The experience in southern India was most meaningful because of the personal contacts we made at CESCI, my home stay and my interaction with teachers at the TVS Laksmi School. These experiences were more than casual tourists to another culture have; the people I met shared their lives and visions making their stories come to life.
At CESCI, the staff demonstrated a commitment to an idea (and ideals) that were helping to make a difference in people’s lives. Their activities and support for NGOs from around India showed how individuals working for a common goal can help people make changes in others’ lives.
During my home stay, I saw a parent that was working to provide the necessities of life for the family. This parent worked at her job (teaching), but also volunteered her “extra” time to work with needy children in her neighborhood. In addition, she cared for her elderly mother who lived at her home. The schedule and service to others were inspiring to me.
Finally, my school time with Social Studies teachers was a great deal of fun. Talking about teaching used in my classroom and discussing and then observing their methodologies was very interesting. When I asked, “What I should teach about India?” many ideas were presented. These notes were helpful to me when I planned my teaching unit on India at my school.
These personal contacts made the trip the most meaningful. They also made the trip different from my earlier trip to India. I learned a great deal from this experience and the trip will have a lasting impact on my teaching of India.
Scott teaches world history at Wausau East High School in Wisconsin