Cycling Club

I was a founding teacher at an English medium secondary school in Pune, India for the 2015-16 academic year. We had around 130 eighth and ninth standard students and shared our school building with English, Marathi and Urdu medium schools. With space and time both at a premium, it was a challenge to give our children experiences beyond academic content. Keeping this in mind, our team decided to start clubs at school that would meet once a week (usually on Thursday). Different teachers led the clubs that ranged from debate to music to craft. I was in charge of two clubs - a Puzzle Club (discussed in another post) that met in school to learn and solve different puzzles and a Cycling Club that met on alternate Sunday mornings. Being passionate about both these activities drove me to want my children to experience the same joys that I felt when solving a puzzle or cycling in the cool, fresh morning air!

I created an application form for children to fill out if they were interested in joining the club. The first descriptive question would help me ascertain the child's interest and motivation to commit to a club that would require him/her to wake up early on Sunday! The second question emphasises respect - a core value that I stressed upon with all my students.

Our first journey saw 6 students (Om, Mayur, Mohsin, Ahmad, Faizan and Sachin) and I cycling around localities close to school. Since it was our first time, we did not cover a lot of distance and focused more on basic road safety. We also played Frisbee in the local park!

On another occasion, another teacher at my school joined us and we met with two other Teach For India fellows and their students to cycle a longer route around Pune. On returning home, I used to print out a notice of the details of our club's activities that day and display them on the school notice board on Monday morning. This excited the members of the cycling club as they enjoyed reading the descriptions and seeing the photographs of our outings!

Some photographs from our different trips together are shown below. We usually set off from school at 6:30 a.m. and cycled about 20 kilometres with breaks depending on the students who were on the trip and their stamina levels!