Humans Interacting with Humans

Teaching has brought so many new highs into my life:

I enjoy walking down the hallways with my dupatta (scarf draped over the shoulders) flowing in the wind as all the students say, “good morning ma’am” or “good afternoon ma’am. I walk with my head held high and turn from left to right replying “good afternoon.” This is a perhaps a self indulgent feeling of authority. But I can’t deny that it makes me feel on top of the world. This feeling is what makes me believe that I am a teacher. It gives me the confidence to command a classroom and demand respect.

I love reading the letters that I had my students write to me on the first day of class. I’ve discovered that many of them speak Hindi at home and love to dance. Judging by the responses that I got in the letters, many of them are unfamiliar with the idea of a ‘fun fact.’ I had to give examples of this multiple times. My 8th graders are terrific writers. Their letters are so warm and charming and they show a genuine interest in school and the subjects that they are learning.

Today we had an assembly to remember the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima on August 6th. The day was declared World Peace Day and we were encouraged to continue to find peace within ourselves and share that peace with others. I’ve been thinking a lot about my time here in India and how I deal with my frustrations. In a perfect world, I would be calm, cool and collected at all times but that is not the reality of my situation. There are so many things that drive me wild with frustration. Ordering food is such a treat but there is always a mutual struggle to understand the person on the other end. Sometimes it can be difficult to dial phone numbers so, before I even get on the phone with someone I’m already heated because I had to dial three different numbers in three different ways to finally speak to someone. On the crowded metro, people can be a touch snappy when a car gets overcrowded, me being one of them. And the worst feeling for me is when someone tries to take advantage of me financially. Now that I’ve been here for a month, I am picking up on these little things that I was oblivious to before.  In any of these situations I usually go from slightly riled up to full blown frustrated in a very short period of time. Then I start to  think about the beggars or the little girl that tugged on my arm the other day and the family that was sleeping on the street. All of a sudden, I don’t even know the right way to act or even think concerning these situations. I don’t just want to be told how I should act either, I want to know. To me knowing is where the true inner peace lies.

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