Monday, 27 August 2012

Back To School And Open House

June in Pune-the month when the schools reopen for a brand new academic year and parents after having enjoyed,suffered and tolerated their children for two whole months cannot honestly deny that they are glad to see the little darlings back in school!It is also a time when parents dig deep into their pockets and shell out money for school fees,for books,for stationery and all the paraphernalia that are associated with going back to school.The rush to cover the books at the last moment,shopping for new uniforms and school bags and since back to school coincides with heavy rains in Pune (or used to) raincoats and umbrellas are a must have too!
And then once school starts we wait for the dreaded time tables to come home.Every day during the first week, the child is diligently asked if he has got 'it'.'It' here refers to the portion and the dates for the unit tests which are such an integral part of our school system back home.The mother grabs it even before it is fully out of the school bag! Planning birthday parties,picnics,outings,visiting friends and family,even watching a movie centers around these dates and children start studying weeks in advance!
Imagine our surprise and relief when,after moving to Nairobi,one of the first notes our children got home from school had nothing to do with portions and exams.It was an invitation to join the staff and students for a picnic on the splendid school grounds.It was a chance to informally mingle with the teachers and Principals,to understand their expectations, an opportunity to soak in the atmosphere our children would be spending a great deal of time in,a chance for new parents to find their way around the campus and to just let our hair down and relax.
This year our daughter started High School and so the school had planned the open house event in such a way that we got a taste of what a typical school day is like for her.We actually followed her time table,rushing from one classroom to another as the bell pealed every ten minutes!Yes,they took pity on us parents and shortened each period!Every teacher gave us a short talk on her particular subject often accompanied by power point presentations!Impressive!They even shared a lot about themselves as people and their own backgrounds.This is something new for us as teachers in India never discuss anything beyond the child's performance!And we were warned against reaching late for any class,our punishment being lunch detention with the high school Principal himself!It brought back memories of my college days in India for that is when we move around for different subjects,unlike in the American system where they start switching classrooms from Middle School itself!
The babies of the Elementary School had to lead their parents to their respective classrooms and show them around.So our son proudly led us to the third grade classroom where we could meet his teacher and admire the way the class was done up.It reminded me of all those Enid Blyton  British school stories which I enjoyed so much,where the parents come in at Half Term and thoroughly explore the school and see what the students have accomplished.Except that we were getting our chance at the beginning of the year!The Americans lead from the front,it seems!Little wonder that they put a man on the Moon (may his soul rest in peace) and a machine on Mars!

Once our classroom duty was done,it was time to party or in this case,picnic!Caterers had set up stalls with an array of food and beverages,the band was playing,the school grounds were a riot of colour with beautiful flowers and blossoming trees.The flags of all nations which have their students here fluttered in the background,adding to the colour.It felt good to see the Indian Tiranga flying high...I had specially asked that vegetarians be catered to as well,as we had gone back hungry the previous year.And so this year we were able to buy vegetarian food which was a major relief,though another parent from India was heard bemoaning the lack of Bhel and Paani Puri!The day had started as a rainy one but the skies cleared,the sun peeped through the clouds,a cool breeze sprung up and the day turned out to be tailor made for a picnic.All was right in our little world and it has been a glorious start to what could be tough times ahead as Kenya heads for the polls this year.For now,it's one day at a time and such sparkling days surely stand out!


  1. Hi Anupama,

    Very interesting write-up !
    I am very surprised to see that Kenya has such beautiful schools(as in the pictures) as well !
    With your writings, I feel like shifting there !haha..
    Please do write about work-life there?
    Would wish to know how stressful it is like working there ;) hahhaa

  2. Hi Priya,
    So glad you enjoyed it.Thanks!
    Not just the schools but Kenya itself is very beautiful and naturally so!Nothing artificial about it!As far as work is concerned the biggest stress factor would be the time taken to commute due to the jams.Other than that its good,except that things take time to happen which is true of India as well!
    Do plan a holiday!And if you want to explore work wise,after the elections would be a good idea!

  3. Hi Anupama! I found you through the World Bloggers hop. So, you are Indian living in Kenya and I am American living in South Africa. I've been to Kenya and also India. All the best with the new school year! The S.A. school year ends in Dec. and begins in January. Also, keep safe during the elections!

    Tina - mom of 4 and author of 5 blogs

  4. Hi Christina!
    Thank you for your mail!You are my first reader from South Africa!
    Do you have an American school in South Africa too?


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