Tisch College is excited to announce the inaugural year of the Tisch Summer Fellows Program at the Bodhi School in India, founded by a Tufts alumnus. Modeled on our Tisch Summer Fellows Programs in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Greater Boston, TSF India will provide Tufts students with a full-time social impact placement as well as programmatic elements, guided reflection sessions, and support from a dedicated staff member.

TSF India aims to balance student learning with organizational capacity building; asking critical questions and fostering individual growth; and strengthening cultural humility and global citizenship. Five Fellowships are available and positions are open to both undergraduate and graduate students from any Tufts school and any field of study. Activities can be tailored to a Fellow’s skills and background. This is an opportunity for you to collaborate with the staff of a growing school, have an impact on a community, and increase your cross-cultural global experience.

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Program Information

  • Fellowship will run from early June to mid-August.
  • TSF India Fellows will have all expenses covered (including flight, accommodation, and food) and receive a local-currency stipend for incidental expenses.
  • Applications are due at Noon on Thursday, March 9, 2017.
  • Application review will begin on March 10, 2017, and interviews will take place after Spring Break.
  • Final decisions will be shared in early April.
  • Please be sure to review the list of required application materials before submitting your application. The list of materials and the application can be found on the TSF International India 2017 Application Page.

An information session will take place on Monday, February 13th at Noon in the Rabb Room at Tisch College (Lincoln Filene Hall). It is essential for students who are interested in this opportunity to attend this information session.

About the Bodhi School

The mission of the Bodhi School is to provide high-quality, English-medium education to children from impoverished backgrounds in the rural Narayankhed region of Telangana, India.

The Bodhi School serves 297 children, from preschool to 6th grade. Most students are the children of landless laborers and marginal farmers—often from lower castes. Many students are first-generation learners, and all students receive scholarships; from full scholarships for the poorest families to partial scholarships for others. The existing education options for this population of students are typically government schools, which are typically underfunded and lack quality teachers.

The Bodhi School is on a six-acre campus in the village of Anthwar (population 800), three miles from the rural town of Narayankhed (population 15,000), which is itself a 3-hour drive from the capital city of Hyderabad, Telangana, in South India.

For more information check out this presentation or watch the video below. You can also see more photos of the school and other sights you may encounter in India in our Facebook album.

Typical Hours

Students will work from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with an expected 1-2 hours of preparation time for the next school day. The school week is a 6-day week, but Fellows will not be required to work on Saturdays; instead, weekends will be spent in the city of Hyderabad. Activities will include a speaker series for Fellows, who will also have free time. Accommodations and transportation to and from the city will be provided.

Fellowship Description

Each Tisch Summer Fellow will have two areas of responsibility: assisting teachers and developing a secondary project.

1. Assist current teachers at the Bodhi School, who teach preschool to 6th grade:

  • Help teachers prepare lessons plans and help prepare teaching materials prior to class
  • Reinforce lessons presented by teachers by reviewing material with students one-on-one or in small groups—particularly for students who need extra instruction
  • Teach parts of the curriculum, including complete lessons to small groups of students and portions of the lessons to the full class, under teacher supervision where required.
  • Shadow and assist students during their independent work
  • Help teachers with correcting and grading work and with record-keeping, such as tracking attendance
  • Assist with classroom organization and behavior management, including enforcing school and class rules
  • Help supervise students in class, between classes, during lunch and recess, and on field trips

2. Secondary project:

Fellows will have an opportunity to propose specific lessons or student projects that build on their individual skills and backgrounds. For example, a social science undergraduate might create and teach a lesson about American society. A veterinary student might design lessons on caring for livestock found in rural India. A fine arts student might design and teach an art class or a two-month-long collective art project, such as creating a mural or putting on a theatrical performance. An engineering student might create a design project using local materials. A student interested in agriculture might engage students in growing a vegetable garden, setting up vermicomposting, or sustainable farming on part of the 6-acre land. Such projects will be finalized in discussions with the principal and supervisor during the Fellow’s first week at the Bodhi School. Appropriate timelines and targeted goals can be mutually established.

Work Environment

The Fellow will work on the 6-acre Bodhi School campus. There will be a total of 5 Tisch Summer Fellows sand 2 Teach for India Fellows.

The school has basic infrastructure, such as desks, tables, and fans. There is electricity and running water, but the supply of electricity is limited because of rationing in rural areas. Fellows will work in a classroom alongside their assigned teacher. They will not have access to computers and should bring a laptop if they can. Internet connectivity is spotty and runs on a 3G cellular network. There is no wi-fi.

Teachers have weekly staff meetings and periodic training sessions, and Fellows can participate in both. Fellows will also have opportunities to participate in Teach for India training and discussion sessions.

Living Accommodations

There are two options for living arrangements during the work week: Sunday evening through Friday afternoon. Both are fully covered by the Fellowship. You can see photos in this presentation.

  1. Living on the Bodhi School campus: Fellows can be housed in shared accommodations in two modest guesthouses/dormitories at the school. Teach for India Fellows also live on campus. Meals will be arranged through a local restaurant.
  2. Modest hotel in the city of Bidar: This involves daily travel of about one hour each way, with transportation provided. Meals will be arranged through a local restaurant.

Accommodations will be decided once Fellows have been selected.

During the weekends—Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon—Fellows will travel to and stay in the city of Hyderabad with transportation provided. Fellows will be housed in a modest hotel. Weekends will include free time as well as Saturday presentations by experts in the field of education and development. These will be open to Tisch Summer Fellows as well as the broader community of Teach for India Fellows and alums in the city of Hyderabad.

Specific Skills Required

This Fellowship is not for the faint of heart. It requires grit, resilience, and openness to being immersed in a rural environment in a developing nation.

No prior teaching experience is necessary, but a passion for working with children is important. There are many Bodhi students who are first-generation learners, and Fellows must be comfortable with working with such learners. Compassion is a must, and patience and flexibility are essential.

The physical conditions will be challenging. The accommodations are basic.

As previously mentioned, online connectivity is limited. There is no wi-fi on campus, only spotty cell-based Internet access.

Specific Experience Required: Prior experience working with children is preferred

Language Skills RequiredNone. School is taught in English and all teachers (except some preschool teachers) have a knowledge of basic English.

Skills and Experience Fellows Will Acquire

  • An exposure to and understanding of rural India and of children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • On-site training in teaching, both through interactions with current teachers, with Teach for India Fellows, and with supervisors and trainers.
  • Interaction with a range of professionals in the field of education and development.

Supervision

An Indian professional with nine years of experience in the field of development including financial inclusion, education, and policy advocacy will oversee the supervision of the Fellows. The executive will spend one day per week at the school, facilitate weekly reflections, and lead weekend activities.

The principal of the Bodhi School, who has 15 years of experience in education and development, will oversee day-to-day management.

More Information

Find the application and application information here. Check out more photos in our Facebook album. For additional questions, please contact Mindy Nierenberg, Senior Director, Tisch College Programs at Mindy.nierenberg@tufts.edu or 617-627-4159