I’ve been thinking about this post for a week now. I want to share this incredible lesson that was done with some of our Third Graders as part of the Trek2India Project. However, as many of you know, the actual trip to India by our superintendent was canceled due to the unrest in Mumbia, his first stop. I want to share my reaction to those events as well.
Robyn Zamorski, our speech teacher at G.W. Carver, lived in India for a short period of time. She also currently teaches Yoga at a local fitness club. So it was very fitting to have her teach some of our students some Yoga poses to go along with the India project. But what started out as purely a chance to collaborate with our Physical Education Teacher, Pam Palmer, and Robyn, ended up being one of the most powerful things I’ve ever seen since I’ve been in education. While I was there only to take pictures and create a Voicethread about the project, I walked away amazed. It started with a class of third graders running into the gym with high energy. I thought to myself, “Well, this will last about 10 minutes..maybe 15 if we are lucky.” I was so wrong. As Robyn lead them through the poses, and the Sanskrit names for them, their energy dropped, and they loved it! I had started running around taking pictures, but quickly changed to moving slowly and deliberately around the room so not to disturb this incredible energy in the room. After watching that lesson, which lasted the whole 30 minutes (and the kids wanted to do it again), I was floored. In the age of stimulation, I’ve always thought we need to keep our students “busy.” I still believe that. But now I understand that kids need a chance to relax and get focused too. I share the VoiceThread below with you….put please understand…it only captures a small fraction of what went on in the gym that day.
With this Trek2India project, Pam Elgin and I had spent lots of time learning about the culture as we prepared the Trek2India Wiki that would be used as the hub of communication between our Superintendent, as he traveled, and our students and teachers here. Pam and I learned about the people, the culture, and some of the history behind India’s democracy. When I first received the news about the events in Mumbia, I was sitting in my car getting ready to pick up some of the food for Thanksgiving dinner the next day. I was floored. Heartbroken. Relieved. I was thankful our Superintendent had not left yet (he was scheduled to leave the day after Thanksgiving). His first schedule hotel stop was the Taj, was one of the hotels affected. But I was also deeply, deeply saddened for the Indian people. News about other countries does not usually affect me that much. I might feel a short sadness when reading an article. I might thinkabout war and peace in a broad sense. But hearing this story filled me with a deep, deep sadness. The more I thought about my reaction, the more I realized it was because I felt a tie, so to say, with the people. After spending so much time learning about them, and after almost having the chance to make connections with some of the schools in India, I felt extremely sad to watch their city in flames. I share this because I came to realize the power of making connections with other cultures on a personal level. I’ve known the power on an intellectual level, but never felt the power so strongly on the personal side. The idea I came to understand was that the more our students have the opportunity to learn about other cultures, connect with them, and empathize with their struggles, the more peace we will have in our world.