Teacher’s Diary: Picking peas in the field with students helped a teacher bring village kids to school
By fostering camaraderie amongst his students and encouraging them to take part in sports, teacher Rakesh Vishwakarma has watched his students go from strength to strength as they win trophies in state sporting events. Vishwakarma shares his journey in this school.
Rakesh Vishwakarma 6 April 2023 9:19 AM GMT
Just like we choose to read topics that interest us in the newspaper, children too will engage better when subjects are made interesting and attractive to them. If we manage to teach them in a playful manner, then even games have the potential to become a medium of education.
When I joined the Civilian Model Upper Primary School in Sainaya Jat village in Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh, it had only 123 children. I had a feeling that these children were not particularly engaged with whatever was being taught to them. I told myself that I had to find innovative ways of teaching that would hold their interest.
But, before I could do that, there was another problem I had to surmount. Most of the children did not attend school regularly. When as teachers we went to the homes of the children to find out why they were not coming to school, we realised the families were in a straitened financial situation.
One day, not finding the children in class, I decided to find out where they were. They had gone to the fields to pick peas. I joined them and began to pluck the peas standing side by side with them.
I struck a deal with them. I told them I would help them harvest the peas on Sundays if they came to school for the rest of the week.
This was the beginning of the friendship with my students and slowly, they began to come to class.
Today, there are nearly 300 children in our school. And, most of them share their joys and sorrows with me freely.
I also began to encourage them to participate in sporting activities and they began to excel in them, and soon they were participating in competitions outside the school and winning. That really boosted their morale.
The students have been winning consistently for the past five years, and have even won trophies at the state level. This has made their parents very proud. And, they are now more invested in the education of their children who are also performing creditably in academics.
By fostering camaraderie amongst students and encouraging them to take part in sports, I have watched my students go from strength to strength as they win trophies in state sporting events. This has enhanced the enrollment in the village government school, slowed down drop out rates, improved the academic standards of the children and made their parents more invested in their education.
When it is the children’s birthdays, I gift them t-shirts and tracksuits. The village head also distributed ties and belts to them. The district magistrate appreciated the gesture. I also buy them stationery so that they remain engaged with their books and studies.
As told to Ambika Tripathi, an intern with Gaon Connection.
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