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kavi pandian, germany, 2019-2020

Fulbright Year: 2019-20
Country: Germany
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistant
UGA Undergraduate Majors: Economics and Sociology
Graduation Date: Spring 2019
Hometown: Tucker, Georgia

In his lifelong pursuit of lernfreude, the love of learning, Kavi Pandian also found he had a love of teaching and a strong belief in the delivery of equitable, quality education for everyone.

Kavi graduated in May with degrees in sociology and economics, and his Fulbright year will find him in Nuremberg, Germany, where he’ll teach English. He was one of 20 Germany ETAs (out of a pool of 140 candidates) to receive a Diversity Program placement, and he’ll be assigned to a school with significant numbers of students with minority or refugee backgrounds.

During his time at UGA, Kavi has utilized nontraditional methods while teaching and tutoring others and says he’ll spend his time in Germany polishing those skills.

Kavi’s appreciation for learning and teaching has found him interning with D.C. Public Schools, and schools in Italy and South Africa, but it’s clear his most pivotal moments as an instructor have unfolded in the shadow of UGA.

He served as vice president of education for Refugee Outreach @ UGA and is the co-founder (with Manasa Kadiyala) and head tutor for Athens Prison Tutorial, established in 2016 with the intent of serving the interests of the incarcerated in Athens-Clarke County through consistent educational programming, including GED tutoring, SAT/ACT preparation, and other educational pursuits to help students in prison reach their future goals.

Kavi said that while he serves as the teacher, he has also learned a lot as part of Athens Prison Tutorial.

“I have learned how to quickly assess the abilities of students with widely varying competency levels and tailor lessons accordingly,” he says. “To keep students attentive and coming to class, I emphasize their strengths and interests while simultaneously finding ways to work on their shortcomings. This delicate balancing act allows students to feel confident and motivated while also ensuring constant growth in areas that need work.”

While in Bayern, Kavi hopes to continue volunteering and working with prisoners. “I would learn a great deal,” he says, “from volunteering in a prison system focused on resocialization and rehabilitation – a far cry from the U.S. system, with its focus on punishment and retribution.”

At the conclusion of his Fulbright experience, Kavi plans to enter a master’s program in education. He then plans to work in public education, first as a teacher and eventually as an administrator and policymaker.

“My dream is to see the promise of equitable, quality public education for all students and families come true,” he says.