Not bothered by simple mistakes

I can't believe that in just 19 days our group will be traveling toIndia for the first time together! The trip seems especially surreal to me because I have made it countless times before. I know the patterns of customs, the roar of the 747 as it taxis at night, every nook and cranny of Heathrow's Terminal 5, and that overwhelming smell that hits every traveler as he or she steps off the plane Chattrapati Shivaji Airport. However, this time will be different because I won't be going through these rituals with my family. I won't be whisked through the airports to my grandparent's waiting car, or greeted by a banquet specially for me in a home that I have spent months in. This time I'll be going with a group of students I still have much to learn about, who all have the same desire as me to see India through a lens that they have not yet become accustomed to. This time there will no longer be an invisible barrier between me and the millions of impoverished people I have turned away from. As we begin our preparations, I think that the Ted talk we watched was the most intriguing to me because it reminded me of the stimulating classroom experiences I had as a child. I have always been a strong proponent of education, and I truly believe that providing youth with engaging, productive classroom experiences is one the most valuable tools we have for breaking the cycle of poverty. I think that Srini was a good example of the teachers that communities like Dharavi need because he really tried to cultivate a love for learning rather than simply forcing children to learn skills that may not feel relevant to them. When I was younger, I remember always appreciating the teachers who let us do fun projects rather than those who endlessly drilled us with workbooks. In fourth grade, we did a unit on Egypt. Instead of just teaching us the material through a textbook, our teacher turned our entire classroom into a pharaoh's tomb. We mummified chickens and created sarcophagi for them. We wrote in hieroglyphics all over the walls. We created jewelry and clothes and at the end of a few weeks enacted a proper burial for "mummies". The greatest thing about that unit is that I still remember every detail of the creations we made and the important facts about Egyptian lives that we learned. Srini's chalkboard creations and word kites remind me of the moment when I realized that learning could be genuinely fun. I hope that when we go to India, I will have the opportunity to work with teachers like him, who are not bothered by simple mistakes that the kids might make but simply want to see their eyes light up and a smile burst across their face when they enter the classroom at the beginning of the day, eager to absorb whatever awaits them. --Reva