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These superheroes do not wear capes but their acts are nothing short of astonishing… and yes, they save lives.

It’s that special time of year again, when ScooNews felicitates the real braves of education. ScooNews takes pride and pleasure in bringing the wonderful mission of these Teacher Warriors to the forefront.

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It’s that special time of year again, when ScooNews felicitates the real braves of education. The ScooNews Teacher Warriors Awards 2017 put in motion the act of highlighting the heart-warming efforts of a dedicated band of men and women championing education rights for disadvantaged children. This year’s winners are similarly worthy of complete respect and emulation.

ScooNews takes pride and pleasure in bringing the wonderful mission of these Teacher Warriors to the forefront. Their endeavours are bound to inspire, as we bring readers a closer look at their mission, their beliefs and their vision. The future of under-privileged children is significantly brighter thanks to the untiring efforts of these admirable individuals, driving change against tall odds.

While the chosen Teacher Warriors were felicitated at the awards ceremony at the ScooNews Global Educators Fest 2018 in Udaipur on August 3, we bring readers a closer look at their motivation and mettle, in their own words…

Teacher Warrior Dr. Kriti Bharti
Saarthi Trust

Education gives empowerment. Even today, there are many under-aged girl children who are forced to drop out of school and get married against their wishes. Taking up the challenge to free these girls and give them another chance to get back to life is Dr Kriti Bharti of Rajasthan. To fight this societal evil and give the girl child support, she founded the Saarthi Trust in Jodhpur in 2011 with a dream of establishing a society free of exploitation for children and women, along with a vision of implementing a curative approach to deal with such problems. Saarthi Trust has achieved the milestone of saving a number of children and women from exploitation. She believes that children are most vulnerable in our society and hence they shouldn't be abused or exploited in the name of customs and traditions. Else the future of our country is at stake.

Saarthi Trust is working for the establishment of child rights, women’s rights, child marriage annulment, child protection and women protection along with supporting their development and rehabilitation.

Giving child brides a chance

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“As you know, I work against child marriages. I am freeing girls who are forced into marriages through the Child Marriage Annulment. I have also put out a condition for these child brides: I will fight their cases in court but they have to continue studying from the point they had to drop out of school. All the child brides whose cases I am fighting in court are studying. Some are at primary level and some are pursuing higher education. All these girls are supported by the Saarthi Trust. The reason behind this condition is that in India, girls and women are exploited in a number of ways. After becoming free from child marriages, there are other malpractices via which these girls can be victimised. Education and empowerment is the only medium which will strengthen these vulnerable girls in every situation and save them from future exploitation.”

Abandoned at birth

“My own childhood was difficult. My father had abandoned me before birth. My relatives didn't accept me and they were abusive towards me in my childhood days. At the age of 10 years, I was poisoned and had become bedridden. I was cured through Reiki therapy. I learnt to sit, walk and crawl again after two years. After that I had taken sanyas but I had to come back because of some reasons. While returning home, I decided to continue my studies which I had dropped out of in standard 4. I took a huge jump to standard 10 and then studied regularly. Now I have done my PhD on ‘Children in Need of Care and Protection’. Education has helped me a lot in my survival which is why I feel the need to educate girls and teach them the importance of education.”

Justice and smiles

“My motto in life is to make the world free from exploitation so that every child can prosper and fly in their own sky. Justice to victims and educating them plays an important role in achieving this. My motivation is the smiles of victim girls set free from child marriages and when they became empowered thereafter. This satisfies me to the fullest. Education always nourishes you with the knowledge to fight, knowledge to live, knowledge to establish a society free from exploitation. Everyone in this world has to face challenges and education is the medium that plays a vital role to fight against it. My dream is to establish a society where no child is exploited and where they can be free. For this, justice to victims and education are the only two things that can help.”

– Parvathy Jayakrishnan

Teacher Warrior Arup Mukherjee
Puncha Nabadisha Model School

A 42-year-old employee of the Kolkata Traffic Police, Arup Mukherjee’s vision of education for the Sabar tribe developed during his childhood. The people belonging to the Sabar tribe are found in Purulia district of West Bengal, along with a few other states like Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The Sabars are mentioned in literature as old as the Mahabharata. The British listed them as a criminal tribe in the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.

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To walk into their village feels like taking a trip back to several decades. There is no electricity. The Sabars are shy of outsiders. They live in huts with no toilets (they go outdoors), entire villages have a single tube well to draw water from and for food, they catch tadpoles, snakes, mice, small birds, etc. Often to overcome the misery of an empty stomach, they get addicted to cheap liquor. Illiterate and ignorant, they do not know anything about the government’s policies to help them or who to approach to receive such aids.

Arup bagged a humble job in the Kolkata Police, got married, and had twins, all the while holding on to his childhood resolution. The opportunity came when a kind neighbour offered him a plot of land. Arup took a loan at work and built a boarding school for the Sabar children.

He started bringing in children of the extremely impoverished families. The temptation of education would not be much. So he tempted them with the promise of good meals every day – an irresistible offer! Puncha Nabadisha Model School started with 20 children and now accommodates more than 80 children. Most of the children have families who lack access to even two meals a day or a sweater in the winters.

Arup employs a local husband and wife duo for the cooking, maintaining stock and other necessary work. Another Sabar woman sought refuge there to escape her abusive husband. She cleans the place, washes the children’s clothes and does other chores. There are two local teachers, who teach the children all subjects in a somewhat informal, home-schooling manner. Though he can only afford to pay everyone a very meagre salary, Arup says the teachers as well as the domestic help are very sincere in their supervision of the children. The older children (between the ages of 10-15), go to the government’s primary school that happens to be in the next building. The local hospital is also nearby.

Arup is determined to make these kids pass out of school, after which they will be eligible for government jobs reserved for scheduled tribes. They are also doing well in their studies. They wear decent clothes, get help with their studies, eat well and are much loved.

From hunting birds to attending school

 “As you know, my work is for the most backward tribes of Purulia. You have to see to believe that people can live in such primitive conditions even in the 21st century. There are entire villages where not even a single villager owns a bicycle – villages without electricity or any proper means of transportation. People fall asleep intoxicated to avoid the pangs of hunger. I elaborate so much of the background, to make you realise how overwhelming it is to see children, who were hunting birds with bows and arrows, to wear clean uniforms, eat a filling meal and go to school every morning.”

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End to exploitation

“I have been hugely inspired by the work of Mahashweta Devi, the Padma Vibhushan winning Bengali writer who earned the name ‘Mother of the Sabars’. The villages across Purulia are developing fast. We are adapting modern lifestyles. But the Sabars are still living in poverty and darkness. Their illiteracy is a weak spot that is being mercilessly exploited by people all around. This fact itself is my biggest motivator. I want to do what I can to change this scenario.”

Education – the only chance

“My vision is for the Sabar children to get quality education, learn to interact with people outside their tribe, get government jobs and live lives of dignity. They can go back to their tribes and explain the value of education. Nothing drives home an idea as strongly as a real life example. Education is the only chance they have – to exposure, to broader perspectives, to jobs, technology and an end to abject poverty. That is where my goal lies, to educate one child at a time.”

– Anushka Yadav

Teacher Warrior Roshni Mukherjee
ExamFear Education

In today's world where the internet is often more accessible than books, a young woman, who is so passionate about teaching decided to try out an experiment to help children learn. Seven years ago, Roshni Mukherjee started her YouTube channel ExamFear Education to put out lessons in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Math, and English and today the channel has a whopping 552,502 subscribers and more than 5,000 educational videos.

ExamFear is a group of people with desired skills and qualifications who are passionate about teaching and they hope to promote free quality education throughout the world. ExamFear not only explains the concepts of various subjects, they also make it interesting with tricks and experiments to make learning fun. They also provide tips to make notes, revise before an exam and make a good timetable. Examfear has expanded their vision to include lessons in regional languages as well. ExamFear Education – Hindi is almost a year old now with 27,000 subscribers and counting.

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Transformative initiative

“I have always been very passionate about teaching and I wanted to teach and reach the masses. When I see that the content we created is being used by millions of children across the country today, I feel great. I started off with a couple of Physics videos back in 2011. With time, I saw that the videos were truly helping kids understand and love learning science and math. This encouraged me to create more and more content. By now, I have created more than 6,000 videos on Physics, Chemistry, Math, Biology, English Grammar, Geography and Science experiments for Classes 6 to 12. There are numerous emails and comments that I receive every day with success stories from different parts of the country. Once a child from a small town wrote to me that there were no good teachers near their house, but with the help of ExamFear videos, she found studies interesting and could even score 96 percent in the Board exams. When a student, Deepal Jain, from a town in Madhya Pradesh became the Biology topper of MP Board, and gave credit to our free education platform, and said that she could totally rely on self-study and ExamFear Education, I was proud of her and satisfied with our work. It gives me immense satisfaction when a child says, ‘What you could explain in 10 minutes, my teacher could not do in a week’. We have students from low economic backgrounds getting good grades in Board exams, cracking medical entrance exams and finding studies interesting. All such stories make us feel happy and satisfied with whatever we do! Something that I started as my passion is actually helping children achieve their goals. My initiative is truly able to transform lives. It is a feeling that is indescribable in words.”

Equal education for one and all

“Equal education to one and all, is our motto at ExamFear Education. The idea is to build this free education platform so that every child can access good quality education irrespective of caste, creed, location or economic background. In our country, there are two sets of educational institutions – one that provides good quality education but is unaffordable for many, and another that is low cost or free but lacks quality. Therefore, our idea has always been to strike a balance between the two. We wanted to build a platform that provides free education maintaining the quality. I am highly motivated by the support that I receive from students, teachers and parents who use our content. I am strongly motivated by our students’ success stories, and aim to create more and more such beautiful stories. The first thing that I do every morning when I start my work is read a few emails/ comments from children. They motivate me to work with more enthusiasm to build this free education platform bigger and better!”

Empowering every child

“Issues like child labour, poverty and child abuse, are very depressing. I strongly believe that education can definitely improve the lives of underprivileged kids, hence our idea of free education. Education in our country is often directly connected to good scores, which in turn often distracts children from real learning. Due to too much pressure from parents and teachers, children prefer rote learning rather than conceptual understanding. We, at ExamFear focus on conceptual understanding and discourage rote learning. We help children think about every minute concept with real-life examples.
“Our vision is to make good quality educational content available to everyone for free, so that every child enjoys learning, every child fulfils her/ his dreams, every child feels confident of what he/ she knows and learns, every child is empowered with education.
Education is everyone’s right! Let’s educate and empower!”

– Parvathy Jayakrishnan

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Inspiration

Be a Reader Forever

Keep being a reader and you will know what inspiration you can be for your children.

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I wish to take you all on a journey with me.

What is our destination? That is unique. It is your memories.

A journey back to your childhood where you might have sat with the three bears and tasted some porridge or dreamt about the beautiful, brave girl in a red hood who accosted the wolf. Have you ever thought about how these stories and images have helped shape you to be what you are today?

I want you to juggle your memories, dust the old steel trunk with forgotten books in the attic and enjoy reliving those moments with your children. I can hear many of you telling me that those books are gone, lost, and buried. Fine, but timeless stories cannot be forgotten.

So here I give you a compilation of old and new, some fun, some thoughtful stories that will have your children, readers, today, to be like you, readers forever.

So, flip those pages as you wander into the world of:

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The Complete Tales of Winnie-the -Pooh by A.A. Milne.

‘Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?’

‘Supposing it didn’t, said Pooh after careful thought.

Piglet was comforted by this.

The Learning: All children will face challenges as they grow up; a new school; new people to interact with; new environment; new food; new and change being constant in their journey. Hold their hand as Pooh did with Piglet and show them how best they can tackle such newness. New is fun, new is learning, and new quickly becomes old and familiar.

Your Role: Don’t push your children into the newness but hold their little fingers and be beside them to share their doubts and uncertainties. Take them with Winnie the Pooh to a new park, sit on the bench and read. Then try the merry-go-round or the Ferris wheel. The choice is your child’s. Be the one to show how all things new can also be beautiful and fun. Buy a packet of monkey nuts and help your child to crack them open and take out those nuts from within. If your child has a nut allergy then take a softball and show how you can balance them on your feet and pass it along to their tiny ones. The ball will fall so pick it up and try to balance again. It is good to fail for that is the ONLY way we learn for life.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

‘When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.’

The Learning: Our children have come into a world that is ‘I’ centric; a world where materialistic possessions measure success; happiness is equivalent to toys and devices that one possesses; kindness is for quotations and Mother Teresa. Sit beside them and read about August Pullman, the protagonist of Wonder, and how he believed that ‘being kind is not enough, one has to be kinder.’

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Your Role: Show them in your daily acts what kindness means. Kneel down to them even if you are running late for work, stay over at your ailing parents’ home and hold their hand as your child watches you; help the man with a stick cross a bad stretch on the road; speak politely to those who serve you at home; your children will realize the true meaning of kindness. Choose a birthday to spend time with those unfortunates who do not even remember their birthdays. Let your child not think of birthdays as only an occasion to receive gifts. Of course, the gifts will come but also show them the joy of giving gifts on their special day to those for whom a box of colours is as invaluable as the air we breathe. Show them how a hug can bring the brightest smile to the face of a lonely child; a slice of cake is a feast and then kindness will define your child and your family.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Her teacher smiled. ‘Just make a mark and see where it takes you.’

The Learning: None of us are born great. We are born with tears and laughter. We are born into a family that gives us the opportunities to discover ourselves, our worth, and our greatness. We are tiny dots that grow as we will them to grow. Their size, shape, and colour depend on us. You could use a pencil, a brush, or even your fingers to make your special dot. But remember that your dot is YOURS alone. So, take care as you make it.

Your Role: Do not draw the dot for your children. Let each child discover what dot can leave a mark forever. Show them the power of your dot through your daily acts of humility and tolerance. Show them the true colour reflected in your dot through your love and compassion. Show them the size of your dot through the life that you lead. But never, ever draw your dot for your children. Life is a journey of self-discovery. So, hold that paper steadily on the floor. Give all the colour that you can find. Give every choice of pen, pencil, or brush that you have, or leave them aside for just the fingers. Let them draw their own dots and shape them as they want but walk along with them, not in front of them nor behind them. Be their friend and encircle their dots with your love.

I have reached the last page of today’s journal.

As I reflect on what I have penned I realize I would still want you to dust the books of your childhood and refresh their memories with your children. If you find that too challenging pick the ones listed above. These are not just for your little ones but perhaps more for you.

Keep being a reader and you will know what inspiration you can be for your children.

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About the author:

Sudeshna Sengupta is Director of Academics at Vedanya International School and has served as an educational leader for nearly four decades driving excellence across learning communities.

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This Young Woman From A Tribal Village Is Teaching The Children While Schools Are Closed

The only graduate of a Tamil Nadu village has volunteered to teach the children of the village while the pandemic persists

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Where the digital network failed these tribal children in the southern part of India, their own stood to support them. Sandhya volunteers in teaching the kids of her village, Chinnampathy in Tamil Nadu. She is a graduate of B.Com, she is the only person from her village to have graduated college. Sandhya told India Today, “If it rains, we can’t go to school. We only have one bus to our village and so after a certain age, people drop out of school.”

Having gone through struggles herself, Sandhya knows how important a teacher and school is for growing children. So she volunteered to teach the children by herself, so they don’t lag behind due to school closure. Sandhya said "When I was a child, I had no one to help me study. These children here have me to help them study."

One must ask the children from a remote rural or economically backward area, how it feels to not have the proper learning opportunities. The pandemic took more than the ability to roam about freely, it snatched away the ability to go to school for children on a global level. While it is easier for families with better income to support their child’s online learning, most rural and financially challenged families are struggling.

The Indian government did start many projects for such students, but even learning via a television channel or free online course needs some basic gadgets and network connection. Many remote villages, like the tribal village, Chinnampathy, can not find enough network strength to have their children sit in front of a television and learn via the education channels. 

On being asked how her classes are enduring she said, “The children come and ask me very freely all their doubt and they are not afraid of me. I see these children learning well and answering all the questions when I ask them.”

Youth like Sandhya, who appreciate and signifies the work educators do and want to help the cause, are the future of the education sector!

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Gujarat Teacher Finds Television Sets For His Students During No-School

This teacher from Dahod, Gujarat got old television sets and had them repaired for his students to be able to learn during schools are closed

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The digital divide is affecting education all around the world, especially now when the pandemic makes it mandatory for children to stay home and learn online. Many projects by the Indian government have begun to help children from rural and economically challenged backgrounds to learn through television. But what if families can not afford a television set, should such children be left behind? No, Ravindra Prajapati, an assistant teacher from Dahod, was determined to not let his students suffer.

At Dablara Primary School in Fatepura taluka, Gujarat, students could not attend school due to lockdown and were unable to learn online since most families do not own television sets. Prajapati did not accept this and set out to find some TV sets for his students. He appealed to many Whatsapp groups expressing the condition of education and requesting donation of unused television sets, disc-antennas and receivers. 

Soon after his appeal to the general public, he received five TV sets and seven disc-antennas. He asked a television repairman in Sukhsar to repair those TV sets that didn’t work. These were set up at different locations and those who had televisions were provided with receivers and antennas to complete the set. Prajapati said, “At least five students and a maximum of 12 students now study at seven locations using these televisions. In two places where there were TVs but no antennas and receivers, we provided only antennas and receivers.”

The officials of the education ministry have been appreciating Prajapati for his noble attempt to begin bridging the digital gap. Dahod District Education Officer (DEO) Mayur Parekh said, “The effort is what can inspire other teachers as well. If others start making such changes, education will definitely start improving.”

 

Source Credit: TOI

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*The image used is for representation purpose only.

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Letter From This Karnataka Teacher Cheered Her Students During Lockdown

Geetha wrote letters to her students expressing how much she misses them also inquired about their health and academics

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The art of letter writing feels so real and personal by unfortunately it has fallen in the last couple of decades. Though Geetha K H had a different idea in mind, she wrote letters to her students to boost their morale. Having spent 10+ years in the same school, Geetha is one of the two teachers at the Government Primary School in Yalagudige village, Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka. The school has sixteen students from grades 1 to 5, who are stuck at home since the lockdown began in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Only recently, the children lept with joy at the mail each of them received. A letter in their name by their beloved teacher, Geetha miss. She told Deccan Herald, “It’s been almost a year since I met my students. I had decided to surprise them with the letters when they are off the school and write individual letters to all my students checking their health and also congratulating them for being promoted to next grade.”

She also conveyed her wishes to their families, asked her students to follow covid practices and suggested using the gadgets only for academic purposes. She told them how much she misses them and how special they are to her. In the letters, she also dropped her number and instructed the children to call her if they needed any help, supervision in studies or just felt like talking.

In response, Geetha received 10 letters from her students, clearly, her happiness knew no bounds. Her efforts go beyond plain academia, being present for her students in a manner that uplifts their emotional well being is what every teacher wishes for. Geetha is getting much love on social media and Secondary Education Minister, Suresh Kumar also appreciated her. 

Educators like Geetha are the reason, students today are able to keep their emotional and mental stress in check in the current unprecedented times!

 

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Pune ZP School Educator Is Determined To Teach Instead Of The Adverse Conditions

This teacher found some ‘out of school’ children working in a nearby sugarcane field, she decided to not see a child go uneducated under her watch

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Rohini Lokhande has been a Zilla Parishad (ZP) school teacher at Nandor in Maharashtra for over three years. She brought the children of the nearby sugarcane field workers to the school soon after she began teaching at ZP. Even today when the world is facing a pandemic and the education field is suffering gravely, Lokhande is keeping strong and trying to keep the learning going for these children. 

When she initially joined the school she realised there were sugarcane fields nearby that had makeshift houses for the workers who would migrate there. The children of these workers would also work in the fields with their parents. Being a teacher, she could not imagine a child ‘out of school’ and not being able to study. She held surveys with help of her ZP school students and had these kids admitted to the school. They used education guarantee card to make sure there was no hindrance in the enrolling process due to lack of appropriate papers. 

The worker families would usually leave the area during monsoons, but some started staying back to ensure their children’s education. However, last year when the pandemic hit and the world went under lockdown so did the ZP school. Lokhande told TOI, “The lockdown meant that many of the students, who had enrolled at the school, could not be reached. Teachers were also put on Covid-19 duty and we had to teach regular classes online. Although, I did get help from volunteers to go and teach them whenever they can, it was not enough. Then I realised that most of the children were also made to work due to the severe money crunch faced by their families. All of this meant, education was the least of their priorities. That is when I thought of conducting the classes for the students at night.”

She approached a local volunteer, who is a postgraduate herself, to teach the night classes for these students. Lokhande paid this teacher out of her pocket and also made sure the children would have books and study material. The volunteer teacher would teach some 20 odd kids from 7-9 pm every night using workbooks in Marathi and Math books. She would also teach them about basic personal hygiene, cleanliness and discipline.

They procured some gadgets as well so the learning would not stop dead in the track if a lockdown is to happen again. She said, “From teachers in my school to people outside, I have found help everywhere. Even now, when I wanted mobile phones for the children of sugarcane cutters, a Kothrud-based housing society donated five phones. The 20 children can be divided into groups of four, to use one phone and study. People can do wonders.”

 

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A tribute to Dr. GK Swamy – the educator who changed children’s lives

We are deeply grieved to learn that Dr. GK Swamy, founder of Purkal Youth Development Society passed away on June 11, 2021. Even though he has been taken away from this world, his loving heart has left behind a beacon of light for all in the community.

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We are deeply grieved to learn that Dr. GK Swamy, founder of Purkal Youth Development Society, 84, passed away on June 11, 2021. He had surgery recently and could not survive it. Even though he has been taken away from this world, his loving heart has left behind a beacon of light for all in the community.

A man who chose not to retire after working as an economist and started his journey post-retirement as an educator by selling his only asset i.e., his flat in Mumbai, and moving permanently to a village called Purkal near Dehradun with the mission of being a positive influence and support to children from an underprivileged background.

With the motto ‘Life is for Giving’, the PYDS started off as an informal free home tutoring facility in 1998. G K Swamy sir with his unwavering faith and generosity built this school into the PYDS Learning Academy, a full-fledged CBSE affiliated school for over 435 rural children, with infrastructure at par with the best.

Video Courtesy: Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

“Our vision for the disadvantaged children is to create leaders for change: individual, society, and global,” he would say.

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He will be reverently remembered by family, friends, and the children he touched the lives of and made them walk in the right path, the path of wisdom.

We will always miss his presence.

PC: TEDxEicherSchool

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This Gujarat Principal Mops His School Everyday Before The Bell Rings

A primary school, in a small district of Gujarat, has its humble principal mopping floors and sweeping the school every day an hour before the classes begin

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There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes. – William J. Bennett

While teaching children the lesson of 'Cleanliness is next to godliness' this principal 'literally' cleans his school. Girishbhai Bawliya is the Principal in a Government Primary School in the Vadod village of Gujarat. He has cleared his headmaster exam after being a teacher for over a decade. Girishbhai arrives at school every day one hour before time to see to the sanitation. Using brooms and mops he cleans the school himself for his students. 

One might think he probably does it because the school is in poor condition and has no funds to spare for cleaning. The truth lies far ahead, the school does receive several grants by the panchayat under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Girishbhai believes that the money can be put to better use and so he uses the sanitation grant money to create other facilities for the school and the students. 

The principal along with another teacher from the school, Jigneshbhai Dholakia, used up the vacation time to paint beautiful and captivating murals on the school walls for the children. These educators wanted to beautify the school campus with art while motivating the students.

On being asked, why he chooses to clean the school in spite of being the principal, Girishbhai said it was his duty to not just teach children about hygiene and sanitation but also show them. He believes in doing as he says and that no work is substandard for any dignitary. In his own words, “some lessons in life can only be learned through actions and not words.” 

This educator who has not taken a single day off since he took over the position of the principal, is an exemplar of the kind of educators our great nation yields.

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ScooNews admires and salutes the humility and virtue of such educators and feels proud to share such brilliant stories!

Source Credit: The Better India

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Nevada Teacher Becomes First To Be Awarded The National Teacher Award From Her State

The First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, visited the classroom of the awardee of National Teacher of the Year Award. Being an educator herself, the First Lady recognised Urtubey’s hard work and called her the ‘Epitome of a great teacher’

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Juliana Urtubey is a special education teacher at Booker Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Having experience of over a decade, being an educator for kindergarten through fifth grade and her attempts to improve learning outcomes for her students, landed Urtubey the ward for 2021 National Teacher of the Year.

The Council of Chief State School Officers recognized Urtubey as the winner of the national award. She became the first woman since 2005 of Latin American descent and the very first Nevada state teacher to have won the award. The council CEO Carissa Moffat Miller told NBC News, “Juliana Urtubey exemplifies the dedication, creativity and heart teachers bring to their students and communities.” 

Urtubey has been named Ms. Earth (originally “Ms. Earth-to-bey,” a pun on her last name) with much love, by her students for her efforts to beautify schools with gardens. She along with her students formed a garden club called “Gnomies” along with a mini farmer’s market. 

Urtubey said, “We, as teachers, are much more open to this self-paced learning, this flipped classroom, which has been an invitation for students who think and learn differently.”

Starting from individualizing lessons, tending to the emotional and behavioral needs of her students to spending hours with struggling pre-K kids, helping fifth-graders and strategizing with teachers, Urtubey does it all.

The award is usually presented at the White House by the President but due to the pandemic the ceremony has been delayed. This did not stop the First Lady, Jill Biden, from congratulating Urtubey during a surprise visit to her classroom. Being an educator herself, the First Lady knows the struggles and importance of the education system. The First Lady said, while appreciating Urtubey’s work, “She (Urtubey) is just the epitome of a great teacher, a great educator.”

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During her childhood, having had troubles in finding a good school and correct learning environment, made Urtubey realise the importance of educators and the right classroom. This inspired her to become a teacher herself and work with differently abled students. She said, “There’s always strengths to find, and so once you find those strengths, you start there.”

ScooNews wishes Juliana Urtubey, Ms. Earth, heartfelt congratulation on winning the National Teacher of the Year 2021 award!

 

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Read About The Teacher Who Set A New Record In Cycling

Gurpreet Singh, a teacher from Jalandhar cycled 32,000 km in the lockdown

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3 June is known as World Bicycle Day since the United Nations declared it in 2018. Apart from being a world-class sport cycling is also considered a good alternative to no pollution transportation. This physical activity is known for supporting a healthy way of living while also backing emotional and mental well being. 

Gurpreet Singh, an accountancy teacher at Apeejay School, Jalandhar, is an inspiration to us all. At the age of 48, he has set a new world record by bicycling for over 100 km daily for 300 consecutive days. In his own words, a ‘teacher by profession and a cyclist by heart’ Singh is one of the most active members of the Jalandhar Biking Club.

Singh told The Tribune “From May 19, 2020, to March 14, 2021, I cycled 100 km to 400 km every day. I have cycled more than 32,000 km during this period. During this journey, I had faced scorching sun, dense fog of the nipping weather, strong thunderstorms and rain but never gave up. I used to cycle four to 15 hours a day, come what may.”

He applied to be named in the Limca Book of Records and India Book of Records, for his accomplishments. Apart from that Singh is also a three-time Super Randonneur having completed rides of 200-300-400-600 km in one season.

He was not a health fanatic all his life, rather weighed a lot and has many medical conditions. His decision to begin cycling came from his son who had an accident and eventually feared riding two-wheelers. The dawn time cycling became a thing for Singh and soon he realised he loves to ride. Aside from becoming fit health-wise, Singh found a new way of living. Today he is being celebrated for his dedication and resilience.

Singh is an inspiration to all the educators who find it difficult to take some time out for themselves. This World Bicycle Day, educators must promise themselves some individual time and maybe go cycling once in a while to promote their mental, emotional and physical wellness.

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Thimmappa Kodlady Teaches English To His Students Without Alphabets

This primary school teacher does not begin with teaching the alphabets while teaching English

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Thimmappa Kodlady is a Government Lower Primary School teacher in Malethodi, Karnataka. His experience in being an educator reflects in his teaching style that he has developed for a decade. He is popular for using an unusual way of teaching English to the primary children of his school. Thimmappa does not begin teaching with the generic ‘A for Apple’ in fact he does not teach about alphabets at all in the beginning. He teaches his students via phonetics, he believes that learning how something sounds is way more effective than being taught how to spell it. 

The reason Thimmappa decided on developing this unique way of teaching English to his students stems from his realisation that students in higher classes find it difficult to learn another language. He told edexlive, "A lot of kids drop out of high school or college because they don't understand what is being taught in English or because it is difficult to learn the language. But what if we teach them English when they are in lower primary or primary school? The fact of the matter is, it isn't a big deal to learn English. That's why I decided to train my students in English in a unique way so that they don't feel bored to learn the language."

Thimmappa worked hard for his teaching style development. His undying dedication to his students led him to attend any and all workshops for educators that he could find. His method of teaching clearly works since his students can read and understand complex words and phrases. He also makes sure to analyse the learning along with his students at the end of every lesson.  "I teach them the sounds of these letters first and once they are perfect with the sounds, I move to the letters. Children will learn it faster if we teach them the sounds first. While this is achieved, what children learn easily is to write the spellings. Even long and complex spellings are written easily by children."

Other than inside the classroom, the school has high-frequency word posters in the corridors for children to keep learning all the time. The students also get divided into groups that take minutes of all the school activity related meetings, these students need to present with a report after the said meetings. This is Thimmappa's way of making sure his students learn inside as well as outside of his classroom. Educators like him are the soul of the Indian Education System, they do not let the lack of resources in the rural areas distract them from their goals. 

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