Sunday, July 29, 2012

There is more to sport than just the game

Teaching a class that will take the national exams or the Board Exams, as they refer to them here, is somewhat daunting for an outsider in this system. Since the curriculum is heavy going and well beyond many of the students at class X level, it makes me think it is designed to eliminate students from schooling. There simply aren’t the resources for everyone to complete high school to class XII anyway. It is grueling, wading through demanding literature just trying to complete the syllabus. Every time lessons are cancelled the pressure increases.

Therefore when I heard that our school was hosting the Cluster Sports Meet again this year and that I would lose 2 class X English classes on Saturday I was less than impressed and deeply concerned about how we will make up the lost time. In the interests of GNH and my own sanity, I am trying my best not to stress…

We were only given 4 days notice so training went into immediate overdrive and I got a big kick out of playing table tennis with the team after school for a few days. As is always the case, those students who are good at sports are in almost all the teams, so finding time that didn’t clash with basketball or volleyball proved to be a challenge but we squeezed in as many practice sessions as possible and I filled in for those who were training elsewhere when necessary. I absolutely love connecting and interacting with the students beyond the walls of the classrooms so this was an opportunity to be grasped.

When our cluster schools; Rahdi Middle Secondary School and Dungste Middle Secondary School arrived on campus on Friday afternoon, the whole atmosphere of the school changed. Madam Martha fellow BCFer arrived with the Dungste team and like most of us was more than a little confused about the process and schedules for the event but managed to roll with the punches and survive sleeping in the classroom with the girls from her school for 2 nights. Students who had attended those schools were delighted to catch up with old friends and the prospect of a 2-day weekend and study periods cancelled, added a holiday feel to the place.

I stopped thinking about the lost lessons and focused on the sports that were to be played and especially the table tennis for which I was once again the person-in-charge. Senior students rallied around to do the officiating and had more idea of what was required and how to accomplish it than I did if the truth be known. I was thrilled at the responsible and reliable way they managed everything.

I also delighted in being able to just wander about the campus and chat with students. Many of those I taught last year but don’t teach now, took the opportunity to spend some time with me and I love the way they socialize with ease and grace. In addition to photographing events, I corrected a morning speech, played a few games of table tennis and even listened to an impromptu jam session. A couple of class XII girls requested some help with their project work due tomorrow and we escaped with Matron’s approval, to our home for a couple of hours to use the Internet to accomplish that task.

Bhutanese Stretchable Time (BST) was operating throughout the meet and games were played with little or no regard for the actual schedule but this didn’t seem to faze anyone but us dopey foreigners!

The weather held up well on Saturday and even the monsoon rain seemed to be co-operating in that only the last event for the day- girls football was rained on, but not so today. Most games were played in the rain and the volleyball and soccer grounds looked more like quagmires than playing fields. Spirits, however remained undaunted, competition was tough and spectators braved the conditions to cheer their teams on.

Just to make a good thing even better Rangjung won many events and there were no discipline or behavior issues either.

All that remains is to try and find some extra time to take make-up classes with XC…. But then again we are also planning a movie session one weekend soon. Even with board exams on the horizon and the syllabus far from complete, we still need to have fun together. Isn’t that what GNH is all about!

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