Vanna Vakharia's placement in India
Vanna believed she had reached the stage where there was no further professional development available. "In order to challenge myself further and to achieve more out of my life, I decided to become a teacher."
Taking up an alternative educational placement, Vanna spent three weeks in a school in India as part of the course. She returned with the belief that the experience has changed her life, and the way she sees the world.
Placed in India
For her alternative educational placement, Vanna went to Mumbai. The school, SSRVM, was established to provide a quality education to children living in Dharavi, one of the largest slums in Asia. The school has devised a Value Based Curriculum and gives equal importance to impart knowledge to children about health and hygiene, social responsibility, community development and other local issues.
Apart from her first day, Vanna was expected to teach the Year Three class independently for three weeks. This meant she had to learn and then teach the Indian National Curriculum by herself from day two. "The school valued the children's voices and provided counselling, health advice, sex education and other services to help them develop into good citizens," she says.
Vanna now feels her approach to teaching is more rounded thanks to her placement in India. "I have learnt how to treat each child as a unique individual and value their contribution irrespective of their behaviour, abilities or other attributes. I also learnt to manage disruptive, violent and attention-seeking behaviour of children by using different strategies advised by the class teacher. I learnt to keep my lessons fast-paced and engaging so children are motivated to learn."
Vanna secured a job at one of the other schools where she was placed in Barnet. Nevertheless, she is considering further study - a Masters in Education specialising in EAL learners’ appeals to her. She is committed to 'giving something back' and believes that teaching has given her the right outlet to do that.