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These superheroes do not wear capes but their acts are nothing short of astonishing… and yes, they save lives. (Part 2)

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 underprivileged 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 Rajani Paranjpe
Door Step Schools

The Society for Door Step Schools was founded by Rajani Paranjpe, also known as Rajani tai, along with her student Bina Lashkari and other colleagues from Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, Mumbai in 1989. Its aim was to address the three major issues related to the education of children from marginalised sections of society through its various programs namely non-enrolment, wastage and stagnation.

Door Step School, Pune runs various community-based programmes for the Primary Education of the underprivileged children for their school enrolment and support classes for them to be able to cope up with their studies in school. Through these programmes, DSS also works with parents in order to raise awareness about the importance of education and their role in it. Door Step School also runs programmes in government schools, which are categorised as School Intervention Programmes.

Recognised for her contributions to the field of non-formal education on various occasions, Professor Rajani Paranjpe is a Rotary Club Pune Vocational Excellence awardee (2003 and 2009), Maharshi Karve Stri Shikshan Santha Bava Puraskar awardee (2008) and a Pune Marathi Granthalaya Matrusmriti Purskar awardee (2011). She currently serves as President of the Door Step School and continues to strive for the education and welfare of underprivileged children.

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Igniting a spark

“During all these years of my work I have never given a thought to this question. It is difficult to say which is the most satisfying part of my work – every part of it is satisfying, must be so, otherwise, it would not have been possible for me to continue doing it year after year. But when I look at the entire process now I think the most satisfying moment in my life is the one when I see that spark in the eyes of a student which shows that he/ she has understood what I wanted to say and has opened a new gateway of ideas.”

Every child counts

“My motto is very simple and apparently very easy to achieve: I want every Indian child to be able to read and write if nothing more. I think every child counts, as every one of them, is a precious gift of God. My motivation comes from within and without. I am a teacher by nature – it is my instinct. I like to share with others what I know and always wanted to be a teacher in my life. But the motivation for the work which I am doing now is based on my experience, exposure and training. As a professional social worker, I was exposed to situations in slums, the conditions in which children live and grow and the reasons which keep them away from schooling. I used to teach Research Methodology and worked in our college’s Research Department on various research projects. This experience showed me again and again and brought to my notice very clearly that education, however minimal, makes a difference.”

Miles to go

“My field experience of working for adult literacy showed me very clearly that teaching children is far easier than teaching adults. These and such other experiences helped me in my decision to focus on the literacy of children and I am doing it to the best of my capacity but unfortunately, the end is not in sight.
My dream is to reach out to every child who does not have access to education and find out a suitable way of making that child literate. It is really disturbing to see how so many children fall through the cracks – and how so many different problems come in our way in achieving the simple goal of making every child able to read and write.”

  • Anushka Yadav

Teacher Warrior Anand Kumar
Super 30

An educator, mathematician and renowned columnist for various reputed journals and magazines, Anand Kumar started Super 30 programme in Patna, Bihar in 2002. With an extraordinary vision and a down to earth attitude, he provides education to economically backward students for the toughest examination in India – IIT-JEE. A speaker at reputed institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, Kumar’s work has been showcased by Discovery Channel. He has also been invited as a participant on ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’.

Anand Kumar has made it possible for 422 out of 480 students to enroll in the IITs in 2018.

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Taking education to those who lack resources

“Today, education reaches to those who can afford it whereas those who have the talent, power and the will to do something extraordinary often lack access to basic education. We at Super 30 believe in giving education to those who have that zeal and talent but lack the resources; it is this aspect of my work as an educator that makes me want to go to sleep with satisfaction every day.”

Lessons in patience

“My late father has always been my motivation and pillar of strength. I lost him at a young age but everything that he taught me continues to help me every day. He taught me how to maintain my calm even in the toughest of rides. He said it is important to be patient when someone is revolting against you even when you are doing a good deed. My father has taught me everything from how to speak and behave, to becoming a better educator. It is his words that motivate and empower me.”

Powering dreams

“My dream and vision for all the children is to live in a country where they don’t have to leave their education despite having the talent and the will to study; each child deserves to get a quality education and fulfill their dreams.”

  • Anushka Yadav

Teacher Warrior Mukesh Sahay
Sonaram High Secondary School

Director General of Assam Police, tough cop Mukesh Sahay kept a tight rein on law and order during his tenure. In fact, insurgency activities had shown a sharp decline as he operated with a firm hand. Post superannuation in April this year, Sahay turned to a possibly tougher mission – teaching kids maths! Aware that the Sonaram High Secondary School in Guwahati had been functioning minus a Maths teacher for two years, he offered to fill in and that was that!

Ever practical, he points out that he is simply offering his services; at the end of the day, it depends on how the students take it. And the students are evidently taking it very well, as are the school authorities. Mukesh Sahay’s simple guiding philosophy – lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness – mirrors his mission of quietly yet effectively making a difference.

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Joy multiplied

“I was born in a village in Bihar. I did my studies in Patna. I did my post-graduation in Physics. I also have a degree in law and diplomas in i) Intellectual Property Laws in the Internet age and ii) Cyber Laws. I have been working since my school days to augment my family income and to sustain my studies. I joined in the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1984 and worked in Assam, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) in various capacities. I demitted office on April 30, 2018, as the Director General of Police (DGP), Assam. Immediately afterwards, I have been volunteering my services in school education specially in Mathematics and Physics. This is for my own pleasure primarily. If the students get benefitted, this pleasure will multiply manifold.”

Giving back

“The school where I started volunteering my services did not have a Mathematics teacher for two years for classes XI and XII. Post-retirement, I decided to fill up this gap for my own satisfaction and for the benefit of the underprivileged students. The burning desire to pay something back to society was the real motivator behind the move. This gives me great satisfaction because it helps me to keep physically active, mentally engaged and socially relevant. But the real satisfaction will come if and only if the students get benefitted, even on a nanoscale. Quality school education is the key to social transformation and is the fundamental right of every child. I am strongly of the view that all citizens, especially the educated ones, must contribute in this process.”

Try to light a candle

“I am very fond of quotations. Some of the quotations that constantly motivate and propel me are as below–

i)          Rather than cursing the darkness, try to light a candle.

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ii)         Challenges are what make life worthwhile. Without challenges, life won’t be worth living.

iii)         Struggle is life, stagnation is death.

The strong urge to do something for society, especially the less privileged and the underprivileged gives me strength, stamina and the motivation to keep moving and keep going. To help the students is my humble contribution in this direction. I am no dreamer neither am I a visionary. But I do strongly believe that quality school education is the fundamental right of every child. It is the key to transforming society. Access to quality education only can provide equality of opportunity to all and will lead to an egalitarian society driven by democratic values. A quality education will bring the best out of every child and help them actualise their potential. This will help the nation, society and civilisation achieve the desired objectives. Such an education system will provide the required knowledge, skills including life skills and attitudes to transform the children into worthy members of society, community and the nation.”

  • Nichola Pais

Teacher Warrior Safeena Husain
Educate Girls

An active social worker and founder-Executive Director of Educate Girls, Safeena Hussain works to tackle issues at the root cause of gender inequality in India’s education system. Educate Girls empowers communities to facilitate girls’ education in rural India and helps them take a stand against gender inequality. Their mission stems from the belief that if girls in educationally backward districts are educated, they will have the potential to enter the formal economy, gain employment and lift their families out of poverty.

Working in partnership with the government, the community and with the help of 11,000+ community volunteers (called Team Balika), Educate Girls has helped ensure higher enrolment and attendance for girls as well as improved learning outcomes for all children.
Established in 2007, Educate Girls has grown from a 500-school pilot project in Rajasthan to now serving over 21,000 schools spread across 15 districts in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. They aim to achieve the behavioural, social and economic transformation for all girls towards an India where all children have equal opportunities to access quality education.

The turning point

“I grew up in Delhi. After my schooling, I took a break and went to a Krishna Ashram on the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh. This gap year helped me connect with my inner self and develop a sense of charity and service. After graduating from the LSE, and spending over a decade working with grassroots development projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia, I finally decided to return to India. When I moved back, as I was deciding what I should dedicate my life to next, a personal incident led me back to a cause that was always close to my heart – that of girls’ education. On a project for setting-up a clinic in a village in the foothills of the Himalayas in north India, my father and I came across a group of women. They asked him how many children he had and my father, putting his arm around my shoulder, answered, “This is it. This is my daughter, my son, my everything!” The women replied to him by lamenting his misfortune over the lack of a son. I realised in that moment, in which I felt both angry and sad, that women and girls were still being discriminated against. I asked myself what would be the most sustainable way to create gender equality – Educate Girls was the answer. After a 50-school test project followed by a 500-school pilot project in Pali, Rajasthan, Educate Girls was independently registered in 2007. Since then, Educate Girls has consistently scaled its operations and presently works across 15 districts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. There are over 4.9 million total beneficiaries of its programmatic interventions, since inception. Educate Girls works in educationally backward districts by partnering with the government and mobilising communities to achieve impact in three key outcome areas – Increased enrolment and retention of girls and quality learning for all children.”

Education’s transformative power

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“I once remember asking an out-of-school girl, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ She replied, ‘I don’t know, No one has ever asked me this question, so I’ve never thought about it.’ This same girl, enrolled in school by Educate Girls, is now studying well and aspires to be a police officer. This is the transformative power of education! I am firmly convinced that education is the most effective means of offering the same opportunities to excel in life for girls and boys, women and men – thus promoting social equality. I strongly believe that creating community ownership and involving people in the process of social transformation is a powerful way to sustain change. Our volunteers from the villages have a motto, ‘My village, my problem, I am the solution’. Also, we have seen that in patriarchal communities it is essential to involve the men and boys in conversations. More often than not, girls are not aware of their rights and boys don’t know that they are violating a girl’s rights.  Ultimately, gender-inequality is a mindset issue and that’s what our activities address.”

Educating one girl – educating future generations

“Not a single girl I have met so far has said to me that she does not want to be in school. For me, and everyone at Educate Girls, nothing compares to the joy of seeing girls, in their school uniforms, with their book and bags, walking to school and learning well! We celebrate every single enrolment because we know that by educating that one girl we have educated future generations! The feeling of seeing a child improve in their learning because of some additional help from us is phenomenal. Ultimately, the fulfilment in achieving actual impact for these underserved children is what keeps us going in spite of the challenges and setbacks and this is why we so work hard. This commitment to every child has always been at the forefront for Educate Girls and because my vision was about solving a widespread issue, from the start Educate Girls’ model was about being ready for scale. When we started expanding to more districts I wanted to be sure that Educate Girls would continue to be accountable to the last child and so we have always pursued innovation and partnerships that enable this accountability. This is also why Educate Girls initiated the world’s first Development Impact Bond (DIB) in education, which is a proof of concept that ties funding to pure outcomes. My dream is to one day wake up to an India where every daughter in the country is no longer discriminated against and where every child has access to quality education and equal opportunity.”

  • Nichola Pais

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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Inspiration

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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