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From San Diego to Surkhet: Growth in the Learning Lab

I arrived at Kopila Valley in early November 2022 just in time to say goodbye to our long-time Learning Lab teacher, Chetana Miss, and welcome our classroom teacher-turned Special Educator, Sawana Miss into the role. My experience in special education and teacher collaboration techniques was immediately put to use once the whole school returned from Dashain vacation, with a focus on helping the Learning Lab - a place where struggling students can receive more academic support - grow and flourish. We have been working with students from Classes 3, 4, and 5 to deepen their understanding of academic skills in English, Math, and Nepali so they can more readily participate in their general education classrooms. In these moments, we are also allowing students to bolster their social-emotional understanding and behavioral skills, all while increasing their confidence in themselves and their abilities as a student. In the next school year, we have goals to work with a pediatric diagnostician to better identify students with learning disabilities at earlier ages; this will improve our intervention strategies and effectiveness by targeting students in a more developmentally appropriate timeframe.

Outside of school, I have had the pleasure of exploring Surkhet and the surrounding areas with new friends and colleagues. From visiting the Kakrebihar Temple for beautiful views and Dari Bhaiko Chiya Pasal for delicious tea, to birdwatching, concerts, and endless dancing, I have enjoyed many once in a lifetime experiences with the help of other foreign volunteers and Nepali hosts eager to help me understand their city and culture. I am so thankful for the new friends I have made - young and old - and the growth I myself have gone through from having the opportunity to work in this amazing place. Kopila Valley and Surkhet are forever in my heart!

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