It is definitely been awhile, so I thought I would give an update from last week to let you all know I am alive and well! Last week, I came down with a stomach virus and the strikes this week has kept me from posting. But here is a post to keep everyone updated about this past week. Sorry in advance since this is probably going to be a lengthy one, but bear with me.
As we are getting closer and closer to the end of this trip, I can already tell I am going to be heart-broken to leave this beautiful and vibrant country and the wonderful people I have gotten to know along the way.
But for now, I am going to reflect on the crazy, amazing week that was had and I am going to stay excited and optimistic for the weeks to come.
As you can tell from the other blog posts that were written and the bombardment of pictures on Facebook, our group had the chance to visit Coorg and Mysore (so I will try and keep this portion of my post short, sweet, and to the point). Of all the places we have experienced so far, Coorg is, without a doubt, my favorite. It is hard to believe that such places actually exist in the world. With its lush green scenery, hills for miles, and a waterfall, this is a place where one can escape the chaos of the world and take a deep breath of the exhaust-free air.
Then, there was Mysore. Mysore is quite different from Coorg, since it seems to be more populated and commercialized. However, what grabbed my attention was of course the Palace. I have a soft spot in my heart for architecture, so I was absolutely blown away when the Palace light up promptly at 7:00 pm.
At the end of the day, it is not the places or scenery that I will miss the most. What has stationed a place in my heart forever is the people. The new teachers, students, and friends I have met. It is hard to believe that “your people” can live on the complete opposite side of this planet. But I am so grateful for the opportunity to have met them. I hope that we are able to keep in touch and that maybe even one day, we can meet again.
These past few weeks, I have been given the opportunity to teach. As most of you already know, my specialty area is mathematics—specifically high school math. At Magnolia, I have been given the new experience of working with 6th, 7th, and 8th standard students. At first, I felt apprehensive, since I am not conditioned to work with middle school students, but I was up for the challenge. However, from the first day I walked into the classroom and was immediately greeted with a big “GOOD DAY, MA’AM!” I was suddenly put at ease and knew that everything was going to work out for the best.
And I could not have been more right. I feel so lucky to have been partnered with three wonderful math teachers. They, along with the rest of the middle school teachers, made me feel right at home.
My most favorite lesson plans were the lessons I got to plan and execute on my own. These include my lesson on symmetry in the 6th standard classes and my lesson on decimals in the 7th standard classrooms. I am so thankful for the freedom and support that I have been given in the classrooms from my teachers. When I discussed my ideas for these two lessons to one of my host teachers, she seemed excited and open-minded to my way of teaching. This is my favorite part of this Teach Abroad program. That not only are we learning from the teachers’ approach to education at Magnolia, but I am also to share what I have learned as an education student at the University of Missouri.
For my symmetry lesson, I cut out 20 different shapes and pictures (some of which included the Indian flag, the Taj Mahal, and the White House) 17 times, so that each pair in the classroom could have a paper-clipped stack of shapes. Then, I gave my students the task of categorizing the shapes with respect to how many lines of symmetry each shape had. So the students would have to order the shapes in order from zero to infinity lines of symmetry. My objective for this lesson was to have my students apply the knowledge that they have been learning in a fun and interactive way. Lastly, I ended by having the students come up with a generalization about regular polygons. I grouped together the equilateral triangle, square, regular pentagon and hexagon. Then, I asked the students what was similar about these shapes. They came up with that the number of sides on a regular polygon indicates their number of lines of symmetry.
Then for my decimal lesson, I wanted to proceed again with an activity-based lesson, especially since we were introducing a new topic. For the main part of the lesson, I basically utilized the students as human props. I, first, needed 9 volunteers. One for each number and one to represent the decimal point that I had written on a post-it note. Then, I arranged them in front of the classroom and had the students raise up their post-its. Then, I asked again for 9 volunteers, but this time I was looking for students to represent the “place” of each digit (i.e. unit place, tens place, hundredths and thousandths place). I had each of these students figure out which digit they matched to. Then, there were to stand behind the students whose digit they matched with and hold the post-it notes above their heads. For the rest of the class, my host teacher and I co-taught the class while still utilizing the students to represent concepts such as like and unlike decimals. Overall, I really enjoyed creating and teaching this lesson. It was fun for me and the students seemed to respond really well to it. My objective was to help students visualize decimal in a new way to help them understand this idea more in-depth.
Another huge part of this week was the Parent’s Day Program. This program is intended for the parents of the 1st through 5th grade students to attend. And each day about three classes were to perform for their parents, so I, along with Kayla and Laura, got to sit in on the program several times throughout the week. We also had the chance to represent our University and to speak a bit about what we have experienced thus far at Magnolia. Overall, I had a lot of fun watching all the hard work the teachers and students put into the program pay off. I enjoyed all of the skits, singing, and dances of the amazing elementary school students that I had not had the privilege to observe prior to this week.
I think that just about covers this past week in its entirety. Now, I am ready to rest and get over being sick, so I can go back to exploring Bangalore and working with my favorite students that make me smile each and every day!
See you soon,