Sunday, 5 December 2010
India - the Project - Part II
For the teaching that we were required to do as part of the development project, I chose a school named Akal, which is an all boys middle school and my students would be Classes 3 and 4; students between the ages of 9 - 12.
I was filled with anticipation at the prospect of teaching at the school, imagine inspiring young minds, broadening horizons and encouraging potential. Leaving an imprint in the hearts of children that will be carried for many years, such a positive outlook will surely only result in a positive outcome. Well, not quite. In short, the first day of teaching was a nightmare, and not the good kind. More so, the kind of nightmare that would be reoccurring, which you would eventually have to see a psychologist to get to the root of. Basically, the children tore us apart, chewed us up and spat us out. No knife and fork. It was raw. They were unruly and uncontrollable, and seemed to oppose everything we said regardless. There were three of us to a class. Each of us left the class, looking at each other, completely mystified, however, it gets better. The next day, it seemed as if the children had been transformed, for they were actually listening, pay attention and participating, and they have progressed with each day that has passed since, maybe its down to teaching skills (sound of trumpet being blown unintentionally) or some other benevolent force, but either way it has happened. This isn't to say that its all rainbows and butterflies, the challenge is very much present, however, the positive outcome is much more visible. In fact, I think it's more accurate to say that the children actually love us now (fine, I'm blowing the trumpet on purpose now), every morning they race up to us greeting us with warmth and joy.
Having made community visits and seen how the local people live really makes you reflect on your own circumstance. It brings forth some home truths about how there are many things that we in the west take for granted, and we often live a life based on what we want and not what we need. Also, we ultimately complain endlessly about nothing.
Knowing where I come from, I have always tried to be conscious of that, but even I can admit that I've fallen into that trap time and time again. If we, as a people, as a nation, human beings, whatever category you decide to use for yourself, can remind ourselves and stay conscious of the conditions that others have been left in, through no fault of their own, maybe we can engage in efforts that will create more visible changes. That being said, nothing happen happens over night.
On a lighter note, one of the beauties of being in India is how unexpected random events can occur. On our way to school one day, as we drove along the road, there emerged a herd of approximately 100 - 150 camels, in the middle of the road, all along, every where. So we naturally chased them around, trying to get as close as possible and take pictures, when it dawned on me that camels are like giant squirrels. They are incredibly shy. Pictures and a very interesting video will follow soon (when I get reliable internet access, bare with me).
More to come...