From textbook to Facebook: Krishnaveni is teaching English and transforming livesThink Change India
Government schools in Tamil Nadu are generally known for lacking basic facilities. As a result, most teachers are not motivated to give students their 100 percent. Krishnaveni, however, has proved that where there is a will, there is a way.
An English teacher, she worked at a private school until 2004, after which she was posted at a government school in Vizhupuram. Teaching there opened her eyes to some shocking realities about government schools. In her words,
One day I asked the Class VIII students to write answers for a series of questions from the chapter I had taught. I realised that except for one student, no one else could write in English. Even that one student could not read and I came to know that he had just memorised the answers and written them.
It was a wake-up call for her which made her understand certain ground realities, including the fact that the majority of the children were from poor households, with neither the motivation to study nor any understanding of the importance of education. Hence, she started adopting innovative methods of teaching which, unlike monotonously reading from a textbook, would create interest among students.
Krishnaveni slowly started seeing a change in her students' attitude towards learning; she is proud of the fact that one of her students, who could not read English, went on to successfully get an MBA.
A few years later, she was transferred to Nallambakkam government school where the situation was no better than Vizhupuram when she had first arrived there.
To help herself come up with better ideas, she took part in the training given by British Council for English teachers in the year 2008. Now, the students in the school are not scared of English and they enjoy learning the language. Talking about how she makes English interesting to her students, she says,
Occasionally, I ask the students to act out parts of syllabus in the form of dramas, record it and show it to them through a projector.
She started a Facebook page five years back, at a time when the social media platform hadn't become so popular. The page, Nallambakka Panchayat Union Middle School, was started not just to exhibit the talents of the students but also to share the innovative ways that can be adopted by other teachers. As expected, a lot of teachers inspired by Krishnaveni have started adopting similar efforts in their schools.
Apart from that, Nallambakkam school has also started getting sponsorship from people, which helps it deal with financial constraints.
The dedicated teacher is happy that her students have actively started participating in events and competitions taking place not just in Tamil Nadu but all over India and have been bringing home a lot of prizes.
Krishnaveni strongly believes that all of this has been possible because of the constant support she receives from her family. She has been saying no to all the promotions that come her way as that would mean a transfer to another school in another place.
Read this in Tamil