Until next time

My time here in India has flown by, I cannot believe tomorrow is my last day at Vidyashilp Academy and Bangalore.  The saying “time flys when you’re having fun” is true, I am not ready to leave my community here.  Leaving Vidyashilp will be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life.  I have built a community from my wonderful mentors, the students, staff, culture and Selvi ma’am I have felt at home here.  I knew from the first day at Vidyashilp that this school would have a major impact on my life much more than I could have ever asked for.  Everyday here I have been reminded why I love what I do.

Before coming on the teach abroad trip the only experience I had in a classroom was minimal.  I had only experienced from the past year only doing sixteen hours of observing.  I was nervous not knowing what I was getting myself into not ever teaching before this trip.  Ever since the first day I have been welcomed with open arms by everyone at Shilp.  I will miss everything about Vidyashilp from the lunches to walking down the hallway having fifteen students ask me if I was coming to their class today.

The most important lesson I am going to take from my time at Vidyashilp Academy is the teacher-student relationship. The teachers at Vidyashilp are mother figures in the school. The teachers do not only care about the students education but their well-being as well. The teachers I have observed and worked with at Shilp want the best for all their students. I personally think that Shilp teachers do a great job of balancing seriousness, love, fun, excitement and discipline. In my future classroom I want that perfect balance. Shilp classrooms have roughly 35-40 students in each classroom. The teachers make sure that all the needs are met of every child. I admire this from the teachers being able to accommodate to 40 children in one hour lesson, very impressive. The teachers are Shilp are the teachers I strive to be in student-teaching and my future career. I cannot wait to be able to take the bound and respect I have learned between the teacher and student at Shilp and apply it in the near future.

Going into Shilp I was placed in the 1-5 standard classrooms…primary education. I am studying to be a middle school social studies teacher therefore I will teacher older students 6-8, I was not so sure about being place in elementary for the past six weeks at first. However, I am so glad that I got the opportunity to experience elementary. I found out that elementary the students are so affectionate and want to please you as a teacher always. As children get older that is not so much the case. If I ever got the chance to teach elementary again I would for sure take up the opportunity. I thank Vidyashilp for pushing me out of my comfort zone, now I know so many different options I have as an educator with what grades I would like to teach. I did have to chance to get close to some sixth standard students making me still be in love with the age that I want to be teaching. Sixth grade would be my ideal age to teach when I graduate, they are still affectionate towards you, and exciting students to be around but they can be independent.

I have spent time reflecting on my experience teach abroad in India. Selvi Ma’am stressed how important it is to take time to reflect every single day, seeing what you did good, what wasn’t so good and how you can always improve. After my time in India, I have realized that I would prefer younger ages to teach such as fifth, sixth or seventh. I also found out that being in the EVS Department at Shilp I would not mind teaching social studies or science. I love both subjects and have learned so much from the teachers how to incorporate activities in social studies and science. I could still see myself later in my career teaching 8th-12th grade however, the students at Shilp have brought me so much happiness that I want to stick with lower secondary grades for now.

Vidyashilp has taught me so much about myself and me as a future educator. I have started to notice little things how India and Shilp have changed me but I think I will really find out when I get back in the states and reflect more on my experience.

The most difficult part of these past six weeks was my last day at Vidyashilp. I cried twice. Leaving something that had made a huge impact on your life is hard to leave when you are not ready to leave. I wasn’t saying a goodbye to the teachers, students, and Selvi; I was saying a see you later because I will be coming back and visiting India in the future. There is no way possible I won’t be able to stay away from India. I have fell in love. In love with the culture, the people, the values, and education system.

me and kinishka

To my…

Fifth standard class C, I will miss your unconditional love, enthusiasm and dedication. I am so grateful I got the chance to know and teach every single one of you. I will miss you all dearly and will stay in touch.

Aerobics fourth and fifth standard class, I will miss your joyful little faces, excitement and making me embarrass myself everyday dancing with you girls. You girls have some serious moves. Keep up the great work and I am sure you will all do amazing during your performance.

Art class eleventh and twelfth standard, I will miss being able to see your outstanding art work everyday. I cannot wait to see the portrait you all are doing of me. I wish the best to every single one of you in the future. Thank you for allowing me to get to know you all.

vidyashilp evs department

Vidyashilp I will miss you all, it is a see you later not a goodbye. I will keep in touch.

Until next time,

Much love Liz

Peekaboo with Heavenly Bodies

Today was my first time teaching a class by myself ever. My lesson was on Solar and Lunar Eclipses for fifth standard.  I was nervous and anxious hoping the kids would understand the lesson and enjoy it.  At first when I stepped in the class all the kids were extremely excited for me being in their class.  They thought I was going to be observing the class not teaching it.  .

I designed the lesson similar to the format of how lessons are taught here at Vidyashilp so the students wouldn’t be confused.  First the title, then keywords for the lesson (that the students should already know from previous years), ask a question about what you are going to teach let the students think about the answer to the question then go into the lesson.  I started the lesson just as normal with the title which was Peekaboo with Heavenly Bodies.  Students started to get out their EVS notebooks to write down the title.

Next I started asking the key words of the lesson, which the students in fifth standard should have already knew from fourth standard.  When I asked for the definitions of shadow, reflect and orbit the class was completely silent.  I thought to myself that the lesson was to hard to begin with that the students will not learn from this lesson.  I proceeded with the lesson asking the question to introduce the lessons topic.  All of a sudden students started raising their hands and giving me correct answers.  I went on to the core topics going through my lesson.

We finished learning the lesson earlier than I expected, I thought that the lesson would take the whole hour and we would do the activity I had planned the following day.  However, I finished the lesson and questions with thirty minutes left in the class.  I decided to have the students to do the activity as well and I would come up with a review and another activity for the following day.

The activity I had the students do was they had to bring in something that represented a sun, moon and earth.  Majority of the class brought in colored clay to make a sun, moon and earth out of.  Some students were creative and made balls coloring them to look just like the sun, moon and earth.  With the sun, moon and earth activity I had each pod of three students present to me what a solar and lunar eclipse would look like.  After they had finished that they would start the rest of the activity which was as in their EVS notebook they had to write what it would be like if they experienced a solar or lunar eclipse.  When going around to every pod I got the chance to see that every student had learned the lesson.  I would ask the students questions making sure they knew the answer.  The students were receptive giving me the correct answers.   I was relieved knowing that my lesson was effective and the students learned something.

Reflecting after teaching my first lesson I learned many things that I will continue to improve on in my student teaching career.  It was an amazing experience, making it so much harder when leaving Vidyashilp later this week.

Until next time,

Liz

India v My bank account

In this past week, Vidyashilp did not have school Monday-Thursday due to a strike against the Indian government on bus transportation.  The school has not been in session for the student’s safety when traveling to school.   The government buses were not running this week, often busses will get rocks thrown at them or sometimes worse case lit on fire.  Taking precaution schools were on holiday.  Only leaving me including today 5 more days with the kiddos.  Passing the unexpected free time our group went shopping.  We did A LOT of shopping.  I learned a new trait of mine that I am quite good at for myself and others…bargaining.

Shopping on Commerical Street or Brigade Street there are shops you can bargain the price with unless it is a corporate store then there is no bargaining the price of the item.  I have found out that the prices of the items are doubled in price.  Some items are not marked making it so you have to ask for the price then I personally think they make a price up then and there.  When looking or asking for a price, I immediately ask for half of the price.  Then the owner or worker says “No Madame” with a slightly lower price.  I shake my head saying the same price for half of what they said originally.  Eventually they will give in.  Sometimes you have to push your limits though.  Such as if they won’t go your price then I tell them I do not need the item and walk out.  Following me they say I can have the item at my price I say then I usually go back and buy the item.  If they are very stern and want the item then I comprise with them.  Bargaining is now my favorite thing to do while shopping to see how low you can get them to go on the price.

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Some of our group members caught on that I am pretty good with negotiating prices so they take me along.  I tag along getting them the deal!

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Commercial Street

You can find anything on commercial street for a great price.  From kurtas to sandals to pillow cases to key chains.  Anything you think you want you can find.  However being the shopper I am, I start thinking oh this is cheaper so I can get more.  My bank account doesn’t agree so much; neither do my two suitcases.  Shopping in India you want to get everything and anything.  I am moving into my first apartment when I get back.  When you walk in my apartment it will look like India threw up in it  (in a very good way).  If I could take five suitcases back with me full of stuff from India I would.

Now that my bank account has suffered and I have gotten almost everything I want to bring back with me to India.  I am content with my purchases, sorry mom and dad!

Until next time,

Liz

 

ps I still have two more days to shop after school 🙂

 

 

Bangalore Palace

Being in the College of Education Middle School Social Studies at the University of Missouri, visiting historical sites is one of my favorite things to do.  On Sunday Laura, Jill, Somnya (Laura’s host teacher at Magnolia) and I went to the Bangalore Palace.  Once I stepped out of the Uber my mouth dropped open, it was beautiful.  The tan stone with the greenery scaling up half of the palace was breath taking.  There was a huge garden out front of the palace, that had flowers planted according to color on the season.

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Bangalore Palace

Chamarajendra Wadiyar bought the original property in 1873 from the principal of Bangalore Central High School. The main building 4500 sq feet, the building took two years to build. It cost RS 198,158 at the time which in modern day currency in US dollars is $2,957.58 (a lot of money back then). It was built by Wodeyar King in 1887, it was inspired by the Windsor Castle which had a Tudor Style. The Wadiyar family spent most of their summers in the Bangalore Palace.

There were many photos that showed everything that the Wadiyar family activities, from childhood to adult outings. There were many photos of the Wadiyar family hunting. The Wadiyar’s were great hunters. It was believed that Jayachamaraja Wadiyar killed 300 tigers and many elephants. They had made stools, vases, table legs and wall decor out of the animals they would hunt. During the tour of the Bangalore Palace I saw elephant foot stools and an elephant trunk vase. Also one of the first elephants killed heads hung on the wall at the entrance of the palace. Table legs were made out of goat or horse feet.

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Elephant stools

During the tour I found out the Wadiyar family owned elephants as well.  Using them as “work-horses” and for celebration ceremonies.  During this age, owning elephants were only for the wealthy status for show and being able to have the money to feed the elephants!

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There was a chair to weigh jockeys, was in a shape of a horse-hoof legs. Every Wadiyar ruler was passionate fan of horse-racing. The chair is carved in a shoe shape with a measuring stand on the right and weigh scale on the left.

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Jockey weighing chair

I saw beautiful glass vase wear and dish wear. The paintings had real gold in them. We also had the chance to see the clothing the Wadiyar family wore. The sarees were gorgeous, majority of the sarees had a train in the front. I thought that would make walking very difficult. The carved wood stair case was decorated in flowers, each flower had a different design on each of them. Noticing the tall thin doorways. Also the first lift (elevator) in Bangalore is in the Bangalore Palace.

Going and touring the Bangalore Palace was wonderful, being able to learn about the culture then instead of just learning about Indian culture today.  I really enjoyed it and recommend anyone ever visiting Bangalore to go check it out!!

Until next time,

Liz

Compare & Contrast

From the first day I had at Vidyashilp I noticed that schooling in India was very different from schooling in the states.  I am starting to build my philosophy as a future educator.  Vidyashilp has shaped my teaching philosophy in ways I can not describe.  At Shilp they believe in creativity and allowing the student to think themselves.  Even the little things here that you don’t even think of can change a students mindset on their learning.

Yesterday I was talking with a couple of teachers from my EVS department about the color red.  The principal from Vidyashilp, Selvi Ma’am, she believes the color red should not be used in a classroom.  When the teachers of my department asked me why when planning my first lesson plan I used the color red so much.  I replied with it is easier for the kids to see rather than yellow or orange.  They continued to inform me that the EVS department does not use the color red.  I was so confused by this… It was just a color.  In my education my teachers always used red to mark my work or write the score I got on an assignment.  Seema Ma’am, my mentor and the EVS department head asked me what I first thought of when she said the color red.  I replied blood.  She looked at me, then I understood the color red feels like the student is wrong or not doing their best.  This causes the student to lose motivation for learning.  Why would a student want to improve or learn when they have huge red marking all over their work?… They don’t.  As Seema told me it is a psychological color, something they do not believe in using.  In my teaching career from now on red will not be used or will rarely ever be used.

At Shilp from standard 1-5 they do not receive homework or grades.  The teacher will assess how the student is doing in their class and make note of it to themselves.  Each month parents have the chance to come in the school and talk with the teachers to see how their child is doing.  Students not having homework is a good way to keep the child engaged in what they are learning in the classroom and interested.  If the student becomes very interested in the topic the student can then do a extra circular activity, which means going home and doing research then choosing a project they can do on the topic to show the class.  I think students at this age not having mandatory homework or grades allows the child to not feel pressured about learning allowing the child to want learn on their own.

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Student with her ozone project

First through fifth standard, the classroom has a set class that they stay in for their subjects minus activities.  The class has a different teacher for each subject.  I think this keeps the students attentive and allowing to build more relationships with teachers benefiting the child’s social skills.  Teachers have their desk in the staff room, students can come in and see the teacher whenever they would like to.  Since I have been here I have had a collection of students that visit my desk everyday.

Students at Shilp have over 20 activities they can chose from even first through fifth standard they can chose what activity they would like.  Back in the states we have a set day we do a certain activity and our activities are very limited.  We only have PE, art, music, and library at least where I went to elementary school.  Sometimes there are more but rarely in the states we such a variety like VIdyahilp has.  The freedom they allow the students to have with choosing their activity promotes responsibility, independence and expressing themselves.  At Shilp they have table tennis, skating, swimming, cricket, yoga, basketball, soccer, volleyball and many more.

One thing that is really important to me is how Shilp does lunch.  Kids are not allowed to bring their lunch unless they have dietary needs.  Lunch is set up in a buffet form where students go get what they would like then go eat lunch.  They do not pay for their lunch, everyday it is included.  Students are also allowed to go get seconds if they choose to do so.  Lunch in the US atleast in public schools you have to pay for your lunch everyday or bring your lunch.  If you do not have money or not enough money in your account, students will sometimes not receive lunch.  Hungry students are not learning students.  Wellness and Health is important for a child’s development properly and Vidyashilp is doing a great job of including all their students in that factor.

There are so many things that Vidyashilp does that I wish I could immediately change the schools back in the states to how Shilp does it.  However, I will take back what I have learned from Vidyashilp and try to implement that in my future schools I will be teaching at.

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Thank you again to the donors and everyone making this learning oppourtinity possible for me!!

Until next time,

Liz

Personal Narratives

Yesterday at Vidyashlip, Maddie and I taught a lesson to eleventh standard on personal narratives.  Selvi Ma’am asked us a couple days after our arrival to create a workshop for eleventh standard on a paper we would have to write in your first year of college.  Maddie and I chose to do a personal narrative.  We chose to do a PowerPoint for the workshop, breaking down what to include, how to write it and organizing your paper effectively.  This being one of the first lessons I have ever really taught made me feel comfortable with Maddie being by my side.

We started the workshop at 10:50 am and would have an hour for the workshop.  Students started to come in the Language Lab, grabbing the worksheet we had printed out for them to fill out making it easier for them to plan out their narrative.  We introduced ourselves and why we were at Vidyashilp making sure they knew why we have been at VIdyashilp for so long.  Majority of the phase two students had no idea why we were at their school.  Some thought Maddie and I were exchange students and others thought we were just visitors seeing the school.  Once we explained our purpose they all made sense of why we were leading the workshop.

During our workshop, we explained what a personal narrative was as a review for them, then went over how to write a thesis, topic sentence and transitions.  We moved into discussing what you should included in a personal narrative.  We had five key points, imagery, emotion, timeline of events, descriptions and senses to include in their paper.  We had students look at photos for each key points and then explain the photo with that specific key point.  Maddie and I had them write a short paragraph with looking at one of the photos for emotion and senses.  We gave the students about six minutes to write the short paragraph then we had a few of them share theirs.  With the few that shared, we were blown away with how well and rich in detail the short paragraph was written in such short time.

After going through the workshop we gave the students an assignment to write their own personal narrative.  We gave them two topics they could chose from.  The first one was a time you stepped out of your comfort zone.  The second option was write about a event that changed your life.  We taught them the steps we do back in the states to writing a paper, brainstorm, outline, rough draft, peer review, revise and final draft.  The students have never really been introduced to peer review or outlining their papers due to when exams come they have a set time to write their papers.  I explained to them when I have a set amount of time to write a paper I do a quick outline just so I get all my thoughts down and don’t miss anything when writing.  Some students really liked that idea and said they were going to start trying it instead of jumping right into their paper.

When the session was over students thanked us and a few students came up to Maddie and I asking if they could have our emails to email with any questions about college or the assignment.  We said of course we would love for them to email us!!  The session went really well, better than I expected!!  I have only been with Phase 1 students at Vidyashilp and after yesterday I can truly say that both phase 1 and phase 2 students are the best students.

Maddie and I did not get any photos unfortunately but we will be getting their personal narratives back within the a week and going over them, soon to come with an update!! 🙂

Until next time,

Liz

French Day @ Vidyashilp

Last Thursday I walked into Vidyashilp Academy with Dr. Castro, he had his workshop for the 11th and 12th standard on plagiarism that day, I took him to Selvi Ma’am office for him to find his schedule for the day.  When we got to Selvi’s office after the 1-5 standard assembly; we got Dr. Castro’s schedule for the day. Selvi Ma’am mentioned maybe me being able to attend part of their French Day for 1-5th standard.  I was eager to attend having taken French from seventh grade to eleventh grade.  I stil remember majority of what I learned of French.  I was interested in seeing how at Vidyshilp they taught and learned French.

Back in the states we never had a French Day at my school.  I always learned French by doing worksheets, reading or learning through speaking French to others in the classroom.  Taking French was not popular language to take back in the states, everyone took Spanish.  We also do not start taking a second language in public schools until seventh grade.  At Vidyashilp they start learning second language and sometimes even a third language at first standard which is first grade back in the states.  From what it seemed there were atleast 20-30 students from each grade that took French.  This was very different from me taking French, I was always use to about only fifteen students in my grade taking French.

As I walked into the auditorium, parents filled the rows watching their children perform the French songs they had learned with the material content they had been learning in class.  The stage was decorated beautifully.  I sat down in a aisle a couple rows back from the stage.  I was immediately blown away.  The students were singing songs that I had learned in seventh grade and they were only 6-10 years old.  After every song the students would bow and say “Merci”.  Each standard (grade) had a variety of songs, the students even dressed up for every song.  One of my favorites was the first standard boys singing the number song.  There were ten of them they had a sign on the front and the back of them saying which number they were.  They would jump forward and turn around every time their number was called.  They were also wearing black sunglasses and one had a guitar filling in the gaitar solo part of the song.  My next favorite was the first standard class dancing and singing to the French gummy bear song.  They were all wearing little bear ears.

Every performance was wonderful.  I enjoyed being able to be apart of the experience.  I believe it should be a priority back in the states for children to learn a second language at a early age.  It is easier for the child to retain the language which will make them want to continue to learn and expand their knowledge.  From my experience starting to learn a second language at seventh grade is not the easiest task.  Improvement in US schools with learning multiple language will benefit the student to become a step closer to become a global citizen which I believe is critical in today’s world.  I also think having students participate and have French Day encourages the child’s learning.

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Third standard singing a song on proper ways to order at a restaurant 

Vidyashilp, I was very impressed with French Day, thank you for allowing me to attend!

Until next time,

Liz