Madam Ji- Kenzie Morris
My favorite lesson I’ve taught thus far is Music. It was so rewarding watching the children’s eyes fill with amazement when I played music from my portable speaker. I loved watching them do their silly dances and then teaching them the “Hokey Pokey.” We finished our lesson by a kazoo-ing “Twinkle Little Star.” And I’m pretty sure all the other teachers now hate me because the kids will never put down their kazoos again.
These last few days have given me a taste of what it takes to be a teacher. It takes incredible patience to stay calm when your whole class asks to go to the bathroom because your lesson isn’t as engaging as what’s going on outside. It takes incredible energy to teach for six hours in 85 degree weather. It takes incredible love to show up to class excited, and ready to serve.
In India, teachers are considered to be equal to God. The kids greet us every morning by calling the girls “Madam Ji” —Ji meaning a sign of respect. Seeing the respect the kids have for us and their teachers makes me realize what a responsibility it is to lead others and how it should not be taken lightly.
Checking into my inner “yogi” while in India, I’ve been reflecting on a quotation: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” I’ve learned that we all have the capacity to be leaders, even the little children we teach. We all have the ability to love and help others grow.
Creativity isn’t something that is strongly celebrated in India, but still these kids challenge me to be more creative, more vulnerable, and more silly. And I love them for it.
Though our American snack rations are running low, I am beyond grateful to have this experience of exploring a new culture and relearning some of the most important things in life.