Teaching Reflections


Week one in India is complete.  After 3 days of observing and teaching, I feel completely comfortable and overwhelmingly accepted at DPS East.  I don’t think I’d be exaggerating if I said these were three of the best days of my life and my computer crashed on Wednesday so that’s saying a lot.  My first class on Thursday was with Sanjana mam for 5th grade English.  I started as I did the day before, expecting to remain an observer for most of the lesson but it wasn’t long before I was leading the entire class.  The workbook had a simple map drawn on which the students had to write the direction they needed to travel to get from one place to the next.  Sanjana asked them which way they should go to get to the treasure and the students’ responses ranged from “Dig a tunnel” to “Don’t go.”  The students…

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Experiencing Ramadan


A lot has happened in the past few days and it will be hard to capture it in words. We experienced a Bharata Natyam dance at IKC (International Knowledge Center), an overwhelming amount of delicious food at Konark, more overwhelming food at a place I can’t remember the name of, consumerist India at Commercial St, block printing and Hindu temples through a bike tour of Bangalore lead by Unventured, the 21st night of Ramadan march, and two of our placement schools, DPS(Delhi Public School) Bangalore East and AECS Magnolia.

Since I was the only one to experience the 21st night of Ramadan, I’ll start with that. Last night, I was woken up at 2:00 am due to men chanting loudly outside Casa. Fortunately, I’ve been waking naturally at that time anyway (I’m writing this at 3 am). I wasn’t having much success falling back asleep so I got dressed, strapped…

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Day 1 in India

We arrived in Bangalore last night. After an hour spent tracking down Dr. Tony’s missing bag, we met Sheila (GenNext Education) outside the airport and loaded up onto the shuttle bus for a captivating 45 minute drive to our home for 6 weeks, Casa Cottages. The twelve(?) of us looked out the windows, comparing our first impressions to our expectations. Of all the absurdity, the most striking was the distance at which cars and bikes moved past eachother on the freeway. I have yet to determine if this is due to narrower lanes or wider vehicles. Either way, I’m convinced these vehicles have the ability to shrink on command. At one point several bikes managed to pass between our and another bus separated by no more than half a meter¹. The madness of the freeway is apparently justified by a sophisticated system of communication involving honking your horn every time you pass somebody. A honk here doesn’t have malicious intent as it does in the US but is more of a friendly “Hey, I’m over here.” I couldn’t help but wonder if it wasn’t more dangerous to continually take a hand off the steering wheel and honk the horn than it would be to just use your mirrors, and trust that others are using theirs. That being said, it seems to work alright and I personally appreciate the chaos². The number of road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year ranges from just 2.8 in Sweden to a wopping 73.4 in Libya, but Thailand places second on that list with 36.2 so I don’t know what’s going on with Libya. India ranks roughly average on the list with 16.6 deaths and the US just above average with 10.6³. Considering the amount of money saved by forgoing stoplights and other luxuries, I’d say they’re doing alright.
We were also struck by the number of stray dogs here. I was woken this morning by a few barking and last night we saw several on the side of the road. There are monkeys too. I think I heard some this morning. While this is cool, I’ve heard some of them are rabbid, which is not very cool.

Before I shut up, I want to say how awesome it is that I’m able to do something like this. It’s hard to believe I actually made it to India. While I like to think I worked hard to accomplish this, I hardly did it alone. From Gabrielle Malfatti organizing the program to Collin McMichael giving me a sweet camera, I have a lot of people to thank. If you’re reading this, you are probably one of those people.
1. About 1.5 feet. I should probably get used to this.
2. That is, until I’m negatively affected by it.
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate