I’ve only got one week left of school and one more Garbology class with my 4th standard students. But judging by the way things have been going, I think this curriculum has made a mark on them. While I was out of town for a few weeks because of a death in the family, the school celebrated Sankranti, when the villagers come to campus and we all celebrate the bulls with beautiful rangoli on the ground and lots of dancing and snacking. Unfortunately, the snacking often becomes quite messy. And at the end the entire end it becomes quite a mess with paper cups and other items all over the ground. But this year, I was told, my fourth standard Garbology students went into action–without anyone telling them to do so–and cleaned up the mess entirely on their own, putting all the items into the correct bins! They didn’t even think to tell me about this wonderful act; I heard about it from other teachers.
More recently I celebrated my 47th birthday. I received lots of interesting and beautiful upcycled gifts from students. But what touched me the most was when the 4th standard children came to my house with a dabba filled with a fruit salad. Often times the children make cakes for birthdays out of biscuits that come in multi-layered foil packaging. But knowing how much I loathe that, they put together lots of healthy fruits and nuts. It was the best fruit salad I’ve ever had. They also made me some origami cranes out of old dhobi chits, a bracelet from used paper and biscuit wrappers, and they crafted an elaborate box pyramid in which each box contained a small gift or note inside.