It was our last evening in the school. I just finished recording interviews of some of the volunteers. While walking back on the bridge, I came across a group of female students whom I was familiar with but wasn’t particularly close to as they weren’t in my tutoring group. Of course, they were all friendly, chatty and flattering. Yes! They talk idly about the volunteers among themselves! Since I had my camera with me, I snapped photos of them which they were excited to see.

At one point, I gave my camera to them to take photos and they were so thrilled to play around with it. One was trying out different compositions while the others were posing for the shot. Here are some of the photos snapped by the students themselves. In the past two weeks, while I captured their emotions and memories, it never occured to me that my camera could have also been, among others, a means to bridge the gap between the students and I.

Capturing the attention of students, especially during lessons, has always been a challenge. In order to gain their interests, I included real-life applications in my Mathematics lessons such as measuring volume of liquids, reading measuring cylinder scales, identifying volumes of liquid containers around us and measuring mass of stones using kitchen scales. These were the times when the energy level of my tutees, four of them, were really high compared to normal lesson periods. I also introduced them to a new technique of multiplication using fingers which allowed them to compute tables of six to nine easily and quickly.

Day after day, I could see how they were competing to blurt out the answer quickly though ending up wrong at times due to carelessness. On the other hand, for English, I had two very challenging tutees who made me aware of my high level of patience. One was able to read and spell, while the other struggled to do both, let alone write. My aim was to increase their English vocabulary and slowly use them to build simple sentences be it through reading Peter and Jane books to reinforce new words learnt, or watching the movie Inside Out with English subtitles, although I had to spend most of the time translating the words in the book or movie. Two weeks over and did I make a difference in their English level? Probably not much but I do hope they’ll continue to strive on their own.

Written by,
Hastha Chithiran

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