Children

Marvellous mentors

Earl Mountbatten of Burma calls on the President: The President, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, with Admiral of the Fleet, Rt. Hon'ble the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Chief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom, when the latter called on him at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on May 05, 1965.

Earl Mountbatten of Burma calls on the President: The President, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, with Admiral of the Fleet, Rt. Hon'ble the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Chief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom, when the latter called on him at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on May 05, 1965.   | Photo Credit: HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

Not all superheroes wear capes and come out in the dead of the night. Many of them are around us, guiding us towards a better education, and eventually, a better future.

Teachers’ Day, September 5, honours DR. SARVEPILLAI RADHAKRISHNAN, India’s second President.

He was an educator and scholar par excellence, greatly loved by his students, as he was renowned to be a wonderful, interactive and approachable teacher. He was ever ready to help his students and was always there for them.

Here are a few teachers from across the globe, who have made a mark.

ANDRIA ZAFIRAKOU

It is common to hear of people learning and specialising in different languages, to eventually make a career out of it as diplomats or translators. But, how many people, especially teachers would take the trouble of learning more than 30 languages, just so that they can talk with their students?

Meet Andria Zafirakou, winner of the Global Teacher’s Prize 2018, who teaches at Alperton Community School, a secondary school academy in Brent, London, the U.K. This is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country with 130 languages being spoken in its schools. Most students are from some of Britian’s poorest families, with many exposed to violence.

Andria went beyond the call of duty and took time to understand her pupils’ lives beyond school by visiting their homes, riding with them on the bus and so on. She prefers using art as a teaching medium as she perceives it as a language-free method of communication. She would introduce children to the art of their own culture before relating it to the white western art movements prescribed in the National Curriculum. The curriculum was altered to make many subjects more applied rather than theoretical.

SHAHEEN MISTRI

When you meet Shaheen Mistri, the founder and CEO of Teach for India, nothing about her is like the conventional CEO. Her easy demeanour is extremely popular among her students. She stumbled into teaching when she visited a slum in Mumbai, while in college. She believed that education was more than books and classrooms, and must involve communities at every stage. Thus was born Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organisation with a mission to impact the lives of children from low-income communities. Her experiences here combined with her association with Teach for America — she visited founder Wendy Kopp to learn more — played an instrumental role in the founding of Teach for India.

The Teach for India fellowship recruits India’s most promising college graduates and young professionals to spend two years teaching in low-income schools and attempt to bridge the educational gap in the country. The model is based on teaching through art — role play, theatre, and so on, and aims to teach students through practical, interactive methods.

PETER TABICHI

A Kenyan science teacher and Franciscan friar, Peter Mokaya Tabichi is this year’s winner of the Global Teacher Prize. He teaches math and physics at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School which he joined, in 2016. The school is a semi-arid village in the Rift Valley Province, a region bordering Uganda, impacted by famine and drought. Tabichi donates 80% of his salary to supporting students in need. The school population is made up of seven different tribes, with around 95% of students living in poverty. The school has one computer, intermittent internet access, and a student-teacher ratio of 58:1.Tabichi launched the Talent Nurturing Club, which has improved attendance. He established a peace club, uniting representatives who have been involved with violence. He engages with local communities and teaches residents to grow famine-resistant crops. He and his students work on renewable energy and devices which can support people with disabilities. It is to Tabichi’s credit that in only a couple of years, he has doubled the number of students attending university.

He is the recipient of the 2019 Global Teacher Award.

ROSHNI MUKHERJEE

Roshni had always wanted to become a teacher. But, after her father’s demise, she had to take up a job at an MNC. Undettered, she started small by giving video lessons online, for kids. Her videos became popular and soon, youngsters began asking her doubts on specific topics. So, she launched Examfear.com, which now has over 72,000 subscribers and around 4,000 videos, on various topics in physics, chemistry, biology, and math, for students of stds. IX to XII. She uses examples from day-to-day life, and she explains concepts in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. She also makes use of pictures and animations when required. A quick recap of complex concepts, along with questions/problems with solutions at the end of each lesson, provides clarity and helps students to understand the concepts better.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 3:42:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/marvellous-mentors/article29339511.ece

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