A dedicated teacher will go to any extent to make education not just confined to the rigid academic curriculum, but inculcate the learning process in a creative manner.
One such teacher is Annapurna Mohan from the town of Villupuram in Tamil Nadu, who has revamped an entire classroom at her own expense. Contrary to the idea we have about regular government schools, Annapurna’s classroom looks straight out of a well-funded international school.
From an interactive smartboard to colourful and comfortable furniture to the stacks of English-language books, this class 3 English class taught by Annapurna in the Panchayat Union Primary School (PUPS), Kandhadu, has it all.
And it is not just the environment that is wonderful for children to study in.Writing and comprehending English is one thing and speaking it fluently, another. However, the students not only speak crisp and clear English; they do so pretty fluently.
Most of the government schools in Tamil Nadu are often ill-equipped, leaving teachers to fend for themselves.
Annapurna Mohan receiving the Best Teacher award from her students. Source: Facebook/AnnapurnaMohan
Understanding the shortcomings and realizing the need for change in the existing system, Annapurna began to implement more efficient methods of teaching in her classroom.
“I tried to create a good environment for English in my classroom. I conversed with my students in English from the beginning of the class till the end. In the beginning, some of them didn’t understand it, but in time, they began to respond,” Annapurna told The News Minute.
Using phonetics to help the children with their pronunciation, she also focused on helping her students get a clear grasp of sentence structure and grammar. “Teachers in Tamil Nadu don’t use this system and teach English by parroting, which builds a fear of English in students. Through phonetic basics I taught them the sounds, which helped them read out complicated English words,” she added.
All of her good work received recognition when she had uploaded a video of the children speaking in English on her Facebook page. Within months of her new teaching methods, her students began to respond with great results.
The encouragement and support that followed was so overwhelming that Annapurna began to upload more videos pretty frequently, and before long, people from not just the country but places like Canada and Singapore began sending in money and small gifts for the children.
Soon enough, Annapurna was approached by a news network for an interview. Using the interview as a pretext, Annapurna decided to radically transform her classroom. “I decided to do it by myself because I did not want to burden anyone. Doing it myself, also helped to get it done more efficiently, as I did not have to rely on anyone else,” explains Annapurna.
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Such was her dedication that within three days, she arranged for the money by selling her own jewellery!
Meanwhile, Annapurna’s interview has garnered her class even more attention, with several more people coming forward to help her and her students.
“The standards of teaching in government schools are not as good as those in private schools, and parents pay lakhs of rupees for education that is offered for free. With a little bit of effort, government schools can also provide quality education for families who cannot afford the fees of a private school,” she was quoted as saying.
With so many offers of funding pouring in, Annapurna now aims to change the methods of teaching used across her school.