Although the last few weeks of the internship were filled with exploring all that we could, we also focused a lot on our work as teaching interns. As I described in past blog posts, the last weeks of the internship were focused on contextual learning field trips where we chaperoned the trips around Bangalore. During this time, we also had our own homeroom classroom where we spent one to two hours daily doing different journaling activities. By the time the last few days came around, I felt that I was really in the swing of not just controlling my class, but engaging them in meaningful ways. It wasn’t that the students all of a sudden were more interested in our discussions, but the difference was the atmosphere that I created in the room.
The first week, when I talked about the field trip locations I just told them information and history of the people or the place. Looking back, it is obvious that the classroom environment was quite dry. After realizing that only a few students seemed interested and participated, I realized that they needed to know how the things we were talking about affected them. The next weeks I focused on discussing how the people or places we were visiting affected their lives and why it was important for them to learn about. Not only did the students become much more engaged, but there were very few disruptions in class because they were genuinely interested in the discussions.
It wasn’t just the students that were more into the discussions, but I was also much more excited to have these meaningful talks with them before journaling time. I could tell that my teaching style changed because I knew that what I was discussing with them mattered. I talked in a more excited tone and we bounced thoughts off of each other in order to learn together. These discussions helped me to connect with the students more because I was able to hear their own thoughts on certain topics and learn more about them as people.