A day in the life of... Sherab Tsomo

10th January 2014 at 00:00
The stairs may be torture and there's never enough time to sleep, but for this English teacher in Dharamsala, India, enjoying the wonders of nature makes her long day worthwhile

I love sleeping. I sleep late - I get up at 7am. Here, other people get up at 5am, 6am.

The first thing I do is offer sacred holy water and a little butter lamp to a picture of the Dalai Lama and an image of the goddess Dolma. Then I do my protestations three times. I know my prayers by heart, so I can just chant them while I'm doing household chores. It saves time.

I live with my husband, who's also a teacher, in staff quarters at the Tibetan Children's Village school in Dharamsala, India. For breakfast, we eat Tibetan bread that I've made myself, with peanut butter and jam. Then we have to rush to school. You should see the stairs I have to climb every day to get there - people say it's good exercise but for me it's torture.

The day begins with assembly, and the Tibetan and Indian national anthems. I'm an English teacher and this morning I have Class 6. I interact with the students only in the language they're studying. Even if they are gossiping, they should tell me the gossip in English. That's how you learn a language - by speaking it.

I try to have six or seven activities in every lesson. Sometimes I find them on the internet, sometimes I get them from more experienced teachers and sometimes I make them up myself.

Lunch is at 1.10pm every day. We have a staff mess for teachers. I love talking while eating - we all cook for our families so we share recipes around. We'll say things like: "I've seen a new vegetable at the market - do you know how to cook it?"

I have Class 8 after lunch. I always take them outside, come rain, wind or shine. I don't think they can think well in the classroom so I want them to be with nature. And I prefer to teach outside - nature really inspires me.

I would love to take them to nearby Dal Lake. It has magnificent scenery and they could write beautiful poems about it. But I never have time so we usually go to the school temple, which has a little garden outside it.

School finishes at 4pm. It's a long, tiring day. I stay and do some planning in the staffroom. I do notebook-correction work, which takes a while and uses all my free time.

Somewhere around 5.30pm, I go home. Then I change my clothes, lie down for a bit and watch television. My husband likes the National Geographic channel so I watch that with him: snake-hunting and adventures. Then I watch Indian reality TV: Indian Idol and the Dance India Dance Super Moms dancing competition.

My husband never brings school talk into the house. I don't share what I do in the classroom and he doesn't either. We just talk about our families, shopping and other things.

Most evenings, I end up texting my friends. My sister and mother live in California and I have friends in the US. So I spend my evenings on Skype and Facebook.

Then I pack for tomorrow's lessons. I get the dress I'll wear tomorrow ready so I don't have to think about it in the morning. Around 11.30pm, I go to bed. Again, that's really early. I love sleep.

Your day

Do you want to tell the world's teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email richard.vaughan@tes.co.uk

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