Well, I didn’t expect to come to India and be nithered (good Yorkshire word, that). But despite my thick jeans, woolly socks and winter cardigan, I’m sitting tucked up under a blanket and my fingers are almost too numb to type.
I’ve stayed home today, as I have lots of preparation to do. I’ve prepared a workshop for tomorrow on assessment for learning, looking at different types of assessment and how they can inform teaching strategies. I’ve prepared a rubric-writing exercise – something I suspect will be new to the teachers I’m going to be presenting it to. This school is run by unqualified teachers – educated people who have stepped up to the plate to offer schooling to children who wouldn’t otherwise get any, and they are doing a sterling job. I can’t imagine how hard they work, and I have nothing but admiration for them. But without having had any teacher training they are having to work twice as hard, and are sometimes afflicted by self-doubt as they wonder if there are better ways they could be doing things. Hopefully tomorrow’s session will show them how they can collect assessment data that will help them to plan future learning. Then for Monday’s workshop I’ve listed as many fun plenaries as I could think of, plus a lot more I found on the Internet, and I hope to show them how a good plenary session at the end of a lesson can consolidate learning and be a useful tool for formative assessment.
Now I’m working on a talk which I’ve been asked to give to a women’s group on Friday about the dangers of pornography (I certainly am not going to be bored from lack of variety on this trip). Now that sociological and neurological studies have shown so many serious effects from pornography use – everything from erectile dysfunction and relationship breakdown to brain damage – it’s a wonder that governments aren’t taking it as seriously as they take drug abuse. Certainly the Christian Wives of Addicts group with whom I’ve had contact could tell you that it’s not just harmless fun, when many of them have seen their lives and families destroyed by their husbands’ addictions. I’m told it’s a growing problem here, even among women. I will be pointing these ladies to the only source that can truly satisfy our inner thirst – Jesus, the inner spring of living water. I would really appreciate prayers as I tackle a very sensitive subject in a culture that is less used than ours to airing such topics in public.
I’ve resumed writing this at bedtime after a busy second half of the day. I was privileged this afternoon to hear one of the young ladies in the home tell her story, and afterwards to sit with S and E and help to brainstorm what kind of support might help her as she works her way through the traumas of the past and builds a brighter future. I have grown to love these beautiful girls, and I long to see them make a resounding success of their lives. It would be impossible to underestimate the courage and dignity with which they have faced what life has thrown at them so far. Whether they realise it yet or not, they are growing into strong women.
Tonight we left the girls in the care of a lady who comes once a week to give them lessons, and went off to the church Bible study. It was a challenging reminder that when we allow things other than Jesus to rule in our lives, they draw us away from celebrating and worshipping Him and make life hard work. But when we give Him His place of Lordship in our lives, He gives us the spiritual abilities to build one another up and work for the good of each other.
We came home to a delicious supper, during which I was again regaled with a hilarious story in “Hindglish” with melodramatic hand gestures by my little friend while the other girls collapsed in hysterics around us, apparently at her embellishments of the story, which I couldn’t follow as they were in Hindi. The story started out as Beauty and the Beef but somewhere around halfway through she finally grasped what everyone was trying to tell her, and the Beef morphed into the Beast.
I am thankful to report that I continue to be in excellent health, sleeping very well and not even troubled by the asthma that plagued me last time.