I am writing this post on our bus ride home from a fun-filled weekend spent in Coorg and Mysore. On Friday we skipped school and made the six hour trip to Coorg- which actually ended up taking eight hours due to our multiple stops for lunch, tea, and washroom breaks. We arrived in Coorg late Friday Night. On Saturday morning we visited the Dubare Elephant Camp where we got to watch the elephants take baths, feed them, and see the elephants up close! While unfortunately we did not get a chance to ride the elephants, it was so majestic to be near the elephants! After the elephant camp, we went river rafting on the Cauvery river. While I have been white water rafting before, this time was a lot more fun! I think it was just the fact that I was rafting and swimming in an Indian river!
Sunday morning we woke up at 5:30 am to take an off-road jeep tour through the mountains. This was an extreme off-road tour, all of us in the jeep were holding on for dear life. Kacy and I were in the back of the jeep and we were gripping onto the seats in front of so hard so we wouldn’t propel forward bc they are no seat belts in these kind of jeeps! The view of the mountains and lush greenery was breathtaking and much different than the fast-paced city of Bangalore. After the tour we came back to our hotel to eat breakfast and then we went to Abby Falls to see the waterfall which was equally beautiful! Then we made the three hour trip to Mysore. Sunday night we visited the Mysore palace and got to see the palace lit up! It was so amazing. See before and after pictures below.
My favorite part of the whole weekend was our visit to the Regional Institute of Education-Mysore this morning. There we got to interact with students studying to become teachers in India and their faculty. It was so nice to meet people just like us! We discussed issues across education such as the role of testing, how to become a global citizen, breaking away from textbook curriculum, and the stereotypes associated with the teaching profession. While we came up with no solutions, I really liked what one of the professors of RIEM had to say about testing students. She said, “Don’t test to test. Test for the betterment of the student”. And as I sat and talked with a few of the students who were beginning their third year of the program as well, I found our opinions so similar despite our different cultures and education systems.
What resonated with me the most during our discussion at RIEM was one of the students sharing her frustrations with the stereotype of the teaching profession. She explained that in India no one grows up wanting to be a teacher. They grow up wanting to be a doctor or an engineer and only when they fail at that do they decide to become a teacher. I’ve had similar experiences to this in the United States. I’ve always thought about being a teacher but it wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I really decided that’s who I wanted to be. And from that moment on so many people have continued to questioned my decision. They would all ask, “Why do you want to be a teacher when they make no money? Aren’t you smarter than that, can’t you become a doctor or lawyer?” As if teaching does not require intellect or higher-order thinking. This young woman though called to us as future teachers to help increase value for the teaching profession and all professions for that matter. She ended her thoughts by saying, “Teachers bring light to the world”. Each day, my experiences here in India continually reaffirm my desire to become a future educator. And I can only hope through my teaching I will be lucky enough to bring light into someones world.