Quite a bit has happened since my last post about India. I went from having no job, to three, from homeless to an Uptown girl, got published online on National Geographic.com, and many happenings in-between (Homecoming, Thanksgiving, Gleeful Mexican Tuesdays, etc.).
So where did I leave off…
Jaipur & the Neerja Modi School Experience:
Three months ago I would have never imagined that I would be wishing to go back to Jaipur, or even India for that matter. It was dirty; here is what was right outside of the school’s walls:
How the heck do I miss it?! But now, I realize that it might just be the bout of food poisoning and the food-borne illnesses I contracted for the last couple of weeks that made me dislike the country… or at least it’s sanitary problems.
What I have caught myself missing is the constant hustle and bustle of India. Flagging down a rickshaw and bartering your ride to the city center down to a dollar. Trying to understand just what they mean when they do the ‘head bob’ – yes? no? what?! I miss the food – palak paneer, naan, dal marahni, aaloo dum. And I miss the students, but not so much the teaching…
The Neerja Modi School (NMS) was a great school, filled to the brim with students motivated to learn. Albeit, learn math and science. Not so much the arts, which is what I was assigned to teach. Having graduated from schools that pride themselves in the arts, it was sad to see what I believe to be a great foundation to many disciplines, brushed to the side as it was at NMS.
I was supposed to have full control of how my 11th grade art class would be taught. That was not the case as soon as my first assignment was issued: write a paragraph about your favorite piece of art, using both subjective and objective reasoning. My fellow art teachers told me there should be no writing involved in art and immediately took control of the reigns – apparently I am not cut out to be a teacher.
So what was supposed to be an exciting experiment to bring art to a higher standard at Neerja Modi, actually turned into me giving feedback to student work. I did get a little leeway when it came to the students wanting to learn how to use photoshop, the only problem was that they had one computer to share between 10 students. I brought my Macbook to class only to realize that everything I was teaching them wasn’t relevant to the their software, circa 1997.
Apart from the teaching, NMS was fun. We played games and sports with the students,
shared insights on our respective cultures ( – the school was very strict and the students were not allowed to have much in their possessions, and not allowed to have candy… they had to sneak in this birthday cake…),
and I got to teach one pretty smart 7 year old how to use my camera, when it wasn’t monsooning:
Which seemed to be most of the time. =)
More to come now that I’m finally getting into a schedule! Up next will be Ms. Molly (aminnesotalife.wordpress.com) and Tanya’s visit to Jaipur, pictures from around Jaipur and the Pink City, the markets and our 3 day adventure to Jaisalmer.