Thursday, 2 August 2012

First Day of School

First Day of School Outfit!!--I'm wearing a 'Sawar Kamis'
**I originally sent this as an email. Since it was a significant part of my experiences, I decided to re-post it on my blog.

My first day of teaching! AAAAHHHH!!!! I was SUPER nervous but God is SO good-- I had a BLAST! 
I TRIED not to overwhelm you with so much to read goes: 
Front of the school--so not a typical school in India
My school is based in the middle of a military base. Thank God for the dry run I did the day before because I got lost twice trying to get to my school--it's so far. I have to take 2 different forms of transportation to get to my school--transportation in India is rough. You either know the streets or you don't. Real talk--there is no such thing as a 'guide' book to understand the bus/auto rickshaws. Nevertheless, I made it on time today (teachers must report by 7:45AM). After the students/teachers performed their morning rituals (prayer, singing of country anthem/school anthem/introduction of the new American teacher by the principal), I began my day by observing my coordinating teacher's class. Altogether, I got to observe two classes and I taught 3 on my own!!! I taught sections (same as grades) 8, 7, and 6. In each class, I have 50 students--I KNOW! The moment, I step into any class, the students sing (GOOD---MORNING MA'AM, HOW ARE YOU?---LOL! so cute!) They sit only after I give them permission. I laid out a few of my rules but I plan to go deep on Friday (why Friday?--I HAVE NO SCHOOL TOMORROW/Thursday because of a random holiday India celebrates to honor brothers and sisters). In the class I did not really do much, I just wanted to let the students get to know me. Rather than spit out my bio and have them stare at me, I wrote out 7 truths/7 lies about me and they (as a class) had to decide which was true/false. It was funny to see their reactions about which were true/false. After that, I gave them their first assignment, which was to write me an introduction letter. 

When I got home, I read some of my letters and here is a quote from one of my students: 

"Dear Sandy Ma'am (yes, that's what they call me),
My name is ------, a student of class VII. As you are an American citizen and came to India all the way from America to teach us English, all of us are very excited and are respecting you for your kind heart." Most of us can speak English, but the problem is that we need an English speaking society to be more fluent and loud. I am proud to have this opportunity in your class to become more strong in speaking English. I will make my family proud..."  

School Courtyard, where morning assembly takes place
*There are no words to describe how I felt after reading that. The greatest thing was majority of the students spoke this way to me in their letters. Once again, I still can't believe I am here. For sure, all of my days will not be as good as this one (I will not lie, I did have a low moment with section 6) but in the end, I just made the best of it and tried to get though the 40 minutes I had with the students. 

Sigh, I know you're all busy with your everyday lives in the states. But, I really appreciate the time you set aside to at least read this. I not only wanted to give you a piece of my day but to also reemphasize how lucky we are to be in a place of opportunity (U.S). We get so busy we forget sometimes. Yes, my students will have great education at one of the best schools but they have to work X times more against a set of millions of others to get to where they dream to be...

Typical classroom, two students per desk

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