MAD Cochin held an assessment test for the kids at all centres over the last couple of weeks. It was a baseline test which was held to see how much of English the kids already knew (as suggested by EzVidya who comes up with our syllabus).
If examinations can be nerve wracking for the students, it can be quite the same for the teachers as well – or so I found out. We were not just testing the kids, we were also being tested ourselves. Though I was initially supposed to be doing the test at just one centre, I eventually ended up doing it at three. ;) Don Bosco, Palluruthy (better known as Big Boys), Snehabhavan, Palluruthy and YMCA, Thrikkakara were on my hit list. :P
The assessment test at Big Boys was uneventful. There were the normal hiccups associated with doing something new, but other than that, everything went off perfectly. But Snehabhavan was a real challenge. The kids here are hyper-active, and normally volunteers find it difficult to make them sit down and listen to classes. We were really not sure if the kids had the patience and the required attention span to sit down and take the entire test, so we decided to do it as a viva.
The viva at YMCA
Inspite of that, there was a moment of desperation. Jake, who is the centre head at Snehabhavan, managed to get all the kids into one room to let them know about the test. But some of the volunteers had to be still briefed about the test and there was a delay in starting off. Which was all the kids needed to ‘escape’ the room and have their share of fun. Jake comes out of the room ashen faced and tells me, “The kids are all gone, I can’t do anything now!”
But together, we did manage to do something. We eventually picked up the kids one by one to quiz them and rounded off the test in time.
The tests also proved just how street-smart and intelligent our kids are. There was one guy who actually took the test twice with two different volunteers! (And he was such a good actor that the second volunteer did not have even the slightest clue that he had already taken the test with another volunteer.) There was another 4th standard kid who took the test (which was only meant for 5th grade and above) and actually scored 100%.
Snehabhavan really tested all of us – our patience, our perseverance, our co-ordination, our administrative skills – everything was put to the sword. :D
The kids are waiting to take the viva. Do they look stressed out? This happens only in MAD! :)
YMCA, which was next on my list, was actually the easiest. Partly because I had done the test at two other centres already and knew exactly how to go about it, partly because we had volunteers in abundance and partly because the kids were a lot easier to manage. And I finally managed to get enough time off in between to get some pictures taken. But most of the credit (or should I say all?) for making things at YMCA so easy for me, goes to the kids – they were such amazing little angels. :)
Rude-olf at his mean best
I also realized that some of our own volunteers might have flunked the test had they taken it. :P Consider this – one volunteer starts writing down the names of all the kids at YMCA in a list. Later, another one completes the list and adds numbers next to each name so that we know how many kids there are in total. But the second volunteer actually numbers both the first and second names of the kids, so we end up having more kids on our list than we did in our class!
According to one MAD volunteer, Arun P. Rajan and Bibin Varghese are not two, but 4 kids! :P
But that is hardly anything compared to the half hour I spent trying to locate and identify some simple words from a grid (this was part of the assessment test), unsuccessfully. But the kids didn’t seem to have any of the trouble that I encountered.
Many of them scored 100% and the average score was well above 75%. :) We better make sure that we get our act together, because we are teaching little geniuses!