Wolfgang Viehberger, a young teacher from Austria, approached me 2 years ago and told me that he liked the philosophy of the nature school in India very much and asked if it is possible to work there as a volunteer for some time.
We invited him to our home and had very good conversations. Meanwhile Wolfgang has finished all his exams and was until recently at a German bilingual school in Spain.
To our great joy Wolfgang has now decided to fly to India at his own expense from 08th to 25th October 2019 to teach at the school for board and lodging for more than 2 weeks.
This time at school was an enrichment and joy for the children and teachers and Wolfgang also enjoyed the time very much and said: “At some point I will come back again, it is a wonderful place with so many affectionate people”.
The music and sports enthusiastic teacher brought a lot of movement, fun, laughter and seriousness to school in a playful way.
Already on the 1st day he played Frisbee with the children – which many children did not know – in order to get to know their names. Each child had to call the name of the child to which the Frisbee was thrown.
In his lessons he integrated colours, music and various games, in which the children could develop a sense of community and mutual trust, according to the motto, together we are strong.
Even if communication was sometimes difficult, there was a lot of laughter and improvisation in the end.
The teachers of the school gave Wolfgang a lot of freedom and opportunities to get involved in the lessons, which he liked to use.
Games such as carrot pulling, cat and mouse, spider web, thunder-weather-flash, fire-water-wind, lion hunt also brought nature into the lessons. They learned English words in a simple way, practiced motor skills, posed emotions and wrote then the new words in a booklet to learn the spelling of law.
Wolfgangs motivation was quickly transferred to the children.
Whether in “rhythm units with newspapers”, in which the children balance the leaf on their head, back, knee, feet and move it without losing it or playing freely on instruments or playing with a parachute or pantomime, the children enthusiastically joined in and had a lot of fun.
A special highlight were two days dedicated to nature conservation and garbage.
Wolfgang collected with the children 5 bags of garbage in the village and in nature.
In the afternoon he showed the children a video showing how different animals died because of plastic. There were questions about how the children feel, what they have seen and what they can do to help.
Another video showed the children the five largest plastic islands in the oceans and their effects. Afterwards, the children answered questions again and worked out solution strategies.
The next day three groups were formed and the children received the order to design a beautiful and meaningful poster on the subject of garbage.
Wolfgang called for and promoted the fantasy, the movement and the camaraderie of the children very much in this time.
On another day Wolfgang did partner exercises with the children and then built a human pyramid. This was a great challenge, but it was mastered and everyone had a lot of fun.
At the end of Wolfgang’s lessons, masks made of paper plates and costumes were made for a play.
Before that, the children watched the video of the story of the play, then, in order to warm themselves up, they played a game in which they played different roles and emotions and then rehearsed the play.
The performance was a bit chaotic in the beginning and still very successful in the end. The children learned English very well and trained their memory.
Wolfgang also had the opportunity to visit the parents of the children in the villages, to be a guest of the staff at home and to travel to a temple in order to immerse himself in Indian culture.
Wolfgang enjoyed the time at the nature school very much and wants to come back.
In the near future, however, he will start teaching in Austria at a school where most of the children come from refugee families, where difficult family circumstances prevail and where there are hardly any native speakers.
But we are convinced that Wolfgang will master this task with his enthusiasm, his joyful way of teaching in a playful way and his great love for children.
We wish him all the best on his way,
say a heartfelt thank you for his lessons and what he has brought with him
and are already looking forward to seeing him again soon.