Work in Progress - A Sanskrit Intern

Sejal Gir is on a one-year ERT teaching bursary with the St James Prep School Sanskrit Department. These are her reflections so far.

I am now at end of my first term and am very much enjoying being part of the Sanskrit department. St James has not only re-ignited my relationship with Sanskrit but I love teaching it too. It has been wonderful getting to know all my students and their varying personalities.

Coming from a non-teaching background, I have found this position to be both refreshing and exciting. I have learned so much. It is interesting to see the techniques applied to engage the young, enquiring minds. Teaching using games and the Sanskrit textbooks has been very successful.

So far I have been learning a great deal about classroom management, discipline, lesson planning, and various methods of teaching. I find it a joy to teach the ever eager and enquiring younger Prep pupils and I’m constantly being kept on my toes by the older Prep pupils’ thirst for more challenging work. I have great support and mentoring from both Elena and Warwick Jessup, whose hard work and dedication are really inspiring.

The children are a delight. It’s all a new experience for me. I am fortunate to be able to recite Sanskrit prayers daily and hear stories from the Sanskrit epics during the Sanskrit assembly. I also find the pause to be a great opportunity to practise stillness.

My personal ethos is very much in line with that of St James. With Sanskrit I feel I am rediscovering my family roots. I recently discovered that my surname, Gir, (short for Giri) is one of the ten traditional names in the Sankara Advaita Vedanta tradition.

It is a privilege to be learning to teach amongst such incredible teachers and to be imparting the knowledge of this special language to future generations. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. I am truly grateful.