It All Adds Up For This Mathematics Teacher In Rajasthan
Girija Ojha’s mission as a teacher in Pokhran, Rajasthan, is to demystify mathematics and get his students to enjoy the subject. Villagers call him Ramanujan, after the genius Indian mathematician Srinivas Ramanujan.
Kuldeep Chhangani 4 March 2023 9:48 AM GMT
Pokhran (Jaisalmer), Rajasthan
Girija Ojha enjoys nothing more than dispelling the fear of mathematics he finds in so many of his students. It is this mission he is on as a teacher, he said.
A mathematics teacher of a private school called Saraswati Vidya Mandir in Pokhran in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, Ojha has been teaching mathematics there since 2003. He was only 20 years old then, was in his final year of studying Commerce in college, but had an abiding love for mathematics. He later completed his B.Ed in 2008.
Over the years, Ojha has garnered a reputation of being so good in mathematics that the local people who know him call him Ramanujan (after the genius Indian mathematician Srinivas Ramanujan).
It is not just the students of Saraswati Vidya Mandir who get to learn from him, but also children from other schools also come to him for tuition.
“Many of them cannot afford to pay tuition fees, but I do not mind teaching them for free. Though I studied Commerce in college, I always had a love for numbers. Also, I wondered why there was always so much fear associated with the subject. That made me a mathematics teacher,” the 38-year-old teacher, told Gaon Connection.
“I wanted to help children throw that irrational fear out of their minds and enjoy the subject,” he added.
Explaining how he set about doing this, Ojha said that he encouraged his students to ask him questions. “I realise that children hesitate to ask their doubts fearing ridicule. That leaves many children behind. So in my class I encourage and appreciate students who ask questions,” he said. According to the mathematics teacher, his tactics have worked wonders in his class.
“I focus on strengthening the foundations of mathematics in my students. I approach my classes in a scientific manner. I start by insisting the children learn their tables thoroughly and commit them to memory,” Ojha said.
He added that he ensured they were well versed in knowing how to derive cube roots, square roots, etc. “I know that once they are confident about these basic principles of the subject, they will confidently be able to apply them in any mathematical problem they need to solve,” he added.
“A student actually dropped out of school in 2010 because of fear of maths. Five years later, in 2015, because he wanted to clear his class ten exam, he approached me for help,” Ojha recalled. It was a challenge to teach a student who had dropped out of school so many years ago, he said.
“But I accepted the challenge. The nice thing about Pratap was that he did not hesitate to ask me questions and clarify doubts however insignificant those doubts may have seemed to others. I spent the extra time with him to clarify his doubts,” Ojha said. The coaching by Ojha dispelled any misconceptions Pratap had about mathematics and he passed the tenth exams with a first division. “Today Pratap is a soldier in the Indian Army. He still keeps in touch,” Ojha said with pride.
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