With construction of the new school well underway, we took the time to sit down with one of the teachers at Jalapadevi. Prakash Sapkoda, an English teacher, sat down to tell us a little more about his experiences as a teacher in Nepal.
How long have you been teaching at Jalapadevi?
For around two years.
What subject do you teach?
English, I’m an English teacher here.
What is your weekly schedule like? How many classes do you teach a day?
I teach five classes a day and work from Mondays to Fridays.
Do you live near the school?
I rent a room which isn’t too far from the school, it’s about a ten-minute walk away.
Have you always lived in this area? Tell me a little more about your family.
My home village is around five hours away by bus – this is where my parents and younger brother live. Compared to other Nepali families, which usually have around ten members, mine is quite small.
How often do you travel back home?
I go back every weekend. I leave on Fridays after school and return on Sunday mornings. The school week runs from Sunday to Friday in Nepal, so I have Saturdays off and that’s when I go home to visit my family.
What was your major in college?
I majored in English Education.
Why did you choose to be an English teacher?
Well English is an international language which is very widely spoken and understood. In order to learn more about the world one needs to be able to speak English. Because I studied English, I’m able to sit here and have a conversation with you, something not all teachers in Nepal can do. It’s such an important language and it’s important to be able to speak it well.
How do your students feel about learning English? Do they like it?
They do like English and they study really hard too. The difficulty comes with obtaining good results – as most students may be good at listening and speaking, but have difficulty with reading and writing. This is because of limited resources such as English books and materials both at school and at home.
Do you ever interact with your students’ outside of school?
Yes, I regularly visit my students, this way I can communicate with their parents on the importance of education both at school and at home. It is disappointing sometimes as some parents don’t see the importance of education – they want and need their children to start working early in order to earn for their households.
What is your ultimate dream or goal?
My dream is to be a successful and famous English teacher.
What are your insights on the rebuilding of Jalapadevi?
I know quite a bit about the project and I really care about it. I’m happy that with the rebuilding of the school will come two new buildings, including a library, canteen, labs and a dormitory once complete. I’m also really happy to know that we’ll have enough classrooms for all the teachers and students.
Do you think short-term volunteer teachers are beneficial to the school?
Yes, I think these teachers are a very positive addition. Firstly, I think they are excellent for our students, it gives them the opportunity to learn more about the rest of the world. Secondly,it’s a great learning opportunity for our teachers and helps them improve their outlook on teaching.
Do you think the school needs more volunteer teachers?
Yes, we definitely need more teachers to help – especially good arts and science teachers.
Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
I only want to thank EF for this opportunity and I’m very excited for the new campus to be complete.