“There was a time in Indian history till 1830, before the British colonised India, when the most respected profession in society was that of a teacher,” said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the State Teachers’ Awards ceremony on the occasion of Teacher’s Day at Thyagaraj Stadium Thursday.
“In just four years, with great support from school teachers and principals, we have reached a point where government schools are as good, if not better, than private schools,” the CM said.
Eighty-seven teachers and heads of government schools in the capital were awarded for their innovative initiatives and contribution to the all-round development and growth of children. The Indian Express spoke to four of them.
Dr Racchna Saddi Vice-Principal, Sumermal Jain Public School, Janakpuri, West district
With more than 30 years of experience in education, Dr Saddi received the award for providing training to two students, who went on to compete in the recent Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
“Two children from my school, Lalit Mathur and Seema, both from low-strata families, were trained by us. While Mathur competed in athletics, Seema participated in weightlifting. They even won Rs 8 lakh and Rs 4 lakh scholarships from the CM. We gave them all the support they needed. It is the greatest achievement for a teacher.”
Assistant Teacher (primary), Nigam Pratibha Vidyalaya (Girls), North East district
Sharma encouraged the children of her school to participate in city- and state-level art and co-curricular competitions. Many of them won awards and decided to pursue their passion.
“I train them myself, and they win every year. I started teaching in 1999, and since 2000, I have been passionate about training my students. These are kids who live in the slums. Training them also boosts their confidence,” she said.
Nasir Ahmad Siddique
Assistant Teacher (primary), MCD primary school (boys), Katwaria Sarai, South district
“As an MCD school, we did not have much to work with,” said Siddique. “My aim was to introduce innovative teaching… I make children read from old Hindi newspapers. Reading newspapers also increases awareness, and I discuss many relevant issues with them. We have replaced rote learning with puppetry and role-play, which has been effective. I have also helped schools get computer labs, watercoolers and dustbins,” he said.
Vice-Principal, Govt Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya Keshav Puram, A-Block, North West district
Starting out as a home science teacher, Sardana has encouraged students to focus on employment opportunities through the Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum. She said, “Fifteen years ago, I met a student who told me that she had opened a boutique after learning stitching in home science. She said her entire family ran on her business.” Realising that job opportunities are dwindling, she feels that it is even more important to encourage children to become entrepreneurs and start businesses: “We try our best to make the children good citizens, productive and job-givers, not job-seekers. Mind-set change is important.”