the airport on Saturday and bring you to the volunteer house you will meet our local coordinators as well as fellow volunteers. After completing some arrival formalities, Yyou will be given a local area orientation as well as time to relax. All meals on Saturday will be in the volunteer house.
On Sunday your day begins with a lovely home cooked breakfast prepared for you by our house chef. After breakfast you will begin you training session which includes culture orientation as well as project training. The rest of your day will be for you to explore Fort Kochi with other volunteers or with the staff on site.
Monday – Thursday
On Monday we will be taking you to your project after a hearty Keralan breakfast. Usually breakfast is at 8.30 am to 9.30 am. Our teaching coordinator will go with you to the project at about 9.45am. On your first day you will have opportunity to observe a class or shadow another volunteer. Your morning placement will be from 10am to 12pm. If you are confident you can also start teaching straight away! From Tuesday onwards you will get straight into volunteering after breakfast. Our staff will be with you not to worry!
Lunch will be at the volunteer house between 1pm to 2pm and post lunch we will take you to you placement again between 2pm to 3pm. After you return home you will be sitting with the project coordinator to discuss the day and also plan for the next days sessions, which means you usually end your day by 5pm. Dinner will be at the volunteer house between 6pm to 7pm and in the evening you will be free to explore your local area or relax at the volunteer house.
Please note that the above is subject to change!
On Friday you have your usual morning volunteering session between 10:00 to 12:00 PM. Post lunch you can sit with your program manager to go over your week, and to plan out the following weeks volunteering activities. Evenings are free for you to explore and engage in cultural activities like the Kathakali dance show or cooking class or yoga. Our local team will suggest many activities for you!
Your weekends will be free for you to explore Kerala or India. We have some suggestions on what you can do below.
Key Sights to Explore
‘My experience in India was absolutely fantastic. Having never done anything like this before, Volunteering Journeys made sure I settled in well and supported me throughout my time. Being placed with an amazing family gave me the chance to experience Indian culture first hand. I was part of the Disabled Childcare Programs for two weeks. Although short, I felt the time I spent was so valuable for the children. If this is something that you are interested in I would 100% recommend it. The memories, friendships and experiences you will develop will be ones that you will never forget.’
‘The teaching experience was second to none. I was overwhelmed by the respect and politeness all the children have, which made it some much easier to work with them, even with the language barrier. The amazing thing about the schools I visited was that all the children are like little sponges, they absorb everything you say, teach and do! It’s quite outstanding how much they gain from just a small conversation in the playground or in the class room.
So in general if you are questioning whether you want to volunteer and you don’t know what company to go with, it has the be Volunteering Journeys. You will be well looked after, gain an immense experience and make friends for life!!!’
‘I took a short sabbatical from work in November 2013 and decided to come to India. I was helping at a small school in Fort Kochi, teaching English, Maths, Science and the odd nursery rhyme. The school where I volunteered had amazing teachers and the kids were great. Ridhi and the team organised everything brilliantly – from cycling tours to the backwaters, to hosting me with a family that made my stay feel like home. If you’re going to volunteer in India then I highly recommend Volunteering Journeys’
“J’ai passé deux mois formidables à Kochi en travaillant comme volontaire avec Volunteering Journeys. Deux mois de ma vie que je n’oublierais jamais. J’ai rencontré des gens incroyables et participé à des projets qui me tenaient vraiment à coeur. J’ai pu voir l’aboutissement de mes efforts et le sourire sur le visage des enfants. Une expérience magique que je recommande à tous. Merci Rainbow”
‘I spent 3 wonderful weeks with the Volunteering Journeys team in Kerala, it marked the beginning of almost 2 months adventuring through India, and I can say without a doubt it was one of my favourite experiences of my time spent in incredible India! From the moment my plane landed and I was greeted by a friendly face and whisked away to a wonderful home, the local staff were incredibly welcoming, helpful, supportive and great fun to be around!
I spent my time volunteering in 2 local schools, assisting with English studies. The enthusiasm and joy with which the children approach their days will ensure you never want to leave!I cannot recommend Volunteering Journeys highly enough, it was such a joyful introduction to India – it’s culture, people and crazy beautiful way of life. You will leave with some fond memories and firm friendships’
‘I volunteered by teaching English both at a school and at an all girls’ orphanage for two months. It has been the best experience of my life so far. I really got to know the children I was teaching and seeing the children’s English improve over my time was an incredible feeling. From being introduced to yoga to tasting delicious flavoursome Indian cuisine and living in “God’s own country”, has left me eager to return. I have made friends across the World who made my time spent in Kerala unforgettable. I highly recommend volunteering with Volunteering Journeys; Kerala is beautiful and you will gain fun memories.’
‘I spent two weeks running an art workshop which was absolutely fantastic. The children were so enthusiastic and bustled about with paste and paint, putting together the most amazing creations. They were not used to producing collaborative work and were thrilled when their individual efforts achieved a glorious whole. Their personalities really shone through and I became very fond of them in the short time I was with them. Thank you to Volunteering Journeys for enabling me to have such a wonderful experience!’
‘There is some kind of magic that happens when you’re in India. The climate, the people, the warm welcome, the happiness in every person, the culture, it’s simply inspiring. On top of that having a group of friendly, thoughtful organizers guiding me through the program made my time volunteering with Volunteering Journeys one of the most memorable moments in my life.
If anyone reading this is considering becoming a volunteer, don’t hesitate, become a volunteer. It will be the most rewarding experience and adventure of your life. I assure you that you will have a vital impact on the community, the place and the children. I would recommend Volunteering Journeys without hesitation. Well organized and hassle free adventure. You get help and guidance with everything you need. Kerala was my destination. Safe, beautiful and very friendly. Just do it and have an adventure of your life!’
“Volunteering at the schools was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Once again the friendships you create are irreplaceable. Admittedly, the first few days were scary, in the sense that my partner and I were only 18 & 20 yrs old and we were teaching women and children a language that was not their first. However the persistence and willingness of Indians is not to be tested. Each of our students put in 100% and naturally we became very personal with everyone and these women and children taught us much more. We came out of this experience with more than we had ever anticipated. It can’t be put into words just how much we learnt from volunteering. Ever aspect of our lives and mindset has changed.”
‘I think it was quite an eye opening experience to kind of see how people live and enjoy their lives very differently to what we do probably in UK. Even though comparatively they didn’t have as much, the children still came to school with a smile on their face and they were really keen to learn. They were ever so happy and always had a smile on their face regardless of the circumstances that they are living in, and I think that was an amazing experience for us to take back. We have comparatively much more wealth in the UK and we have much more available at our fingertips. Yet we were quite not so happy’
‘We decided to volunteer as part of our family vacation. It was the perfect balance: making a contribution but not being asked to do too much, with Volunteering Journeys staff with us every step of the way to help, support, clarify, etc. I was also impressed that they didn’t feed us a line about how we were changing the world in a week; I knew going in that *we* would be the ones most changed, and the staff’s perspective’s was the same: we were making an impact by showing we cared and sharing experiences, which hopefully meant something to a lot of people.’
Join our team in this life-changing immersive travel experience in South India and help break the poverty cycle through the power of education. Join our English teaching volunteer program now.