Tag Archives: education

Aside

…well i finally figured out what it’s been that’s kept me from updating my dedicated followers (i.e. the friends and family that monitor me to make sure i haven’t gone completely over the deep-end). shame.

yep, shame.

now don’t go getting all worried, not that scary wrist-cutting shame that causes so much grief you can’t even live with yourself. no, its that kind of shame you get when you put something off just long enough to feel bad about it. then you get to that point where you’re afraid that if you try to make it right you’ll just draw more attention to the irresponsible procrastination you let yourself fall into in the first place and the shame sets in again. you know, the paralyzing kind that makes you want to avoid attracting attention to yourself? (at least if you’re an ‘avoider’ like me) its like that.

i think what it boils down to is the fact that i’ve never been a particularly disciplined person. throughout my schooling, assignments always seemed to be a day late, and i think certain teachers came to expect my heart-wrenching pleads for just one more day and the concession of a few points so that i could “finish” it. which meant that at about 9pm that evening i would frantically begin the project and stay up all night brooding over it to come out with a fairly decent rendition of what it should have been had i planned out the whole 2 weeks i’d had to get it done, further reinforcing my tendency to do it again. that is my life. has been for as long as i can remember and, clearly, i’m not growing out of it any time soon.

so, long, drawn-out excuse over with, a LOT has happened since the last time many of you heard from me! here’s the short list:

1. i made the formal decision to finish out a second school year with CHI! so that means i’ll be here through April/May of 2013. luckily, NC and i made somewhat of a pact so that neither of us would be here alone, which leads to the next 2 points

2. i officially got my visa extension which will be good through July 2013! not that I need it that long, but I’m glad to have leeway and not have to worry about doing it again*

3. NC and i have officially moved out of our previous home-stay accommodations and gotten into a new two-bedroom abode about a 20-minute bus ride from work! (which cuts my commute time in half!) i’ll dedicate another post to this on its own.

4. i got to spend about a month in Indiana this past May and got to see a few of the people i had hoped to see. hopefully i’ll be able to plan out my next visit  a little better (mark your calendars for December, people!) and get more visits in!

5. my very brave father spent a week here with me on my way back and got a small taste of my life in India. i think there was a bit of shell-shock, but overall i think his experience was good. i enjoyed being able to finally show off how much i’ve learned about life here and prove to myself just how ‘indian’ my lifestyle has become!

6. we currently have the special ed coordinator from Indy here working with us at school which has been a HUGE help for getting ourselves better organized and focused for creating procedures in the school.

well, you’ve now got the abbreviated version of what’s happened in the past couple of months. overall, things are going well and i’ve etched out some sort of life here that i think i can manage for a while. i’ll update soon with pictures and details of the new living situation.

tata for now,
sarah

*= new & exciting info originally neglected, added 23/07/12

shame…

new paths

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well, it’s been a long two months (sorry) since my last post. there was a major hubbub about the global conference where the core staff of CH came together in bangalore this year, visited the school, and spent time in the city brainstorming to constantly improve the organization itself.

on a personal note, i am now officially past exciting birthdays in my life. i am now 25 years old [which is so strange to write]. in many ways i don’t feel much different from when i turned, say, eighteen, but if i look back analytically, SO many things have changed. though i [think] i am the same person in general, i have a slightly more clear sense of direction of where i am going and as much as my 18-year-old self would have resisted and to some extent resented it, i’ve found that my passion truly does lie in education.

this experience has given me so much insight into what education means. i find it funny that the education i received in the US was so generic in terms of content. i know that no matter which of the 50 states i was brought up in, by the end of the 12th grade i would have received the same general knowledge as in any state. the contrast of india is insurmountable. for one, if you want a good education here, you are generally going to pay through the nose for a half-way decent school atmosphere with teachers that lecture while students take notes. for the average fee-paying school, students are expected to do most of the learning themselves and parents often become the tutors. of course the school i’m in has to go beyond that given that the majority of the parents cannot read and write [in any of the 3-4 languages they speak]. also, the variety of kinds of schools in this place is incredible, nearly every caste, creed or language group can find a school that suits their economic and cultural background (though the curriculum may not always be the best). the fact that CHI incorporates such a variety of people really makes this place something different. i do love where i am working, but most of all, i’m realizing just how close of a community this school really is.

today was the last day for the 12th grade students who will start their final exams at the end of the week. for India, a central board conducts exams, in a similar format to the SAT or ACT, except that answers are generally all handwritten. regardless, the last day for these students was very similar to what i remember of the end of my own high school career. i got the chance to speak with a few students about their experiences and i just realized how universal that feeling of being part of a group truly is. for students of CHI that is even more pronounced as the majority of the 12th graders have been in the same school with the same classmates since kindergarten! given that the graduating class is only about 70 students, these have truly become like family for each other and understand where their classmates are coming from. that next step of moving out into the “real world” will be quite a step for them. some have big plans for becoming lawyers or engineers, others will be getting jobs in some form or another, but for them, like any 18 year-old, separating from that comfortable group is a bit of a scary thing. it was refreshing today to see them preparing themselves not to see the same familiar faces every day. for them, CHI has become that one space in their worlds where they can dare to dream, if you will. now they have to go make those dreams realities…

i wish them all the best and thank them [though they’ll probably never know] for reminding me what it was like to be 18 and have the world at your feet like an ocean, but be afraid to jump for fear of scattering those precious, familiar ties. i know some of them will do great things, and all will certainly be able to make independent lives for themselves.

well… happy new year!

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…a late one that is… (clearly i’m not disciplined enough for this whole professional-blogger thing, sigh.)

celebrating the holiday season in India was certainly not the same as being in the U.S. yes, people (in Bangalore at least) do celebrate Christmas in India. but no, it’s not the same without snow, real christmas trees throwing needles all over the place, cold weather, crowded malls, hot chocolate, or eggnog. my loving family members replaced some of this by sending nice cards, christmas decorations, hot chocolate mixes, and nice smelling christmas candles to brighten up my room. the person i’m staying with did decorate for christmas and it looked fairly festive inside the house (christmas tree, stockings, stars), but it wasn’t the same without cold weather. it genuinely didn’t feel like Christmas time here because, though a ‘bangalorean’ will argue, the seasons barely change here, at least through the eyes of a midwestern girl who is used to seeing all 4 distinct seasons; hot, sticky summer to bone-chilling winter. it is certainly cooler in the month of december here, even getting down around 50 (F) at night, but it still gets up to nearly 80 (F) in the daytime and the sun can be unbearable as we are elevated a bit here and therefore closer to the sun.

though the holidays were exciting, december was a bit of a month of falling into routines. the nice thing that has finally happened for me at school is that things have suddenly become organized and started running fairly smoothly (as smoothly as is possible for a special educator). one might think this all would have happened earlier as I’ve now been here 4+ months, but as is proven to me every day, establishing norms and routines in a special education classroom that has a huge variety of needs to address, not to mention the logistics of scheduling students’ classes, meetings with teachers, and time to organize and sort through paperwork, is a never-ending test in time-management and organization. the fact that we are in India certainly doesn’t aid in any of the routines we are trying to establish. though as we recently added 1.5 new teachers (1 part-time, 1 full-time) to our room, the workload has been more evenly distributed and now there are more brains there for our regular brainstorming sessions.

here’s the christmas season in short;

  • school: the month of december brings exam time. first something called the Asset which is supposed to assess where the kids stand in the curriculum and compare to other schools. unfortunately there seems to only be a loose connection between the actual curriculum and that which the test is based on. but that’s the story of any teacher at home as well (think ISTEP here). the last week in december brought regular term exams, which means those of us in the LSC, had to create our own individualized exams for our kiddos. luckily a chunk of them will be moving back to regular grade level work in January and therefore will be able to take the regular monthly exams their classmates take (if all goes as planned). also, we got the chance to have a little end of term celebration which was almost entirely organized by LSC students themselves. gave me that little taste of Christmas enjoyment that kids at home have… except that here Santa is referred to as “that Christmas thata” (thata= old man in Kannada).
  • home: on christmas eve, the family i stay with invited all of the people who work in the building (watchmen, maids, cooks, etc.) to bring their families for a nice Christmas lunch. it was really wonderful to meet the families of the people who i see every day, and great to see them being served food for once. everyone crowded into the apartment downstairs and ate on the floor the traditional indian way; on mats, eating with hands. it was a really great way to kick off Christmas! otherwise, i had a fairly quiet Christmas day and spent the evening Skyping with family members. we spent new years in and had a few friends over to celebrate and eat awesome food!
  • outings: of course i couldn’t sit around the house for a whole week, so NC and i did go on a few outings. the highlight, i would say, was spending a couple of days visiting the hostel. we went once on Christmas Eve and saw all the decorations, then got to accompany the group to Bannerghatta National Park (the zoo of Bangalore). otherwise, we met a few friends for dinner and tried to relax and put work out of our minds for the week.

the start of January has brought excitement for the quickly approaching CH Global Conference which is being held in Bangalore this year. the school is getting all prepared with performances and committee plans to make the visit a good one for all of our international colleagues and for Christel Ma’am herself (as children so lovingly call her). i’m excited to see the various staff from around the world and to get the chance to see some familiar Indianapolis residents.

hope everyone is well and that the new year has brought new beginnings and a fresh start for all of you, many happy wishes for health and happiness!

vanakkam!
namaskara!
assalamu alaikum!
Sarah

import: quick update

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Dear friends, family, and strangers,

Here is an update of the things I did for the past few weeks, I’ll leave this as my update and try to keep up for the next couple weeks.

3rd week I was here I went to a region called Coorg. This is a rainforest region that is covered in coffee plantations. I stayed at a really cool place called the Rainforest Retreat, which is an all-organic and environmentally friendly plantation. Unfortunately my first day there was spent recovering from the long, extremely bumpy bus ride and a stomach issue from the previous night’s dinner. It did turn out to be a very nice place to recover though. The second day I was there I was really able to enjoy the scenery and go on a couple of hikes as well as explore the plantation itself (including having to quickly pull two leeches off my ankles, eeekkk!). It was all beautiful and I will post pictures soon 🙂

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