First off, wow, week 5! Time has really been flying. It feels like I stepped off the plane only a week ago, yet I only have about a week and a half of work left!
Last week was a really hectic week in terms of student activities. On multiple occasions, I had facilitated a group of 20 some 7th graders as they wandered through the streets of Bangalore. On Tuesday, the students walked through a traditional Bangalore market as well as used the metro to move around the city. I usually get stressed taking the metro by myself, so trying to get 20 students on and off the metro at the right stops was a bit of an ordeal! But nonetheless everyone survived and the students, who for the most part never took the metro before, really enjoyed their experiences. Then, on Thursday, the students performed street theater in the city to raise awareness about recycling. Now when I say street theater I literally mean the students preformed theater in the street! We had to stop a section of traffic before we could perform. Thankfully one of the parents was friends with a nearby cop who helped block traffic, but still it was a pretty nerve-wracking event.
As one of the teachers observed I was “thrown into the deep end” but I can’t complain because I’ve learned so much from all my experiences! I would say the biggest challenge I have faced and a problem I will continue to face is the balance between being assertive in the classroom vs being aggressive in the classroom. My biggest problem in the classroom is getting the kids to stay quiet while they’re journaling. Whenever the noise level rises I tend to shush the class which is a form of being “aggressive”. As the class goes on I keep shushing them but the noise level always rises back up! When I’m shushing the kids I’m not working with them I’m working against them, I’m not being assertive enough… or at least not using assertive methods. One of the other teachers I work with is a wizard in these assertive tactics. Within 3 minutes he quieted down the whole class for almost 20 minutes. He pulled out his phone and turned the whole experience into a game/competition by measuring the decibel levels! Maybe I’m not seen as assertive because I’m considerably younger than all the other teachers, but at least now I know what to work on to improve my leadership skills! And what’s a better place to practice being assertive than in India!