Schools

Translating promises into results

LEADING BY EXAMPLE: T. Godwin Rajkumar with students at the Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Alanganallur. Photo: R. Ashok   | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

For the first time in 12 years, physically challenged S. Jayaprakash celebrated his birthday with a cake. The pleasant surprise was a gift from his beloved physical education teacher T. Godwin Vedanayagam Rajkumar. So much is the love for the teacher that his students place him on a pedestal, look up to him as a role model and print flex boards in his honour. Godwin is very much like the Dayalan of Sattai movie, an altruist teacher who goes to any extent and takes upon risks to help his students shine. If the Alanganallur Boys Higher Secondary School has a full fledged basketball court and a boxing rink now, it’s because of Godwin.

Nearly two decades ago, when Godwin stepped into the battered Government school as a P.E.T, he had to literally move the earth to bring in changes. Roping in students, he went ahead clearing the decks to introduce sports in a big way in the school. From chiselling the defunct basketball court, providing mineral water to students, paying educational expenses for poor boys and bringing packed food for sports persons to encouraging students to take part in sports, Godwin is the key motivator and the doer. “He is like an angel for us and we are truly blessed to have him as our teacher,” says S. Raja, an alumnus of the school, who is now a swimming coach in a city hotel.

The Alanganallur school shelf now overflows with medals and shields won by students at various tournaments. The school boasts of having accomplished teams of Basketball, Boxing, Silambam and Swimming. “There’s so much of talent in rural schools which has to be tapped. We train with bare minimum or sometimes even nil facilities. We don’t confine ourselves to a pool for practicing swimming. We have a channel that runs from here to Ramnad, where our boys hone their swimming skills. To travel to the city just for few hours of practice would cost them at least Rs.50 which most of them can’t afford,” says Godwin. “I am determined to make a difference in the lives of these students. Their skills shouldn’t go waste just because they lack the background and orientation. Most of them lack confidence and get scared by the glitzy sports world outside and I counsel them to believe in themselves and pursue the sport sincerely.”

Godwin’s accomplishment is due to his efforts to channelize the energy of the youth of Alanganallur and surrounding villages. It has yielded desired result as many of his students are now placed in Government jobs in the Police department, Indian Military and Railways. “Sports is a great way to get into Government jobs and the village youths can make use of that. Initially, I faced resistance to the changes I sought to bring in and I had to go door-to-door convincing parents to send their wards for sports.” Godwin’s wife Rachel is also a teacher and supports him in his endeavours. “She never stopped me from helping students. In fact, she complements my ideas to improve the sporting standard of the school,” he says.

Godwin never hesitates to spend from his pocket for the students. “But for him, I wouldn’t be what I am today. It was because of his timely help that I took part in School Games Federation of India (SGFI) Judo nationals at Pune and brought laurels to the school,” remembers C. Ramachandran, who is now a P.E.T at Lakshmi School in Veerapanchan.

When the institution, one of the oldest Government Schools to have an NCC unit, was on the verge of winding up its office, Godwin stepped in to revive the unit.

A recipient of Dr. Radhakrishnan Best Teacher Award 2014 and Pearson Teaching National Award 2015, Godwin realises what hinders the progress of Government school students. “If proper infrastructure is provided, students of Government schools can do wonders. They have the calibre,” he adds.

Factfile:

Godwin has continuously been awarded the Best PET by the District Sports Development Council since 2005.

He has organised Girls state boxing championship for two years and now is the coach of the Tamil Nadu Boxing Team, taking them to Warangal for a National Tournament

Under his tutelage the school’s judo and boxing teams have won several medals at the SGFI tournaments.


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Printable version | Jun 10, 2021 3:50:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/schools/Translating-promises-into-results/article14607256.ece

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