Back to Reality !!!
It has been almost a month since I last posted a blog here. I had returned back to Pakistan after spending 5 weeks at UMASS and now had to carry on with the day to day routine of an educator at BUITEMS. Before leaving for Pakistan everyone had made the usual promises of staying in touch and transferring what was learnt back to our classrooms.
Coming back to work I was met by remarks” did you enjoy your trip, why are you looking so weak and when will you teach what you have learnt????”
I had learnt a lot about myself, about the program and the people involved and of course the topics they had covered. Becky and her team of leaders and mentors: Ish, Ken, Olivia, Kelsey, Deepika, Mike 2.0 and Pato (Civic staff) were warm and welcoming to everyone from day one. To do what Becky does on a day to day basis you need strength, patience, understanding, respect and never to accept bull shit. I see myself as a strong person but I do not think I could do what Becky does and still have a smile on my face or any energy to motivate people to get out of their shells and shake it. Ish, Ken, Pato I enjoyed their company and had conversations ranging from Gay rights to religion and for me it was so refreshing to talk about such issues and to see how far opinions have changed from when I was there age to now. Also to talk to Deepika, Ish and Ken about growing up as a minority in the US revealed little differences to my experience as a UK minority. The freedom to ask questions and to express your thoughts was something I missed about the US and UK, that is not easily encouraged back in Pakistan.
Pato an Argentinian was part of the CIVIC Program is a political scientist, a patriot and a agriculturist, (he may argue about it, but this is what I thought of him). I found he loved his country and really wanted to make a difference there. he is such a learned individual that you need to read up in order to even attempt an intelligent conversation. Its people like him that makes you want to take an interest in national and world affairs.
Deepika, Olivia and Kelsey, my girls they are amazing and Julie the White walker is a free spirit who takes no nonsense from anyone. The girls were full of energy and made sure everyone was ok having fun. I am so envious of them to be at such a young age and be part of a program where you make a difference in peoples lives. They get to influence opinions, to change perceptions and to instill confidence in our girls. This goes for Ish, Ken and Mike that you get to change the directions of the lives of my students. You get to meet people of all ages, nationalities from all walks of life. Olivia who wants to I think be a journalist should could be such a bad ass international correspondent, or Deepika who wants to work in the State Department. This program has given these young people to really change lives and I hope they realize and appreciate the impact they are making and how jealous I am of them right now.
Becky & Jim
Both of them have set the bar high in terms of how to engage students in a class. Becky your energy, smile and how you get us involved is something I want to try and emulate. I have found that in general Americans are louder and more energetic compared to the British and that goes for me too. I now want to try and be more energetic and louder in such away that engages the student. The techniques and the way we discussed case studies was what I really needed and expecting from this trip. I actually can not wait to start planning for the new semester.
Jim to me is like the GURU of case study writing, not sure if anyone else has said that to him. An MBA from Harvard and extensive years teaching exclusively using case studies made him the best guy to teach us how to write a case. Btw I am still working on mine, and it seriously needs a lot of beef in it!!! But am hopeful that I will be able to finish it and make my Guru proud of me. He was great in teaching us Capsim, by throwing us in the deep end of a swimming pool with only armbands to help you stay afloat. Zia was a born natural and I was still struggling till the end. One day I will beat Erie.
Ken & Blogging
A great tool to express ones thoughts and to share with the world what you want to say. Ken showed us how to blog and what we should expect from ourselves when we write. He encouraged us to be open and honest and I know he has done great work with our students in providing them a safe environment to be open and honest about their feelings and experiences.
And Now at this Moment???
I am typing and still not completely sure how to move forward with this new semester. The intentions are good and a lot work is to be done, (I still have to supervise two case studies OMG!!!!). More importantly I want to make the people who fought and encouraged me every step of the way in getting into the program proud of me and not to feel their efforts have been in vain. I want to give back to the students and colleagues that what we have learnt can be applied here in our own classrooms. In the end I want to show what I am capable off.