Our first few days have been quite exciting. I’ve hit a lot of personal milestones my second time around. On Saturday the whole group walked through Richmond Town trying to get a better sense of the neighborhood we would call home the next 6 weeks. It was a lot of walking and we covered some serious ground. We headed to commercial street soon after where we enjoyed lunch at a personal favorite, Konarks. This was the first time everyone had the chance to order authentic Indian food and become more familiar with different dishes. I obviously went for the dosa because it’s essentially a potato filled crispy rice pancake served with chutney. Right up my alley. We learned a few lessons… Sharing food is essential, fresh lime soda is delicious and much better sweetened, and finally taking a group of 12 to the restaurant has its challenges. We finished eating and headed towards FabIndia for some kurta shopping. It was quite rushed because we had to zoom over to Casa, change, and then head over to IKC for a “Welcome to Bangalore” presentation. The
presentation included an incredible traditional dance performance known as bharatanatyam. Check out the photos page for pictures. After the pair of girls danced they invited out group to participate. Milestone #1. This is the first time I’ve attempted any kind of dance in India. Not my best performance, but to be fair the dancers can begin training as early as 5 years old. Both had been dancing for at least 18 years.
After the IKC we met Manju m’am and Geetha m’am for dinner. Manju is the principal and Geetha is the vice principal at Delhi Public Schools Bangalore- North. This also happens to be my host school for the next 6 weeks where I will be working with the special education department consisted of a counselor and a special educator. Manju and Geetha are absolutely brilliant. They both give off such a positive energy that I hope to feed off of during my stay.
Everyone was pretty exhausted so we called it an early night because we had a 6 am wake up call for a cycle tour around Sankey Tank. The tour started around 7:30 am and was led by experienced cyclists and proved to be knowledgeable guides. On the tour we made a few stops including: Tharangini Arts Foundation (hand block printing), breakfast at Veena Stores, Kadumaleshwara Temple, Nandi Theertha Temple, Dhobi Ghat and a Heritage home. Did I mention that our tour was on the street where we were inches from traffic? Milestone #2. Never in my life did I think I would be on a bicycle on the streets of
Bangalore fighting the organized chaos called traffic. I like to think I’m pretty good on a bike so I didn’t feel too uncomfortable being so close to cars, motorcycles, etc. Don’t worry, we wore helmets! (Are you proud, Connor?) Our first stop was hand block printing. It’s an amazing art using hand carved stamps with intricate designs dipped in paint and pressed onto material. Again, check out the photo page for more info. After that we biked our way over to breakfast to have idli and vada with chutney. It’s by far one of my favorite breakfasts. An idli is like a rice dumpling and vada is a fried rice dough that looks like a doughnut. After a quick breakfast we headed over to drink fresh coconut water. We quickly learned that you cheers someone else with a coconut and say “bottoms up” before drinking.
Although the tour provided us with some physical activity, immersion, and a decent amount of laughs, it was also quite hot and a little more challenging than we expected. We finished up around 1, came home and took some time to ourselves before heading to dinner at PlanB. PlanB is a American grill that serves everything from beef hamburgers to mozzarella sticks. It was a great way to end the long day. It didn’t take long for everyone to settle back into their rooms and head to bed. My bed, as I am so very blessed to have one, is as hard as a rock. Thankfully I am quite exhausted by the end of the day that I hardly notice it until I wake up a bit stiff. Also, my current sleep schedule is from like 11 pm-4am… not ideal, but what can you do.
Monday and Tuesday the whole crew visited the four schools we would be working with for the next 6 weeks. Monday we saw DPS- East & AECS Magnolia and Tuesday DPS-North & Vidya Shilp. The two days were very enjoyable and it got everyone quite excited about their placements. On Monday I found myself wide awake at 4 too excited to visit Shilp again and see all of the teachers I’ve befriended. It felt like I was going to Disney World. Also, that morning I was VERY excited because I finally tied my own saree. Sure Suman had to fix the pleats, but it was a victory nonetheless and milestone #3.
The last part of this blog post focuses on how I have grown in the past three years. I normally try to stray from being too serious, but I felt as if it was necessary seeing as I am almost 30 (the sarcasm never stops, I apologize). Three years ago I was timid and unsure of how I identified myself as an educator. I was caught up in trying to get everything right on the first time around, afraid of failure, and most of all lacking a great deal of confidence in the classroom and working with other faculty and staff. This was probably due to my lack of experience in the classroom, but I have come a long way since then. Milestone #4. I have never felt more confident walking into a classroom full of children. I have a better understanding and finally have a philosophy of education that is based off of best practices I’ve learned over the past few years. I have started challenging myself, going out of my comfort zone, and adapting to whatever is thrown at me. I haven’t felt this kind of confidence in a long time. In fact, this is one area where I felt the least comfortable in. With the support from family, friends, a boyfriend, teachers, etc. etc. I have real confidence not just the front that I tend to put on. It feels good. Really really good. That being said the first day of school today (Wednesday in India) went as well as I hoped. It was filled with lengthy conversations comparing and contrasting the different special
education models with Chandan m’am and Manisha m’am. These two women are insanely passionate about what they do and work like a well oiled machine. It’s truly a blessing to be working so closely with two women who have dedicated their lives to improving the quality of life for students both inside and outside of the classroom.
There is so much to be said about the first day. Here are the major events: yoga class with second standard, delicious lunch, incredible conversations, and making new friends with 4 fifth standard boys. I would say it was a success.
For now I am quite tired and am looking forward to another day at DPS.