K. Suresh Kumar and V. Sathya Jose, teachers from the district, have more than one thing in common. Both have dedicated their life not just to teaching but to inspiring students to think unconventionally and creatively. Their efforts have fetched them the National Award for Best Teacher 2012-13 instituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in their respective category.
54-year-old Suresh Kumar, who won the award in the high school category, trains his students students at the Abraham Memorial Higher Secondary School, Thirumala, here, to learn physics through experiments rather than through textbook. He taught a full chapter on ‘electricity’ solely through experiments and activity-based sessions, which earned him the National Award for New Teaching Methods in 2004 instituted by the National Council for Educational Research and Training.
“Children often complain that they find it difficult to solve the application-level questions in physics. That is because the basics of physics should be taught through experiments,” says the teacher, who has been a member of the State Textbook Preparation Committee since 1998.
His passion for physics prompted him to take a loan to set up a physics museum for the students so that they can conduct experiments.
“Allow children to learn on their own. Parents, who do not let them out of their cocoon of care, are doing more harm to their personality than good,” says the teacher, who regularly conducts personality developments classes across schools.
The story is no different at the Government Tribal Lower Primary School, Aryanad, in the district where initiatives taken by their headmaster have helped children from tribal areas make their mark in both curricular and extra-curricular activities.
Mr. Jose, who has been in the service for 33 years, started off by encouraging the close-knit tribal community to get involved in school activities.
This included starting a breakfast scheme for children with the help of local people, inviting parents to field trips, and organising medical camps.
“The idea is to make the people understand how community participation can strengthen the functioning of a school. It is necessary to build a healthy environment in schools so that both parents and teachers feel positive about education,” said Mr. Jose, who was awarded the Best Assistant Project Officer (1998), while working with the Kerala State Literacy Mission.
‘Communicate at ease in English,’ a training programme for teaching communicative English, was perhaps one of the most important steps taken by this teacher to build the confidence of his students.
The new curriculum and textbook developed for promoting Malayalam language and the eco-friendly classrooms built using materials collected by the tribal community are other notable achievements.
President Pranab Mukerjee will present the award on September 5, National Teachers Day, in New Delhi.