I am so tired today. I think the lack of sleep and the humidity have ganged up on me. I think I will sleep well tonight.
Today was good. I started teaching today, and I think that these children are wonderful. I am afraid that I am more strict than the last Dance Master, and the children are not sure how to respond. However, experience has taught me that starting strict is the best way to establish yourself as a teacher. The students will love you for giving them structure, and they will behave as you relax. The classes that I taught today were the 5th Grade Standard class, and the 7th-9th Grade Standard class. It's amazing how much I learned in just these two classes. I'm excited to adjust my class structure and to better build off of what has already been done by my predecessors. My goal is to help the children understand why we dance. Dancing keeps our bodies healthy and strong, but there are greater reasons to dance. We dance to learn discipline, creativity, and leadership. If we do it right, it will make us strong in mind and heart, as well as body. If we are strong in mind, heart, and body, then we will be able to accomplish anything.
In the afternoon, I taught a Professional Development workshop at the Teacher's Meeting. We discussed how we can use dance and movement to enhance learning. The principal, Celina, was pleased with how it went. So was the vice-principal, Mangella. This interactive style of learning (involving making a kinesthetic connection to the curriculum being taught) is a relatively new concept in America, so you can imagine how radical it must have seemed here at this Indian school. The teachers identified some of their challenges in the classroom, and then we brainstormed dance and movement-based solutions/ideas. It was fun to get the teachers on their feet doing some simple, but effective activities. It was amazing to relate to them as an educator. It's interesting that I am half-way across the globe, but the challenges of teaching are still the same. I am glad that I was able to offer the teachers tools to improve their teaching practice. I hope that their relationship with the our program will grow stronger.
After the meeting, paperwork, and the Star Store (I will explain more about the Star Store in a later post)--I was finally able to have a rehearsal with the Life Dance Troupe. This troupe is comprised of our older students who passed an audition over the summer. Generally speaking, they love dance. They definitely forgot some of the things they learned over the the summer, but they retained many of the important aspects. I think they will improve quickly as I work with them. I also taught them a basic dance step called "pas de bouree." We definitely have children here with great talent. Working with this group was the highlight of my day.
One last thing: as I was walking around the campus, I became aware of how often the people here make adjustments for me. It made me feel ashamed. I was in their home and country. And yet, I do not speak the language or eat the way they eat. So they speak English for me, and they hand me a fork. They do many things for me and my Western ways. I hope that I better learn the culture so that I can fit in better. I've never felt like an "entitled American," but now I think I may be one of "those people." I am going to do my best to learn how to fit in, so that I can feel at home in India. I never want to feel ashamed for that reason again.
Well, I must go to bed now. It's late. Thank you to you all for your prayers and support!