Beyond the Comfort Zone

When Courtney, Liz, and I first got to Vidyashilp we were given an assignment from Selvi Ma’am. She and the 11th standard english teacher wanted us to create a lesson on personal narratives that would prepare them for college. Along with a lesson she wanted us to create an assignment for them to do. All three of us were working on it for several weeks. Unfortunately Courtney had to leave the trip early due to an illness but Liz and I continued to work on it. By the time we finished our presentation we felt very confident about it. However I was nervous to teach a lesson to secondary students. That is not at all what I am used to and it made me uncomfortable because it is so different than the elementary students I am used to teaching. I had just taught my second grade lesson two days prior and was still on a high from that. I was afraid the students would ask me questions I did not know the answer to and if I messed up that they would laugh and judge me. These were all irrational fears because after it was all said and done, I had a great time teaching them. Liz and I went to the classroom very early to get everything set up and ready to go because we wanted to prepare for any technical issues we had. It went very smooth and we spent the rest of the time reviewing our presentation and deciding who would say what. When the time came and no one had shown up yet we started to get nervous and wondered where they were and if they were still coming. Our fears were settled when people started trickling in after about five minutes of waiting.

Finally we got started and again all my nervous left and we were on a roll. Our plans were unnecessary because once we got going we were in a groove. We did not stick to our plan, we did not read off the slides. It flowed and it went a lot better than I expected. It was a lot of fun because it was very interactive. We would show them a picture of something like a mountain, baby, or chocolate chip cookies and have them write a short paragraph using different aspects of writing. We focused on imagery, descriptions, sensory writing, and emotions. It was interesting to see how they interpreted the images we showed them. Listening to them share was insightful because these students are so talented. The language they use is so vivid and seemed well beyond their years. Many of them were nervous to share in front of the class but they shouldn’t have been because they were all so  incredibly bright. I am very impressed with their writing skills. We will get to read their personal narratives before we leave and I am anxiously awaiting the time when they are done. We gave them a minimum of two pages but I have a feeling that most of them will be more than that based on all the great ideas they have.

They had the option to choose from a time they stepped out of their comfort zone and an event that changed their life. I thought these choices were good for several reasons. One, because college essays use these prompts often and it will prepare them and get them thinking in that fashion. Second, because this whole assignment got me to step out of my comfort zone and I realized that I do enjoy teaching older students. I should be confident in my abilities and not worry what the students will think of me. Stepping out of my comfort zone was an experience I will not forget and maybe even lead me to some new opportunities. Elementary school has my heart but I am definitely open to new things and maybe every now and then I could visit a high school and do workshops. Who knows what the future holds. All I know is that I am thankful for the experience and am grateful to be here.

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Author: maddiesmallblog

I am about to be a senior at the University of Missouri. I will begin student teaching in the fall, and I am beyond excited. This opportunity to travel abroad and gain priceless experience teaching and learning from other people is so important to me. I will take the knowledge I get in India and apply it to my everyday life, whether thats teaching or otherwise. Going to India and teaching abroad has been a dream come true and I look forward to sharing my experience with everyone.

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