So it’s official: At 7:30 this morning I returned to the playground, the library, the science lab, and the classroom. Though this time around, not only do I get a chance to learn, I get a chance to teach and share.
The internship that I have chosen is a 3 month educational traineeship (AIESEC lingo for an internship focused on subject education, English development and cross-cultural learning activities). India school systems takes holidays for the month of June, so for my first month I only get to meet the students who have chosen to take extra activities and classes throughout the summer term. Unlike North America, where summer school is like extended detention (I apologize to all school board’s for this general assumption, but... I speak from perception), the students here are brimming with energy and enthusiasm.
The school is called St. Soldier’s Divine Public School and is located in Sector 16 of Panchkula (which is the town directly beside Chandigarh to the East). It is a kindergarten through grade 12 school of about 850 students and 40 teachers. This is the first time that this school has taken an intern, so I am the first ambassador for our program. This is nice because we have freely discussed what we would like to contribute.
I have every intention of surpassing the expectations while respecting the structure and boundaries of the institution itself. It would be easy to arrive with assumptions of changing the world and improving the system, but this is not the purpose of my internship. I plan to learn a great deal from this experience by spending my time actively participating.
For the next 2 weeks, I will be leading morning activities with a small group of about 30 students. From 7:30 am until 11:30 am, my responsibilities include sports activities (awesome), and PD (Personal Development) classes. We played basketball today, focusing on passing, dribbling and simple shooting. I chose not to use the BEEF acronym for the jump shot (Ball, Elbow, something, Feet) because the cow is a sacred creature. PD is a new concept to me and is I have been given some freedom to lead classes. The criteria for these classes are improving soft skills and cross-cultural development. We talked about formal and informal introductions in India and in Canada and practiced eye contact, body language, warm greetings and a firm handshake.
School officially begins in the first week of July, so these next couple weeks are a fantastic orientation to a small group of students, the faculty, and the school itself. I have given the students homework for the first day (what a terrible guy), but the assignment is simple. They must bring a fact about Chandigarh, a fact about India, and a Question about Canada tomorrow. I will share these facts with you!
Oh, and this class is perfect for the word a day challenge: today’s words include: