I was very excited to finally be involved with developmental initiatives that worked directly with projects pertaining to specific communities. At McGill, learning all the theoretical aspects to development helped build my passion for this field. With Chudar, I have had to opportunity to observe and learn directly by participating in projects, which has served as a huge stepping-stone for my interests.
One of my first tasks has been to do thorough research on the middle school curriculum in Tamil Nadu to understand the way children are taught in schools. This task was extensive, however at the same time it was still part of my comfort zone as I was working directly from my own laptop from a desk. However, when it came time to implement tutor trainings for the new centres opening in June, I realised the discrepancy between our expectations and the tutors’ levels of knowledge in terms of English grammar and math concepts. This was one of the first eye openers in terms of realising that there is always an “ideal plan” for projects and a reality, whereby adjustments need to be made in order to make the plans useful for a specific community.
Therefore, with the help of my supervisor, I had to go back and re-work on the research I had done to suit the levels of the tutors in order to put together training programs that would be helpful for them and the centres. Luckily, I was working with the English compartment of the curriculum so I had the ability to be involved with the process of putting the program together as well. I even dipped my toes into interacting with the tutors myself and part taking in activities with them.
Overall, this past month has been a platform where I have learned to set expectations and then adjust my actions and thinking to reflect reality. In the end, after we make changes and look into new perspectives, the outcome turns out to become a great learning opportunity. I am very excited to continue my tasks for the Eureka Project, and hopefully experience more challenges so that I can make the most of my time in Chennai with Chudar.