The last part of my internship was spent in Koovathur assisting teachers, from the seventeenth until the twenty-seventh. Because the headmaster and a teacher were moving to Vembakkam, the time tables were not yet created resulting in a lot of confusion and chaos that first week. Basically my role that week was to assist the teachers in teaching any class which did not have a teacher, and I helped teach third through fifth standard that week teaching basic English phrases that they would encounter. I also taught them classroom instructions teachers would use and incorporated them into activities.
It was a very on the spot lesson since I was not given a specific class to teach and specific things to teach. The second week was far more organized and was able to help the teachers with clarifying any doubts they had about specific grammar or vocabulary in English and setting up the library. The teachers in Koovathur made a concentrated effort to use English in their classroom by using English instructions and coming to me and the other interns with questions they had. The library has also been set up and split into four levels, with level 1 being the beginner and level 4 being advanced. However, judging by the level of the student’s English they will be mainly using Level 1 and Level 2 books. Since I was able to work with the 4th and 5th standards, I noticed that many of the students lacked basic phonics and spelling skills, they also did not capitalize the proper nouns and the beginning of sentences. The younger students were able to pick up some English phrases but we were unable to spend a lot of time with LKG and UKG students speaking to them in English. In regards to Koovathur and the use of Genki, the biggest issues is the insufficient current that would help power the computers which use the program. It is still a huge issue and since a lot of the materials used to help teach English is dependent on these computers fixing this electricity issue is of utmost importance.
This electricity issue is something that has been plaguing the entire state, with daily power cuts lasting two hours in the city and even up to 10 hours in villages. Along with the minimal rain, any electricity there is left is directed towards farming. This lack of electricity is not just concentrated to the koovathur area, but to fix it would require us going to the state government. However, knowing the corruption present in Indian politics it would not be easy. So we decided to go to the local electricity board in Koovathur to try and fix the problem. After a couple hours of arguing with the local officials and determination, we were able to get electricity at the school. Unfortunately, when we returned a week later we learned that it was cut again after only working for a couple of days.
It made me realize the importance of long-term solutions, while what the other interns and I did helped it did not fix the problem for the long run. The electricity not running at the proper voltage not only affects the school but the entire community, from irrigation to simple cooking the people have to go through difficulties every day. Outside intervention will not fix the problem but change has to come from within. Many people, including myself, have given up on the Indian political system. However, that thinking doesn’t change the status quo and instead further perpetuates it.