The experiences don’t stop for the weekend!

This past Saturday, the teachers and staff at DPS-North had a teacher workday, and Sarah and I were invited to participate! We started off the morning in Geetha ma’m’s (the primary school’s vice principal) 10th standard home science class. The home science class sometimes meets on Saturdays to practice cooking they can’t complete during normal school hours. Everyone raves about Geetha ma’m’s cooking so we were very excited to experience it! The class was learning about meal preparation and methods of cooking. The three types of cooking we learned were by moist heat (boiling, pressure cooking, etc.), dry heat (baking, grilling, etc), and frying. We made french fries and boiled potatoes to see the differences in texture and taste on food using a different cooking method. We also made fried carrots, pressure cooked rice and vegetables. Geetha ma’m made everything look so effortless and it was nice getting to know 10th standard students, Zoya and Saarah, while preparing a meal together. They were fun to talk to and reminded of my own 9th grade sister Kate. The meal at the end was very yummy and it was so fun learning how to cook Indian food from such an experienced cook!

After the home science class, Sarah and I attended a workshop for primary (elementary) school teachers led by Geetha ma’m. The workshop was on creating quality circle time in the classroom. Circle time is sitting in a circle with all the students in the classroom sharing your thoughts and feelings. It is important because it creates a closer connection between the teacher and students, and between the students. Quality Circle Time (QCT) also teaches taking turns, valuing all contributions, eye contact, positivity, and much more. During the workshop we (the teachers) engaged in QCT ourselves and learned some lessons we can implement during QCT. One of the examples we learned is “passing a smile”. Each student, one at a time, turns to the person to the right of them and gives a genuine smile while looking directly in their peer’s eyes. Another example we learned is, turning to the person to the right and saying “I like _____(type of candy). I like_______ (type of flower).” Another tip we learned for QCT was to have a conch (object like a teddy bear) to encourage taking turns speaking, so whoever had the conch or teddy bear would be the only person speaking. The workshop was very interesting and I can’t wait to implement what I learned in my future classroom! I am so lucky and thankful that DPS-North includes Sarah and I in their teacher learning experiences.

Sunday most of the group and I attended Bangalore’s Ashram’s Art of Living. Ashram is a non-domination center for reflection and retreat for people of all backgrounds to celebrate together. While walking to the meditation center I saw the cutest stray puppy ever. I decided to break my rule of not touching the strays because four weeks is way too long without petting an animal! I miss my cat Ace and dog Buddy so much. See picture of the puppy below. The meditation center was absolutely beautiful. It was decorated in Indian motifs, but had a gold symbol of every religion on the walls. Before the mediation service began, we were supposed to quietly sit and meditate. I thought the service was going to be a quiet experience about looking inward but instead it was a celebration! There was singing and musical instruments, and people were dancing everywhere. Although I could not understand a word of the music, it was impossible not to feel as happy as those around you who were dancing and singing. The positive energy and joy was contagious. It was eye opening to see all these people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions celebrate life together, and an experience I will never forget.

I can’t believe we have less than two weeks left in India! The days seem to go by faster and faster. I have learned so much in the past month and enjoyed so many new experiences. I’ve grown as an individual and an educator. India will always have a special place in my heart.

Namaste,
Abby

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