Teacher’s Day: The journey of Teacher Connection by Gaon Connection
Teachers in rural India fight battles every day and win invisible wars, but no one applauds them. Teacher Connection is Gaon Connection’s effort to celebrate teachers. So far, we have published 372 text stories and 81 video stories of educators. And will continue to document many more.
Nidhi Jamwal 5 Sep 2023 5:44 AM GMT
On Teacher’s Day today, September 5, Gaon Connection has released a compendium of stories of teachers and educators. Titled ‘100 Tales of Teachers Transforming Education in Rural India’, it is a one-of-its-kind collection of stories of teachers from across the country, with a strong focus on educators from rural and tribal areas.
This book, which is part of Gaon Connection’s Teacher Connection project and is available for a free download on our website, has a hundred tales of teachers, and there is a tale behind putting this book together. So let me start with the latter first.
December 2022. Gaon Connection had just turned ten and it was the right time to look back at the vast body of work of India’s biggest rural communication and insights platform, and the impact it has made on the lives of millions of people in rural India.
It was also time to pause and reflect, about the way ahead, and how better to create more impact, as Neelesh Misra, founder of Gaon Connection, always keeps reminding us.
It was during an editorial meeting he spoke about the need to document stories — in video, text and audio formats — of teachers and educators in the villages of the country. He referred to it as the ‘Teacher Connection’.
To be honest, my first response was less than enthusiastic and that was followed by a hundred questions — “Stories of rural teachers? Won’t they be repetitive as most teachers do the same thing — teach? Will anyone want to read or watch them? Will teachers share their stories with us considering how the media often vilifies them who teach in village schools with bare minimum resources?”
But Neelesh ji is OG, a visionary who can look ahead, and he also happens to be my boss. So on January 3 this year, on revolutionary teacher Savitribai Phule’s birth anniversary, Gaon Connection launched its long term project — Teacher Connection.
Teachers build nations but they are not acknowledged enough. Teachers in rural India fight battles every day and win invisible wars, but no one applauds them.
Teacher Connection is Gaon Connection’s effort to celebrate teachers. Through this project, we are informing, documenting, and archiving at one place (Teacher Connection section on Gaon Connection’s homepage) all the good practices of teaching and learning, innovations in education, importance of foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN), modern teaching aids, and resources that can help teachers become better educators. The best bit of this campaign is that our content is created with an active participation of the teachers themselves.
As the Teacher Connection project started to unfold and stories of teachers from far flung villages and tribal regions in the country started pouring in, we became aware of a whole new world and the immense opportunities to impact millions of young lives.
Using Gaon Connection’s biggest strength — community resource persons, community journalists, network of contributors and freelancers spread out in 425 districts of the country — we met teachers in some of the remotest locations in the country — from a village in Kargil, a tribal hamlet in Nagaland, an adivasi village in a tiger reserve of Panna in Madhya Pradesh…
India has over 640,930 villages and almost each village has a primary school. That is why it comes as no surprise that India’s teaching workforce is amongst the largest in the world.
Nearly 9.7 million primary and secondary school teachers form the backbone of our education system, which has 1.5 million schools and 248 million students enrolled from Grade 1 to Grade 12.
Of the total schools in the country, 84 per cent are located in rural areas. And 69 per cent of our schools are run by various state governments that employ about 51 per cent of the teaching workforce.
Despite their huge strength, how little we know about our teaching workforce. Teachers are to be found in the deepest, farthest pockets of the country. They educate, groom and influence their students to become upright citizens of our country. But we never see their faces or hear their voices.
Thanks to the Teacher Connection project, every day my team and I now wait to see what new and inspiring story we will read, edit and publish about the doughty teachers. So far, we have published 372 text stories in Hindi and English; and 81 video stories on Gaon Connection’s YouTube channel.
As the project gathered steam and thousands of teachers joined our campaign, we decided to start an e-magazine to further build the voice of the teaching workforce and also offer teachers resource materials and online toolkits to become better teachers. Our monthly e-magazine, Teacher Connection, was launched in March this year.
Since then, we have been releasing the magazine every month with each issue focusing on a key theme — YouTuber rural teachers, rural sports coaches, teachers of children with special needs, and so on. All the issues of the e-magazine are available for a free download on our website (https://www.gaonconnection.com/surveys-reports).
This book — 100 Tales of Teachers Transforming Education in Rural India — is the next step in our journey with the 9 million plus teaching workforce of the country.
This book, divided into eight broad sections, is a unique document not just for teachers but for anyone and everyone who is related to, or is interested in the education sector.
Education is the most important tool for the transformation of society. Look back at your journey of life and your achievements, and you will find that there were teachers along the way who cheered you and helped you get to where you are today.
It takes a village to raise a child and who knows it better than teachers who are not only silently building young lives but also bringing about social change and leading the country towards true development.
Hope you enjoy reading this book as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
To download 100 Tales of Teachers Transforming Education in Rural India, click here.