Friday, September 9, 2011

School Update

I thought I had done a pretty good job at blogging since being back. Looking through my recent posts however, the only one that has given any sort of update about life in India is the toad post. Here's an attempt to catch up:

The Overview:
I have been back in the full swing of school for 6 weeks now. The first week back was overwhelming to say the least, but since then has felt good and natural. I'm living in the same house, but with one less roommate. Lauren ended her contract early to go back to Wisconsin; Emily is here for the remainder of this year.

My job has changed slightly. Last spring I was informed that I would be promoted to the Head of the Department for this academic year. While it is nice to have a slightly larger pay check, the real benefit is that I have felt increased responsibility to make the art program as strong as possible. This promotion came with a cost, however - my previous HOD (Paul) returned to Colorado. He was a wonderful colleague and is dearly missed. In his place, we have two new art teachers. It is exciting to see the department grow! It was difficult to manage two new staff members alongside setting up a new art room and figuring out the curricula for new courses. With so many new changes, it took a few weeks for me to feel settled. Six weeks in, I can say with confidence that I love my job - the students and courses I'm teaching couldn't be any better.

My wonderful classroom.

My classroom in action.

The new art room!

The new art room from the outside (Media Center)

The old art room has turned into an audio visual/
drawing studio. 

Some Events:
Advisor Night: My stellar advisor group from last year has left. This year I will be advising a group of Grade 9 students. This is one of the grades I know the least and they are a world of difference in maturity from my previous group. I'm slowly getting to know them and steadily winning them over with games and food (truly the way to any 14-year old's heart).

The perk of advising Grade 9 is that Emily is also an advisor for this class. We hosted a joint Advisor Night. We made them dinner (yep, all 21 of them) and played games. I made a group of boys nearly hate me after stumping them with a riddle game. It took them over an hour to solve it and they lost their voices in the process.

The scene out the front door.

The boys I would eventually drive mad.

The tamer crew playing bananagrams.

Independence Day:
We celebrated Indian Independence Day with a ceremony and an exhibit on Indian textiles. I got to take my classes around to see the exhibit - who knew that carding wool, weaving, and block printing could be so interesting to teenagers?

Trying to catch rain drops.

Jai Hind!

The classic roommate shot.

The ceremony.

Two of my students from Afghanistan.

The celebrations after the ceremony.

Marigolds galore.

Evidence of a soggy day.

Loom on display.

Learning about spinning.

Block-printing demo.

Block-printing examples.

Wood blocks.

I've been certified in Wilderness First Aid since I was 17, so it seemed natural to renew my certification - especially when the course was free! I spent an entire weekend bandaging wounds, role-playing, and basically saving lives. Exhausting, but fun.

Mama Llama Trauma scenario.
Photo cred: Shadab

Focused spinal assessments.
Photo cred: Shadab

I hit myself in the leg with an ax while chopping wood.
(I made sure Emily took notes - this is a plausible
situation for us.)
Photo cred: Shadab

Close-up of the blood and guts (and sharpie marker).
Photo cred: Shadab

Unfortunately, I also fell while getting axed. (I
actually got a little queasy during this - it brought back
too many memories of accidents like this.)
Photo cred: Shadab

Proud Shadab with her CPR dummy.
Photo cred: Shadab

The whole crew.
Photo cred: Jay

Who knew that a 7-person emergency
beam lift could be so fun?
Photo cred: Jay

Many casualities. This one was the classic trying-to-hang-
a-bear-rope-and-hit-my-friend-in-the-head scenario.
Photo cred: Jay

Jay had a bad day - a broken arm and a broken leg!
Photo cred: Jay

Happy to have class outside!
Photo cred: Emily

After three years of saying "maybe I'll run it next year," I finally ran the annual school cross-country race with the students. The course is a 3.6 km figure-eight loop (chukkar) around the very top of the ridge. It's about 7,500ft in elevation, but relatively flat by Himalayan standards. I ran despite a lingering sickness and surprisingly cut two minutes off my goal time (which was admittedly pretty arbitrary to begin with). I placed somewhere around #15 (out of 60?) overall and tied for 1st place among the female staff runners (there were maybe 7 of us?). Not too shabby.

The crowd of students at Kellogg.

Pink and sweaty, but accomplished!

Gearing up for the final race. 

And they're off!
Stay tuned for more. I'm hoping to post about monsoon sometime soon.

No comments: