Wednesday, September 26, 2012

65 years of independence!

Mere desh ki dharthi…Mere desh ki dharthi, sona uglee, uglee hire moti…! What a great song! Penned by Gulshan Bawara! I just love this song, but I happen to listen to it only during national festivals. I am sure it would be a great experience for the residents of metros to drive to the countryside once in a while, enjoy the breeze and the greenery, the aroma of the soil, reminding us that we belong Mother India. We, the EFF team, celebrated Independence Day in Gandeed village; it was indeed a great experience! Green fields, fresh morning air, black clouds and the cool climate rejuvenated us.
On the way we came across a parade by school students on the roads of Mahboobnagar.  In the midst of the road, pupils were performing stunts and dances. Slogans of ‘Vandemataram’ ‘Bharatmata ki Jai’ etc reverberated through the air. Little girls in traditional attire were looking so pretty. The processions were an exercise in showcasing their schools.
Pupils performing folk dance in traditional attire.
Also promoting their school in the neighboring areas:

Students carrying national flag.
 I was fascinated to see the longest ‘Tiranga’ (The Indian Tricolor) carried by the pupils of a school in the same area. It was nice! Made my childhood days flash in my mind for a moment.
In the school I had to give a speech. I was not tense as I should have been, since it was my first time standing in front of the podium, but I was wondering how to start. I made it simple by choosing the topic, ‘India in London Olympics 2012’, with some statistics of the Indian population versus medals won.  Sudha, my colleague, had done good homework on the speech and presented it well on the stage.

Kondamma(C) has bagged the cash award who topped the school in SSC.

We had collected a sum of money from our PurpleTalk* friends to give cash prizes to the 10th class toppers of the March 2012 batch. I convey my thanks to all the contributors, who made the children happy for their achievements, and expect same support from them and others in future. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Seasoned in teaching, new to blogging

I’m new to this site as a writer. Hope you will like my posts! This post is all about my journey with EFF. I've been associated with EFF since 2008 and successfully completed four years on August 21st. It all started when I came to volunteer with EFF. I was a call center executive in a well known BPO at that time. The day I was introduced to EFF is a memorable one in my life. On a heavily drenched rainy day, I with an umbrella, enjoying the monsoon, was searching for the address of EFF research center. After searching for an hour amidst heavy rain, I found it at last with a phone call. That was the first time ever I came up to volunteer for something. I was amazed to see Amongla, Sridhar and Nilesh, working for such a great cause. I was excited as I expressed my passion for teaching and shared my past teaching experiences. After a week I got a call from Amongla, I literally jumped with joy to receive her call; she asked me to come again. I was interviewed, had to give a demonstration class-Trigonometry was the topic chosen for the demo class- and I got through :) Appointed as full time teacher with EFF!.

Virtual classroom is an inspiring software. So user friendly that newbies to technology can easily learn all about it and get started. I got used to the software within no time. While teaching through virtual classroom, you listen your voice back [echo]. Initially it confused me but day by day I got used to it and now I cannot teach without echo :P.

My way of teaching:

Basically I’m a Mathematics teacher. I completed my professional degree ‘Bachelors of Education’ in methodologies Math & English, but I can teach General science and Social studies as well. Here I would like to thank Sridhar for encouraging me. Sometimes we’ve to go beyond our expertise. I follow Socratic way of teaching. Start a topic with a barrage of questions. I feel probing is an effective tool to introduce a lesson. And I believe in giving ample examples for a topic for all aspects of the subject. Provide opportunity for speaking – a classroom should be child-centered, a teacher has to give freedom for them to speak and express their ideas and doubts without hesitation or shyness. Praise your students, it’s a catalyzing factor. In and out of the class a teacher should clear all doubts, irrespective of them being intellectual or absolutely silly. 

 I listen to the radio; it’s my favorite leisure activity. ‘RJ’ Prathika in Red FM is my favorite. I often copy her (copy cat :P) presentation style in my virtual teaching. I’ll take care to talk about only informative topics laced with a touch of humor at times . We’ve got to be pleasant and put a big smile on the kids’ faces while teaching virtually. This reflects a positive approach to pupils. People appreciate me for being energetic and enthusiastic while teaching [beating my own drums] :D 

EFF teachers have to do a lot of research for any lesson – go through sample ppt’s, sites related, videos, images etc. I feel lucky. Researching gives you lot of information, data, and unknown facts and in depth perspectives on the topic. Sometimes, it takes days and weeks to prepare one presentation effectively. I gained so much preparing lesson plans for virtual teaching.

Hayathnagar, Thorur, Koheda, Suraram, Shapurnagar, Ibrahim patnam, Thandoor, Choutuppal, Gandeed, Doma, Chaderghat, Chanchalguda, Yakatpura and the list goes on and on. These are the places I visited to survey schools; totally in three districts of Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda.
Talking with Math teachers of ZPHS in Suraram Village
With English teacher Mrs.Meeraj of Govt Girls High School, Yakatpura
Discussing with KGBV Principal, at Choutuppal

Visiting schools in different places gives us a lot of information – small classrooms, no toilets or play grounds, insufficient space, good and bad faculty, passionate teachers, infrastructure, students, discipline etc.

RTI, has been implemented as a law in India since 2005. But I hardly observe people using it. I did take the help of RTI to get the information about govt. schools in AP from DSE [Director of School Education] office. Felt proud to receive the data, from the additional director of DSE.

I’ve paid plenty of visits to Doorsanchar Bhavan, BSNL Bhavan, Collectorate bhavan and DSE office; with regards to seek permission for virtual classes in government schools. I can’t forget how I struggled to get it done. Truly, government offices in India are the same everywhere; we need immense patience to get our work done. I prefer non-corrupt officials and dislike recommendation; so far I never bribed anyone.

Personally I didn’t receive any awards; but students recognize me as synonymous to virtual teaching, that’s a big achievement.

Real achievement is that virtual classroom reached rural India, and I played a pivotal role in it. 

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