After reading my penultimate sonnet and a few more chapters in The Story of Philosophy, I found myself at school -- as per usual. It turns out the neighbor I met yesterday is the principal of Sri Aurobindo School of Integral Education! She invited me to visit yesterday, and, school enthusiast (a.k.a. nerd) that I am, I couldn’t resist.
I started my day with a discussion with the school’s tenth grade class. They told me all about the core curriculum and extracurricular activities at Sri Aurobindo, and were full of questions about American high schools and my gap year. I really, really enjoyed meeting this bunch. They were so engaged and supportive, they made me feel like my Hindi is adequate, and they promised to read my blog! I even ran into two girls from this class later, and they said they hadn’t been able to focus in their other classes all day because they had been so blown away by our discussion. What sweethearts!
Next, I paid the ninth graders a visit during their dance class. Despite some time-consuming technological difficulties, I finally got to see a boys’ number and a girls’ number. It was interesting to note that as the boys performed, the girls stood at a distance and copied their choreography to learn the steps, whereas the boys taunted and jeered as the girls presented their dance. Though the males’ behavior wasn’t malevolent per se, it was an interesting insight into some of the challenges faced by girl students (and all females, to some extent) in India.
In the afternoon, I visited a kindergarten class and talked a bit with them about my students at Gyaan Ghar and my own experiences as a young student. They got a little rowdy (seeing as it was the end of the day), so I shared with them that I always used to get in trouble as a child for being disruptive while the teacher was talking. I just encouraged them to channel all of this energy and creativity into their studies, which I have no doubt they will do, given how enthusiastic they all were about the homework they had to do after school. Sounds familiar...
Soon after they left, I embarked on a self-guided tour of the school. I especially enjoyed exploring their Physics and Chemistry lab. O how I miss you, dear Science!
Nani picked me up and we relished a splendid meal in the sun before my catnap and a visit from one of my favorite people of all time. As I mentioned on Day 151, Deepu is like a saint. I could literally spend my whole life talking to her, and then I would feel as though I truly knew this world. Given my recent life-changing experience with Sasha Bruce Youthwork, I was really excited to hear that Deepu is very interested in psychology and child therapy. We discussed this and thousands of other things under the sun before it was time for her to go, but not before we made plans to meet again soon.
I then dashed inside to layer up and back out again for a brisk round of the park with Nani before starting this post. It’s dinner time, so I’m off. Please wish me better luck sleeping tonight!