Project Awake and Shine

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Margot Sherwill

My Awake & Shine Adventure

Since 2012 I have become mesmerized by the Awake and Shine school revisiting it several times. Each succeeding visit has added another layer to my experience whilst enhancing the learning of the staff at Awake and Shine.

My work has focused on two main aspects:

  • The development of the staff’s understanding of how to teach English
  • The writing of a set of carefully graded readers based on the children’s daily life in their village

Staff Development

I have followed a pattern of observing and participating in the classrooms daily and identifying areas where improvements may be made. 

Each afternoon I would then meet with the staff to coach and model good teaching practice.  The expectation was that the teachers would follow up their learnings the next day.

I have also presented a full day’s professional development to the whole Awake and Shine staff.  The program involved administrators, teachers and classroom assistants.  The focus was on the improved teaching of English and the structure of an appropriate English lesson.

Reader Development

Awake and Shine School has set itself the aim to teach all children to speak English fluently using a wide vocabulary and correct sentence structure. In order to enhance this, I am currently writing a series of carefully graded English readers based on the students’ experiences in their village.  Each page is complemented by full colour photographs - all with local characters.   All 145 readers are sequential with increasing sentence length, vocabulary and complexity.  The readers will span four years from Lower KG to the end of class 2.  These children ‘devour’ books and their love of reading is a joy to support.

Life at Samthar

Whilst each day we may spend at the school, evenings are spent in the Farmhouse lounge, enjoying the company of travellers from around the world, each with their own story to tell. 

Weekends allow time for exploration further afield.  We have taken the opportunity to spend a few days in neighbouring Kalimpong for shopping expeditions 'extraordinaire' or further adventures to Darjeeling. 

Here the Darjeeling Zoo, the Tibetian Refuge Centre and the Everest Museum are dwarfed by the ever-present, monumental view of the third highest mountain in the world.

My extended family in Samthar remain dear to my heart and I treasure their
friendship, company, challenges and all the precious times I have spent sharing with these happy, generous people.

Our Address: Project Awake and Shine
Samthar Farm House, Basti and Post Office Samthar, Kalimpong,
Dist Darjeeling, West Bengal, India - 734301
Mobile: +91-94340-47372,E-mail : awakeandshineschool@yahoo.com, gurudongma@outlook.com, gurudongma@gmail.com
For India wide Tours and Treks go to www.astonishingindiatours.com. Mob: +91-94340-62100,