It’s been a week of…well the best word that I can think of is… acclimatization. We’ve been down in Bandaragama frequently over the past few months for interviews, site visits and meetings. Orientation week gave us a sneak peek but this week…well this week has been a full window into our new adventure!
The whole team was in this Monday as we navigated through a very challenging and complex day. Samisa highlighted the day in his blog which he wrote especially for the occasion. https://samisa-abeysinghe.blogspot.com/2023/02/avinya-academy-first-day-of-school.html?m=1
So what were our Milestones for this week?
How can we choose? But let me try…
- Completed the first week of ‘regular school’ in hybrid format while we wait for the final touches to be completed on our campus
- Learnt how to adapt teaching based on the many things that don’t run smoothly or as planned
- Responded to emerging student needs when your meticulous lesson plan has three more stages but you dwell on stage 1 because you know the students need it
- Navigated the operational intricacies of procurement, suppliers, food and meal plans
- Dealt with a wide range of student needs and issues which required a wide range of solutions and creativity at times
Just to highlight a few…So, to fully capture this we got to hear from our students too which was incredibly special to us.
It was hard to summarize but here are a few which sum up the collective sentiment so far…
“I want to learn. There is team spirit. I made new friends. We are close to teachers.”
“It’s a very good program. I think I have a good future now.”
“Our teachers are very friendly. We learnt a lot.”
“I am very excited, so very happy.”
“Our teacher is very kind.”
“I like speaking English and playing fun games.”
“Avinya school is very beautiful and big.”
“I liked the teacher’s teaching stye.”
“There are no words to say about the academy, this academy is so good.”
“I love how Avinya Academy treats us.”
The reflection tree:
It made the team well up when reading them all!
“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” – Steve Jobs
See you soon and Hello!
This week did have a bit of bitter sweetness as we bid farewell to our ChatGPT and all things AI guru and most importantly Samisa’s lunch partner, Rukmal. He’s off to bigger things but as I tease him certainly not better 😉
He is of course an integral part of the Avinya family and we won’t let him forget that 🙂 but wish him all the very best in his latest chapter. See you soon Rukmal!
We also say a warm hello to Ashan who joins us to help us look after our new campus building. He’s had an interesting induction week to say the least as we navigate some interesting challenges but has taken them in his stride. He will now focus on learning about the intricacies of our campus space and what it takes to ensure our campus facilities need to run smoothly. We understand that anything new comes with its own teething issues but hey, we can always do everything we can to minimize disruption as much as possible and that’s what Ashan will be all about. Welcome Ashan!
A year ago, when I was introduced to this new, visionary concept I didn’t associate fitness with it. But you know Avinya refreshes not only your mind and soul but your body as well. Let me tell you how…
Dee walks up to me and says she’s over achieved all her fitness goals on her fitness watch. Samisa’s walked 5KM on the first day and felt his clothes don’t fit him well anymore, Sanduni and Dilani practically tumble out of the staff transport at the end of the day. Jay has swapped her sandals to trainers and joined the rest of the educator team now in their selection of walking shoes, except for one…our upcycle queen Vidushi who still wears her heels no matter what the terrain! Of course we have Vihan, Isuru, Sinalie and Ilma who were always one step ahead of us all when it comes to comfortable footwear.
Talking about our upcycle queen Vidushi, this week has been all about garbage. Yes, you read that right. Our first Empower project is named Golden Rubbish and it’s all about looking at rubbish from a different lens. We’ve talked a lot about recycling and upcycling and we’ve had many conversations about the difference between recycling and upcycling. What do you think is the difference? You may be surprised by the answer like some of us were. As Rukmal would say – ask google 🙂
Back to Vidushi and upcycling – she came dressed in her complete upcycled kit to showcase to the students the limitless potential of upcycling. If you follow us on Instagram you would have seen her in her upcycled treasures. A dress made out of an old sari, a scrunchie made out of an old tie and blindfolds made out of an old pair of jeans. No, we didn’t blindfold anyone and scare them. This was for our fun obstacle course which helped students learn direction words and improve their overall confidence in communication. There was tons of fun in our garden learning space where students had to navigate an obstacle course purely relying on their teammates to give them the right directions! You can imagine the fun everyone had!
Our educator team has been extremely creative in the activities chosen and adapted each one to each venue. We have the use of 3 learning spaces. One which is outdoor. Now you’d think teaching outdoor is tricky but they’ve made it so much fun I’ve wanted to join in so many times. We’ve had obstacle courses, garbage sorting races and scavenger hunts!
In the auditorium and boat house where we have plug points, we’ve done kahoot it quizzes, watched videos, done research, dissected key points and spent time sharing information and brainstorming. We’ve also taken some time to take the students through our policies and create a mindset of creativity, freedom of expression as well as creating a culture of respect and self-discipline. It’s all about holistic education here at Avinya 🙂
Check out a sneak peek from some of the amazing student work so far and it’s only the first week!
These are some of the highlights from this week though I cannot do justice to what a special week it was in words. You simply had to be there to experience the vibe.
The joy when the quiet student starts shouting out directions to their team mate, the warmth when a student comes up to you and offers to carry one of your bags as you head down with more luggage than you’ve had in awhile as we are still setting up or the sheer happiness you feel when the student who had hated studying before shouts all the answers when you start off with a revision quiz and has made meticulous notes themselves. The Educator team has had their hearts full this week and their fitness levels challenged to new heights!
They’ve definitely excelled in both!
This week has definitely tested our ability to multitask. I have to say we’ve got a great team. I can’t tell you enough why we love working together. It’s crazy early mornings, it’s intense days and this week has been intense evenings as well. Alongwith the first week of regular school we’ve also had to keep going with some other concurrent tasks for the Foundation so there’s definitely not been a dull moment. So I can’t imagine doing this with a better team and I am so happy that we are in this together. The thought that we have each other to pull us through this together makes this whole experience more than just work, it’s a much higher level of of job satisfaction.
Chocolates also help 🙂 We also hear that the chocolate and biscuit sales down in Bandaragama have soared this week!
My final sentiment for the week 🙂
Starting something new and then finally launching and being off on this adventure isn’t easy. But when you wake up and you can’t wait to get to work to do what you love you know you are doing the right thing. What’s more, when you can’t wait to see your colleagues and share a joke, get a load off or get some advice, you know you are with the right team!
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson