Since we have been in India for nearly five days, I can already see my perception of how I see the world and more specifically cultures that are much different from my own.
I have been amazed at just how hospitable everyone has been to us on this journey so far, whether that be the principals, tour guides, teachers, or students (just to name a few). I feel nothing less than welcomed to the city of Bangalore. But that begs the question, “How can a society of people who have different beliefs and values have so much love and respect for those who may not share the same ideologies?”
Today was my first day of observing classes at Magnolia Public School. I had the opportunity to see first-hand the teaching style of the teachers and the responses the students gave. I started comparing and contrasting the way I have learned about education to the ways of the faculty of this school. I, almost subconsciously, started to make judgments about what I initially observed. I noticed that this school (specifically the math department) was more minimalist with respect to the curriculum and technological resources, with a huge focus on academia. I noticed the students nearly jumping out of their seats to answer a question (which is something Americans may not be so lucky to see).
After reflecting on my first full school day, I have to remind myself why I am here.
Although I am here to teach mathematics to the students at Magnolia, I know that I have much more valuable knowledge to gain from them. Learning is a mutual transaction. As Bill Nye once said, “Everyone knows something that you don’t.” I am here to share what I have learned about education at Mizzou and I hope to take away important ideas that I can incorporate into my own teaching.
So at the end of the day, I am not here to judge the teachers or the education system in a negative way. Or to constantly compare what we do in America to what is done in the Indian education system. Sometimes it may be the “American” way to view ourselves as superior or that we know best, but I have come here with an open mind. I know that my beliefs and values may conflict with those of the people of Bangalore or India as a whole, but they are not here to judge me. Everyone has been so kind and respectful to each and everyone of us. So this is a time to reflect on our differences in a positive light and to cherish the commonalities that we share.
Here is to two more days of excitement at Magnolia this week and many more to come:)