I’m planning on going to India this Thursday night (actually Friday morning) for a month. Originally, I’d wanted to leave two weeks ago, but the monsoon was delayed about a month in central India. As a result, the weather two weeks ago was still around 110-115°F, so I delayed my departure. The temperature high in Bijawar is now around 95°F, which is much more bearable. I had to go shopping for a bunch of new clothes that are appropriate to wear in the Bijawar summer – my normal uniform of strappy tank tops and shorts would be completely unacceptable in the village, and jeans and long-sleeved shirts would just be uncomfortable. It was something of a challenge to find t-shirts with a neckline high enough to not show off too much skin, but eventually, I managed (hint: check Target).

We’d originally wanted to start training teachers at the beginning of July, but it’s been a struggle to get this program off the ground. Every time we think we’ve solved a problem, another one (usually related) pops up. To make a long story short, we don’t currently have a teacher to work with. We thought we’d identified someone, but it turns out that he’s gotten another job and most likely won’t be working at the Boys’ HS School this year; training him, therefore, would be a waste of a time. Currently, we’re trying to find another teacher – we have a couple of options, but we’ll see if any of them pan out.

The fundamental problem we’re running into is that the guest teachers who tend to be most interested in this sort of extra training and work serve at the mercy of the school and the government. Their appointments only last one year, and the list of appointments for this school year (which started July 1) comes out around July 15th (maybe even  later – no one knows), which means that the teacher roster is still in flux. Finding a guest teacher who has time and is interested in undergoing computer training, then teaching students is going to be a challenge, especially if I can’t really begin until the 15th.

I might also work with one of the teachers we trained last winter and use her as a TA to help out with the class.

If nothing comes through, I’m considering a new model. I’d work with a couple of students, instead of teachers, and train them intensively for a week or two. After that, they would teach other students the things that they’ve learned, while I continue to work with them on new material. I have yet to work out the details on this plan, but it might work. An adult would have to supervise the students, though, especially after I leave.

We’re also trying to remedy the non-availability of teachers with technology. We’re trying to find ways to communicate with the students and teachers at the school, including VoIP (Yahoo, Skype,  and MagicJack, among others).

Either way, the program is getting started significantly later than I’d hoped, but so it goes.

The good news (finally!) is that the principal seems to be completely on board with our plans and is just as frustrated as we are with all of the problems that we’ve been experiencing. Having him as an ally is making things much easier.