Earlier today, an Indus student named Karthik approached me, looking absolutely frantic, and asked if I could do a favor for him. Now this is my second time being asked to do a favor for someone at Indus, and the last one ended up with me being asked to give a surprise impromptu benediction, so I was a little wary. But, since he was the first student I met at Indus, and one of the most personable, I decided to see what it was all about. He asked me to write a quick article for the school newspaper explaining two things: what Think Global School is, and how I’ve settled in as a teacher-guest.
“What do you do?” It’s one of those classic questions always asked to me. The answers vary, but almost inevitably I find myself explaining my job and all the things that I do in elaborate detail to someone who is too eager to ask the next question before I even finish my response to the previous one.
At first I was thrilled. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to talk about the coolest job in the world? I get to travel to three different countries each year, teach English skills using texts from that region, implement a virtually paperless classroom, interact with the coolest kids ever, and yes, they do give me a macbook, ipad, and iphone…
But after a while, I became exhausted of repeatedly answering the question. In fact, I have answered this question so many times, that it is virtually the only conversation that I can have in perfect Spanish!
After a while I attempted to avoid the question by simply stating, “I’m a teacher.” But always, this would lead to further questions:
“Where is your school?”
“We move to two different countries each year.”
“That’s awesome! … Why do you move?”
“We travel to make the learning experiences come alive. We believe that by traveling, and using resources from those cultures, in conjunction with trips associated with our content, the learning becomes about much more than the classroom. The trips give the content purpose and grounding in the real world. It allows us to prove that learning is not for the sake of school, but for the sake of working towards a better world.”
“Cool… where do the kids stay?”
“Depends. Sometimes they stay in a hotel, like we did in Buenos Aires, sometimes in dorms, like in Boston, but this year we have been lucky enough to stay on a boarding school campus.”
“Where do you have classes?”
“Depends. In Argentina we rented the top floor of a language school, and in Boston we rented out old office space.”
“What about photocopiers and grades and things?”
“I usually don’t need them, most of the work we do is online through a website called SPOT.
At this point I have been cornered. I have been monopolized. I have been ousted from the greater conversation. I feel exiled and secluded, doomed to continue answering questions from one interested
person while the group’s conversation has shifted.
I politely excuse myself to go to the bathroom.
Although I may pretend to be bored of talking about my school, in reality, if you can’t tell from the length of this article, I still love talking about my school. It has been one of the best decisions of my career, and a life changing opportunity. So please, come ask me about my job, ask me about my classes, ask me about my students or just check out SPOT. You can like, comment, and even share on facebook. Come talk to us, we love to share.
Karthik’s second question, “how do you like it here?” is the question everyone wants to know. What better way to answer this question than by providing my new family at Indus with the same responses that I gave my family back home… or in Korea.
From my brother, who just started teaching English in Korea!
From my dad, who apparently thinks that when you send an e-mail from your iphone, you are allowed to write it as if it were a text.
And of course, my mom, who is all business.
It seems from the tone of my e-mails and facebook messages that I do like it here. I can’t speak for all staff or students, but I do get the feeling that everyone is enjoying sports, structure, new friends, and sense of calm that we get from being out in the country. We’ve had an amazing start and I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring.