Q. Congratulations on receiving National Award as the Best Teacher. Share with us your teaching experience and what was your first reaction to receiving such a coveted award.
I come from a Pashkyum village in the Kargil district and completed my school education at a Government school. After 12th, I worked in a Private school as a teacher and along with it completed BA from distance learning. I looked for other opportunities to strengthen my skill, thus skipped teaching and did B.Ed and M.Ed from Kashmir University, pursued M A from Maulana Azad National Urdu University, and M. Phil English from Jaipur National University. I completed all the courses with first division and also qualified UGC-NET Education, JK-SET English, and Central Teacher Eligibility Test (C-TET). I secured 1st position in the Teacher Course of RIE Chandigarh Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching of English (PGCTE).
I feel I was a teacher right from when I was in class 3rd because I used to teach children who are younger than me. After finishing all my courses, I did my teacher training in Govt. Boys Middle school Sora in Srinagar for 15 days and it was a day that boosts my morale because the students loved my way of teaching and expressed their willingness to learn from me. The positive response of the students and officials from Kashmir University regarding my teaching skills and methods is something that kept me going on. In 2011, I got selected as a teacher and along with it, I got an opportunity in J&K Bank. I chose to be a teacher because it was something I love to do. Many called me a fool over choosing a teacher because the salary and future growth were more in J&K bank. I did what I wanted to be without any second thought and presently, I am teaching English and Environmental Studies at Middle School Karith.
I believe in the philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore. He said, “A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself.” After school, I do analyze myself and try to figure out whether I did good work today or not, and before class I do prepare the chapter. Hardwork is the key to success, which I truly believe because I did my work with sincerity and dedication today when I am being awarded a such a prestigious award I feel that I was on the right path, and also gives me the strength to do better.
Q. You believe in creating a joyful learning environment. Share us about different innovative methods and techniques adopted.
I tried to localize what I learned in B.Ed and M.Ed because many of the ideas, techniques, and methods cannot be replicated in Ladakh as it is. And in Central Teacher Eligibility Test (C-TET) there is a portion on child psychology that I try to implement in my teaching career. I teach and take steps according to the child’s psychology. For e.g. September – October month is the wedding season and children especially girl students after attending marriages have those wedding songs in their minds. Thus, I try to read English poems and prose in the same tunes and this is how they learn with fun. Another method is Clapping while learning which I introduced after seeing the children chanting “Mumbai may Ek tha school,likhna padhna bay Fuzool” thus understand child psychology, I used the same rhythm for teaching English Phonetics, Grammar, and Vocabulary. To improve reading skills, in my classroom there is a podium where my student stand and read. I record the video while they are reading because when a child reads, it is only the one who listens and observes what he/ she is reading but the one who is reading cannot analyze themselves. Thus, I show the video later in classroom and the child evaluates himself or herself and tries to improve better. Also in Kargil, I observed that children have poor listening skills thus to improve listening skill I am working on making an audio system class also. Teaching via Slogan Technique, Language Games, Enjoying English Speaking, Enjoying EVS, Teaching in the Open Air, Proper Utilization of Digital equipment, Organising Reading Competitions, Writing via Cursive Mode, Story Role Playing, COVID 19 Whatsapp Classroom, Offline Notes, and Online Assessments are other techniques adopted.
All these methods help the students to learn more effectively and efficiently. I believe in making students free from all kinds of stress, mental pressure, and punishments and create joyful learning and teaching environment.
Q. You have published many research papers in different national and international journals including the journal of the Ministry of Education/ NCERT. Share us about the papers.
My research paper entitled, Role of Short Stories in Developing English Listening skill has been published in the Vice of Teachers and Teacher Educators, a reputed journal of the Ministry of Education managed by NCERT. Another research paper, ‘Behaviourism and Cognitivism in Teaching of English as a Second Language is published in an international journal. A module, ‘Using Homophones and Homographs in ESL Classrooms’ is yet to be published the paper has been considered by Maulana Azad National Urdu University.
I also wrote “Contribution of Distance Education for the Tribal Students of District Kargil: An Evaluative Study”, ‘Robert Frost's Poetry begins in Delight and Ends in Wisdom’ and ‘The Holy Trinity of Postcolonial Theory’.
Q. We are witnessing that most of the Govt. schools in Leh District are being closed. What do you think are the reasons for it and what can be done to retain the Government School?
One of the prime reasons behind shutting down the govt. school is lack of support from every section of society. In villages, we see that those who are financially sound send their children to private schools in towns and cities. This needs to be changed. In Lankore the govt. school is adopted as Council Model School and villagers enrolled their children in the govt. school. Today the school is one of the best schools in Kargil. Council Model school adoption is one of the good initiatives to retain government schools but I must urge that Govt. should also focus on schools that are not council model schools. Focusing on making a quality school is a must rather than increasing the number of schools and also good infrastructure, facilities is must to get students. We as a society should work collaboratively to strengthen and promote government schools.
Q. What you will say about the education system in Kargil?
Education system in Kargil is improving and with the help of various government schemes and projects, it is getting better every year. One thing I want to focus upon is that there is a need to strengthen and make the foundation level of the school strong. Focusing on early education is a must because many of us tend to take the primary and middle school level very lightly. A strong foundation is a must for a child’s educational growth.
More training for teachers is must for a good education system. Also, the government must implement the rules and regulations of the National Council of Teacher Education strictly.
Q. What is your advice to the many youths who aspire to become teachers and the ones who is currently serving in a different schools?
Teacher profession should be a choice not by chance. When by choice you become a teacher, there is an interest to carry out the profession. I must say that those who became by chance teacher to develop an interest attend different training and work sincerely. Also, I urge everyone to do B.Ed and M. Ed seriously because it enhances teaching skill.
Message to the readers
“Unity of Leh and Kargil is must for development, peace and harmony. We need to respect, understand and stand for each other to preserve our unique identity, culture and languages.”