I have now been in India for over half my internship. I believe it has been 23 days or so. Honestly, not a ton has changed, but rather I have grown more comfortable. I have become used to waking up, doing yoga, eating breakfast, teaching, playing games with the kids, teaching again, dancing with them, going back home, debriefing how our days went on the car ride home, chilling and talking before lunch, doing a bit of work or playing cards after lunch, heading back out for two more hours of teaching, coming home, showering, eating supper, and then whiling the night away playing cards and talking with my fellow interns, with whom I am now best buds.
So, for a lot of my students, that much reading might take them twenty minutes or so. Most of them would have spelled out every word, checked to see if it was one of the words they know, and then waited for me to say the word. Then they would have repeated the word, and moved on to the next word.
Then again, I also have students in the same class that could read that first paragraph in about two minutes – pretty similar to the time it would take you and me. Sure, they may not make sense of it all, but even so they are miles ahead of my other students.
Special moments happen every day.
- Yesterday, we listed types of burgers and someone said nacho burger. Today, in my question box, there was the question “What is nacho burger?” I drew a picture of a burger with a patty and chips and cheese on it and they all laughed.
- Wednesday, I had them do a crossword, which had a word bank. One of them filled in an answer with the word ‘word bank.’
- Today I made up a ball game where if you dropped the ball or talked, you were out. Later, we did a Madlib that required them to list games and one student asked me for the name of the game I was playing.
- Two of my kids who can’t write a complete sentence have now started writing words such as ‘noodle’ or ‘mango’ in the question box just so they can hear me say it.
- We asked them what their favorite movie was and I told them mine was “Three Idiots” (a Bollywood movie) and they were very impressed.
So, these moments, now having written them down, actually seem fairly normal and unremarkable. But, I guess know that they meant a lot to me and in context they are very cute. And I think that underneath their classical conditioning to yell “Good morning, sir!” every time I enter a room, I think that’s the nice thing about the work I’m doing. Indian, Tibetan, or American, they are all still just kids who want your love and attention.