So today I had about 30 people visiting my classroom from different countries. It was a fantastic opportunity for my kids to interact, learn more and of course show off. Here are a few gems I will keep coming back to.
1) Vivek: Who is the most famous American singer?
Daren (from Teach for America): Kanye West is a great singer
Vivek (doubling up in laughter): Kaaniye se gaana gawaya!!
Needless to say that the rest of the class joined in.
Vivek: Can I call you Kaaniya bhaiya?
Daren: Oh no! I am not Kanye West he is a famous singer. I am not Kanye.
Class refers to Daren now as Kaaniya bhaiya.
2) So there was this person from Teach for Kenya who walked into my class. Now I do not mean to be racist but my class simply has seen more American and European people and an African is surely a first. He walks into my class and there is a collective gasp. One kid whispers loudly enough for all of us to hear “Bhaiya got sun stroke and became full black”. I could have simply found a hole to bury myself.
3) A group from Teach for All delegation came to my class when we were discussing Wonderbox questions. Shubham Pandey stands up and asks the delegates a question that would leave them stumped – “Where is the baby making factory?”. Of course the 15 people could not stop grinning and there was an uproar in class. Rishi taking offence stood up and said “Do not call my mother a factory!”. I intervened and asked the class to settle down. Shubham, very matter of factly says “there are so many people in this world obviously there is a factory”. Wasim chums in to share two bits of his newspaper reading habit saying “Yes 7 billion people are there, there must be a factory.”
4) During the recess, Sumit reports to me saying he “thinks” Lucy (a leadership role person from Teach for China) can read Chinese. I asked him how did he figure this out. He reports the following conversation to me.
Sumit: Can you read this? (showing the backside of his identity card which has Chinese gibberish because I bought it from some stationery store which sells imported stuff)
Lucy: Hmm..let me try
Sumit: I will not know even if you read wrong. But please read correctly.
Lucy: (reads something)
Sumit: Thank you for reading me in Chinese.
5) So on my behaviour tracker, I ended up cutting 1 point of Vikas because he was behaving quite badly somewhere end of day. This happened with 13 people in class and he felt he lost face so was very upset. He comes to me after school to make me feel terrible so this is what he tells me verbatim.
Vikas: Didi, you cut my point!
Me: Umm…yes you broke 3 rules and I gave you sufficient warning.
Vikas: Didi, you do not cut my point. You did not cut my point. You cut India’s point in front of American and the world. That was not good. Now they will go to the world and tell everyone that Indian students lose points in class
Me: (Embarrassed for not realising the faux pas I committed in International relations)