Help me walk the talk!

Have I done anything at all?

The advent of social media gave all of us a platform to voice our opinions on a public domain. I still remember the days when I debated with my friends on Orkut’s scrapbook and later Google Buzz, before moving to Facebook and Twitter. Long story short, I have had various opinions on a variety of subjects over the last 15 years of my life on social media. Have I done anything about it?

Sure, I have done the occasional donation to flood relief funds, or other social causes. I was part of IIT Madras’s National Service Scheme. Have filed a few RTIs. Even volunteered at a public kitchen once. However, as I reflect on this, I realise that it’s an extremely short list of activities. I want to do more. Can I?

As a person with a regular employment, I work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (or more depending on the situation), 52 weeks a year. I do enjoy my weekends. For me to contribute in the way of time and money, I should forgo some of my free time, and a part of my income. How willing am I to do that?

What’s my plan?

I count teaching as my only strength. I love it, and can’t wait for that year in the future when I transition to the role of an educator. In the meantime, I want to use it to help students. However, I need your advice.

  1. There’s a local college here (Arts degree college) which has a computer lab, but no one to teach. What can I teach undergraduate students who have had no prior experience working extensively with a personal computer? Excel?
  2. Several schools (government and private), both Bengali medium and English medium. What can I do to inspire kids in school to aim higher? Can I teach them something?

There’s another question that nags me. Should I teach everyone in the class or identify the brightest and then put maximum effort for them? Adding to the dilemma? COVID-19. Schools and colleges are shut. Very few students have access to mobiles and stable internet connection. However, waiting for COVID to taper off seems to me like waiting for Godot. There’s a lack of entrepreneurial spirit in me, because I’m an extremely risk averse individual.

Walk the talk

So here’s my plan.

  1. Wait for schools and colleges to reopen (by the looks of it, may open sometime in September).
  2. During the wait, identify what I want to do - pick either the college or a few schools. Focus is key.
  3. Discuss with likeminded individuals to figure out a lesson plan. What’s the most useful skills that a college graduate should have, irrespective of their degrees or subjects?
  4. Implement it.

I’ll post updates on my blog as soon as I have something concrete to share. For now, I just hope I follow through, and learn to walk the talk. Wish me luck!

Arun Sudarsan
Arun Sudarsan
Economist and Policy Researcher

Arun is an Economist, passionate about Open Data and its potential to increase state transparency and accountability. Loves teaching. Previously worked at NITI Aayog. To subscribe to this blog’s mailing list, please enter your details here. Check your spam folder if you are missing updates. Thanks for subscribing!

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