Friday, 31 May 2013

DONE!

With almost 100 hours of fast-paced, activity-based instruction smooshed into three weeks!  With packing and repacking a random collection of left-over classroom supplies under the supervision of a security guard (because that’s how Infosys does things).  With grading, quantitatively and qualitatively evaluating 18 students with long, personalized narratives!
Final class photo
The final days of camp certainly weren’t easy but it wrapped up to be an incredibly rewarding experience.  We were able to covertly use the fountains to test our solar powered boats, even though it had to be done with the highest degree of sneakiness because it wasn’t allowed on campus, especially considering the important guests visiting Infosys this week.  Since my students are typically completely inept at discretion, I was worried but taking them in small groups of three worked out well.  During the last couple of days, all the students wanted me to fill out their “slam books” which ask all sorts of random questions from “your sunsign”, “best friends”, “I dream of…” (Jeanie?) and “your latest crush”.  In addition to filling out this for all my students, random students who I had never talked to before wanted me to fill out their books.  And if that wasn’t enough information, I’d get additional requests for “autographs” in their normal notebooks and of course, an infinite amount of “snaps” (photos).  So my brilliant attempts to plan some quiet activities so I could make progress on the evaluations quickly got devoured but I’m sure these kids will treasure these books for years to come.  I told them that I should be the one asking them for autographs because they’ll probably accomplish more than I ever will.  But they insisted.
On the final day, I received so many thank you cards, all homemade and incredibly creative.  I got pop-up cards, origami roses, a paper lantern and several nice long letters about how I changed their lives- one of my favorites was "My days at Engineering with you were filled to the brim with fun learning like cheese in stuffed-crust pizza", "Never has physics been so much fun.  Thank you for making it seem like a game", "The fun days we spent together will never be forgotten.  I hope to meet you again and learn more from you even after this session ends.".  I met with each student individually to share some of my observations and give them a certificate of completion and it was amazing to hear what some of them had to say.  None of my students want to leave and almost all my girls were teary when they were talking to me.  They said how much they loved being pushed academically, engaged in activities and building projects and they dreaded going back to their normal classrooms where they were bored and forced to memorize meaningless-ish things. 
It was fun to see how proud they were to show off the things they built during the academic fair and they loved the video slideshow I put together for the final day.  My class was always one of the last to leave for meals and activities because they never wanted to stop what they were doing.  Yesterday was no different- it took Sid and I 45 minutes to push them out of the door back to the dorms to pack with their RAs.  And at dinner and talent show, they just clumped around me wherever I walked.  I’m looking forward to escaping into anonymity in Thailand because living up to celebrity status at nerd camp is exhausting!
Saturday morning, I received a last minute knock on my door that we’re supposed to wait in reception to greet the parents so that’s where I am now… I have yet to meet a parent (most of my kids took off on a huge bus to Bangalore at 5 AM this morning).  I’m meeting up with Vivek this afternoon for a to-be-determined adventure but I’m looking forward to fitting in something fun during my final full day in India.


Not the prettiest thank you that I recieved but the only one I could take a picture of and it made me laugh.  The cartoon me is saying "x and y component!!" which happened a lot.