First Day of School

I was so excited all day to share about the first day of classes and when I finally sat down, all I wanted to do was sleep. Typical. I think more than needing sleep, I had simply tapped out my ability to think and express for the day. I switched over to reading my book and woke up with it still next to me. I guess I needed the shut eye after all.

Nevertheless it was an important day so I will try to share a little bit. Yesterday was the first day of the school year. Being the nerd that I am, I was kind of bouncing off the walls in the morning with excitement. Seeing all the children dressed in their school uniforms, the excited chatter in the halls, and being able to start teaching my regular classes was all so thrilling. My morning started with 8th standard. It was a little hard being the first period of the first day, but they did pull it together and we were able to cover some ground. Honestly, more than I thought considering. Somehow UKG was also hanging out in the dinning hall where we have class and I was worried about them causing disruptions, but as soon as we started they all just stopped everything and stared. I wish I had been able to take a picture at that moment because they were just frozen mid activities with their jaws to the floor in awe of dance class. It was adorable.

The hardest part about my day I think was actually my breaks. I was so sweaty and nasty that I just wanted to keep going with the classes. Plus emotionally you get revved up and then you have to stop and build up all over again for the next class. I mean it’s fine because that is what I am here to do, but I guess all the adrenalin of the first school day made me want to keep going non stop.

After a little break, sorting out attendance taking, and talking with some of the teachers, it was time to head back…UKG was up next! They were the absolute highlight of the day. They were so well behaved and following the best they could with their fullest attention. It felt extra special since all of them are new students and this was their very first dance class. Somehow with their limited English, they all still ran up saying Dance Master, Dance Master! It is just too much in the way of cuteness. They were such a joy last time I was here, but I still marvel at how truly excited they are to have a movement class. Since they are so small and new to English, Kala (their teacher) was amazing at helping me translate. I tried to focus on them learning the rules of dance class – No talking when teacher is talking, when I say feet together everyone is ready in their lines, and how to rotate lines. We also tried to incorporate the skill of self control that the school has been working for the last week. The other important thing for this age group here is that we work on relating a movement with an English word so they can build their vocabulary. Again, Kala was really helpful in this regard to translate a word for meaning and then we would all do a movement and repeat several times in English. They were just such a joy trying to do the very best they could with every step.

I also had 1st standard which went fairly similarly except that I didn’t have the awesomeness of Kala to assist me. I think it ended well though and we covered a lot of ground. In contrast, I also quite enjoyed 5th Standard. They had also grown in their ability to execute the movements but it was especially wonderful because they were able to answer questions in a more sophisticated way. We had to review rules and the basics, but I gave them the very open ended question of what they remember learning from dance class before (since they have been on break for a couple of months now). They answered a few different things, but I was impressed that most of them were concepts and not just steps. Punctuality was a big one, respect the teacher and each other, come on time, and the best was “be a mango.” This comes from an analogy that they want to be like an ever growing mango always changing and getting better everyday vs. a rock that is stagnant and never changes. There was just something about the excitement in the answer as this little girl yells “BE A MANGO!” that made me smile. I was impressed and happy to see that these concepts were memorable and sticking with them especially after giving them such a general question. (Which I did on purpose because I know it is super difficult for them and wanted to see what they would say)

All in all, it was a great start to the week and school year and I was amped for LDT. I think there are no bad days as long as we can turn everything into a life lesson for the kids. The start of Life Dance was definitely that. I understand because it was their first day adjusting to new schedules and the older students often have extra chores to finish before they can come to dance, but most of them arrived late. As promised last week, for every minute late, they had to do 10 push ups. Kind of harsh, but I am hoping it convinces them to not be late again since I don’t want to start having to kick people out for tardiness. I could tell they had a dose of adrenalin from the first day too and with people trickling in, it took a few extra moments for us all to get on the same page. Once they were able to focus though, WOW! I was so impressed. Their warm up had so much energy and was so much cleaner then I have ever seen – it looked like choreography. We did a combination of things they know where I had some of the students lead, and then I led for the new exercises we started on Friday. Our discussion has been related to how we can apply skills we already know in new ways/taking them to the next level. I have tried to incorporate that into the new warm up exercises so that they can see there is always so much more room to grow, but that they can tackle it by progressing steps piece by piece. Even when they have a rocky start, I am so excited to see them dance and happy to see they are all enjoying it. Honestly, it makes my heart feel like it can explode with happiness.

Thanks to Rosie & Sara for catching some shots for me!!!

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