Government schools in Nepal typically close the day before exams, so that teachers can spend the day preparing for them (sorting exam papers, seating plans etc). They call this ‘shift planning’ (I still don’t know why).
Shift planning takes no more than an hour, so when we joined the school we did not see how we could justify closing the school for a day, for just an hour’s work.
So before our 1st term exams, we convinced the staff that we should keep the school open, and do the shift planning after school. As with all changes, this took quite some time and effort to achieve, but it was a significant step in demonstrating that student learning must be prioritised.
Today was the day before our 2nd term exams, and I made a quick visit to another local school to meet someone. When I got there, there were no students about, and when I asked where they all were, the answer came, ‘We’re closed today for shift planning.’
And then it struck me. Not only was our school open today, but I had totally forgotten schools close for shift planning, and no one in our school had even mentioned.
For me, that’s a small sign of progress; of culture change – when doing something differently is not longer thought of as different. The new habit becomes so normalised that you forget the old habit even existed.