A pic of the school that has been both my bane and my boon for the last month.
I cried for the first time today - a messy snotty, obnoxious, chest paining cry. I then listened to "Remind me" by Ginny Owens on repeat for about 30 mins, and fell asleep. There were three reasons for this outburst:
Step one: getting sick. This one is 100% on me. Normally you can blame sickness on some flu that is going around, or the fact that you are in India. Not this time! I somehow managed to get sick doing the one thing that was supposed to protect me from getting sick; taking my travel pill. As I recently discovered, taking this compacted powder pill without water means that the HCL residue lasts in your throat for too long and essentially strips your throat of all the lovely things that make it a good food transport system. What this means is that right now swallowing my spit hurts, and burping feels like it is punching a hole in the lining of my esophagus.
Step two: I miss home… yeah, that was self explanatory.
Step three: I am terrible at teaching. Well, at least I am terrible at working with kids to do anything besides make them happy. I am great at entertaining kids, I know how to set a maintainable balance between fun and boundaries. When it comes to having a classroom of kids obey me, however, I can't do it. If I want them to sit - they stand. If I want them to stop, they continue. The problem is exacerbated when the kids can't understand your hella broken Punjabi.
If you have read my previous posts, you know that I haven't ever posted about the school. This should be a red flag to you and to me. I came here to teach, and somehow all I have managed to talk about is the times I haven't been teaching. Mainly because this particular part of my journey has been the most stressful and confusing part. Trying to manage relationships with children, teachers, and the principal without being able to communicate with them feels impossible and terrifying.
In true Ellie fashion, I just ignored the issue and pretended it would get better. I learned today that it may not. Over the last couple weeks the kids pretty much stopped listening to me. Which makes sense, when I say "yes, that is good" their other teachers say, "no, you're wrong." I have also been learning that I don't teach, and don't want to teach using the methods of the school I am at. But, if I use different methods the kids get confused, and the teachers get frustrated.
Essentially, I am learning that partially because of the language barrier, and partially because I just don't work well keeping kids "in line." I am an absolutely terrible teacher. I realized this when I was at school today - yes, I was also sick, this may have been why everything seemed so big. I was left in the room full of toys and 18 kids. The teacher had made it clear we should be doing actions, and that the kids should not play with the toys before leaving for two minutes.
Five minutes later everything had gone to hell, and I was sitting in the middle of the door way letting the kids play with the toys and quietly redirecting them whenever they tried to leave the room.
I wanted to die. And I realized that all I am currently doing in the classroom is undoing whatever the teachers have tried to do. Even though I don't necessarily agree to what they are trying to do, I recognize that it is more damaging for relationships between the kids, the teachers, and I if I continue on my solo path to where ever I am going.
So I don't know what I will do from here. Maybe I'll teach more one on one with the kids just to get me out of the teachers realm. Maybe I can find a way to just work with the principal or admin stuff - I'm not as inclined to do that, but maybe it is the best choice.
Whatever the case, it's time for a change, and it's time it was a good one.
Elianna DeSota is a young teacher who is obsessed with deep diving into new cultures and ideas. Right now she is on a journey to discover more about India and herself before jumping into the next chapter of her life.