The government adjudged two teachers as the best in 2017. They were honoured at a gala function last week. Later they told their story to Aakash Hassan
Postgraduate in Hindi, Lovely Singh was vigorous to implement her teaching skills in Government schools after she was inducted as a teacher in 2002 spring. She was already teaching for five years in private sector. Full of ideas to “transform” the school she would assigned, she was keen to bring light to the students, mostly from humble backgrounds.
“The challenge, as I thought, was not primarily the students, but the atmosphere and the infrastructure of the schools,” says Lovely Singh, now 50.
Her initial posting was in hilly and remote Budhwani belt of Samba. As she began her “mission to give overall education to the children,” she felt saddened over the condition of the school, dim-lit, dark and unelectrified. “Getting the administration get bulbs in school would have taken long time,” she said. She utilized her own money and got the school electrified.
“It was not just installing an electric bulb but a new hope in the kids of that remote place,” says Lovely, who has been conferred as Teacher of the year award, with another teacher, by the Department of School Education.
Currently when teachers of government schools are being seen as lethargic owing to the under-performing schools, bagging best teacher award is no child’s play. Teachers with exceptional qualities and urge to serve the society can be eligible.
“There is a set procedure in the selection of the teachers,” says Director School Education, Dr Ghulam Nabi Itoo. Teachers working at the elementary level are eligible to apply. “A committee at district level headed by Chief Educational officer scrutinizes the list and creates a short list which is then scrutinized at state level by top officials,” he says. There are at least sixteen indicators to evaluate the performance of the teacher.
“Teacher’s work towards enrolment, publications, extraordinary work and contribution at the level of administration are some of the basic parameters taken into consideration,” Itoo said.
Lovely Singh is certainly full of the requisite qualities.
When she was later shifted to Girls’ Middle School Kalwal (Jammu), her first day was disappointing. When she entered the school premises she noticed that there was no gate. “My first thing was to install a gate.”
Similarly in SMRHC Higher Secondary School Jammu she again could not resist looking at the condition of the furniture at the school. She brought 150 benches for the school.
Resident of Ghazimghar Jammu she also shot to the fame within her fraternity after she was entitled to outstanding performance for the way she maintained Mid-day-meal for the students of the Ghandhi Nagar School. The menu was so impressive that it was recommended for all the schools of the Jammu region.
She is also teaching kids who beg at the streets and are from very poor families, ill-affording enrollment in a school. This time she is teaching 30 of these underprivileged kids.
Other teacher, conferred with the award of Best Teacher is Mohammad Iqbal from Kupwara. A Physics scholar from NCERT Ajmer who later studied Astrophysics at Punjab University Chandigarh, he has been part of a research for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Iqbal who believes in teaching at grass root level and incorporating scientific temperament among the students, for success, is a story in itself.
Inducted in Education Department in October 1993, he has taught in different schools of northern Kashmir. He has remained active in preparing science models and programs for the students interested in the science subjects.
Iqbal has been also assembling students and getting them trained at National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar and Kashmir University, through number of programs. “These programs were conducted to inculcate in them the potential and exposure so that they can appear for different completive examinations,” he says.
In Higher Secondary School of Langate, teaching of Iqbal changed course of learning there. “He created a sort of atmosphere and attracted students towards science subjects,” says a student from Langate.
That is perhaps why ratio of his students increased manifold. “It was 12 first and now it is 112,” he says.
He believes that a teacher must be subject expert and active in co-curricular activities, for creating successful teacher.
“For me creating atmosphere of studying science subjects among the students was not easy job. I believe student’s interest in a subject is fundamental,” he says. “But I also made an effort to find good students and try to make them interested. When I am done with my classes, I enter into 10th and 9th standard classrooms. This is to give them initial lectures and prepare them for studying science in advance.”
Besides his science teaching skills he has been awarded for working as NCC wing of the district and coordinating NSS.
The process to facilitate teachers at the state level annually, begun in the year 2006. With interruptions since 2011, the process has been revived.
The facilitation is aimed to respect the hard work of the teachers, says Dr Itoo. “We want to take this award at the zonal level so that best teachers are recognized and facilitated. Teachers need to take their work as a mission and excel in their work.”