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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

School life

My second week of teaching is over. It’s going so fast and I heard today that the classes I’m giving will only be until the middle of May. The 20th to be exact. That means only a few more weeks! Wouw.. so fast. I’m only just getting settled in and growing more confident but already I’m needing to think of where to head to next. The school wants me to stay. But I’m not too sure. Staying here could give me some great experiences and the kids are amazing. But then there are other options too. The same foundation has schools all over this district and there’s at least one other school, closer to the city, where they have a vacancy for me. And yesterday I got another call from a language institute wanting to meet me and offering me a teaching position to start in June. So there are options, but I don’t quite know what it is that I want.

I’m trying to stay in the “here and now”. Suddenly realizing that I’m half way through this assignment, it’s making me savour each day even more. I’m enjoying it all so much. The kids are the sweetest ever. They speak so much English, the bigger ones especially, and they are so open with me. I get the sweetest poems, letters and gifts nearly everyday and the questions some of the them ask are so innocent. Yesterday one of the girls asked me if I take a flight every morning and afternoon, to and from Ireland! Another girl asked me if I drink lots of milk, because my skin is so white and yet another, who is only 8, asks me everyday if I’m happy or if I’m sad when I go to my “home” after class. She tells me how happy I make her and today she gave me a note saying how proud she is of me!! This is coming from an 8 year old! It makes me melt.

The youngest group, from the age of 5 to 7, are starting to feel more comfortable with me. Because of the language barrier, it was difficult at first, and it still can be as they talk so much of Malayalam (the local language) to me. It’s sweet but not always easy. At some points, they are speaking to me and I’m speaking to them and neither of us is understanding the other. Most days there’s an assistant, Sheela, who translates whenever there’s the language barrier. But today she wasn’t there and so, of course, they totally took advantage of “teachers” lack of language. It doesn’t help matters that I’m not strict and they’re clever enough, with or without English, to know that I’m not strict and today they tried everything! Quite funny when I take a look at the whole situation but actually teaching them new stuff, was a challenge. We do meditation every lesson, to calm them down - which is how this school from this foundation work - and it’s amazing to see the effect it can have on them. How calm they can become and how much they take in, afterwards, it works like magic, usually. But today, it was more like a playschool than anything else. I had some of them crying, and I didn’t know why, I had some of them arguing and I could only guess as to why they were arguing. But smile, smile, smile and befriend them and they will always be fine. Such special kids. I was so tired when it was over.. There was only 30 of them, which isn’t a lot (by Indian standards). But it felt like it. It took so much for me to get back to “normal” afterwards. They had sucked every ounce of energy out of me but I had to get my head into gear for the next class. It was like getting to a totally different place in my mind, because the approach was so different. Suddenly I was in front of kids who understand 99% of what I say. What a turnaround! I didn’t think I’d get through the “change“ of approach in teaching, without them noticing I was low on reserves. But I managed and the energy came out of the sky, or somewhere else.. Haha..

The school lets me do as I wish. Every lesson I can choose the contents. I choose my way and, due to the hours of preparation I do each afternoon, my classes are so much fun. When the lessons start, I don‘t want them to end. If I’m “having a ball” then so are they and that’s all I want. I then know for a fact that they’re learning. I still have spectators every lesson; other teachers taking notes and wanting to “learn” from me (little do they know how in-experienced I am) or new-comers observing my way of teaching or visitors just being curious as to who the new and only foreigner in the town is and what the commotion is all about. Yes, my lessons cause commotion and they are different. But that’s what the head of the school wants. My classes are hectic, full-on and my voice can be heard by everyone around (and this alone draws everyone to come a watch the excitement that’s going on). I don’t use a stick, for “chaos-control“, like the other teachers do. When the kids are acting out of line and I suddenly “put them in their place” they know that I’m serious and they listen and then we all smile again. It’s brilliant.

I learn so much each day about so many different things, and most importantly, about myself, due to these amazing kids. So much flows out of me when I’m in front of them. If I’m tired beforehand, it’s instantly gone, when I’m standing in front of them. I’ve realized how much I love to talk in front of people. Something I’d forgotten. Every lesson, I find myself talking too much and have to force myself to stop. But by what I’m giving, I always want them to come to life in my classes, and they do. Time flies and energy is bouncing off the walls and so much love flows..

I’m only starting to realize this in the past few days, but there really is so much love at this school. I can see in the kids that meditation is apart of their daily lives and lessons in school. The foundation that runs the school is of a spiritual guru (I think I mentioned this before) and the students, their parents, the teachers and everyone linked to this school, is a follower. So their way of being and of teaching, is one of pure freedom and joy. Everyone is humble, equal, grounded and they strive to be a free soul. I notice it in the kids a little more each day. It’s fantastic.

So, when all is going so well, how is it that I don’t know what I’ll do with the job offers I’ve had? Well, it’s mainly because of my visa expiry date; 3 more months I have, but do I cut it short? Do I come back afterwards and take up either of my options? No matter what I choose, when I leave, I’ll have to wait 2 months before re-entering India on a new visa. It’s a new law. So if I really want to return, I’ll first have to go elsewhere; maybe just for refuge or maybe to teach in a different country and gain a new experience and later return to this land of magic. The answers I’ll never know until one decision is made. It’s fine though, in whatever way I decide to go about my travels. It’s all working as it should: In perfect order! I’m just witnessing it all unfolding before my eyes and it’s amazing.

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