As we enter Deen Dayal Senior Secondary School in Sonipat, Haryana, the far end of the school boundary hosts an inquisitive and animated class of young students surrounding a bright, young teacher who matches their excitement with
every question he answers.
In a tree shade, 21-year-old Pankaj is explaining to students the benefits and crucial need of planting more trees. The coolness of the shade is palpable, the fruits weighing the tree are tangible, and the birds that call the tree home are clearly visible. The students, under Pankaj, are learning through experience.
“Most of my learning under the NeTT Programme at the DIET took place through experience. Today, I’m convinced, there’s no better teacher than experience,” says Pankaj with conviction and a smile.
A former student at DIET Sonipat, Pankaj graduated from the institution in 2014 after being trained under Humana People to People India’s two-year Necessary Teacher Training Programme (NeTT).
“As a part of the Programme, all of us participated in month-long National Travel wherein we travelled to different parts of the country. For many of my classmates, it was the first time they had stepped out of the state boundary. Many of us experienced train travel for the first time. We may not remember most of what we studied in the class, but what we experienced during that travel will remain with us for the rest of our lives,” he says.
The school environment and the school management’s maturity to improvise in face of mounting educational challenges plays a key role in the ability of teachers such Pankaj to create a positive change inside and outside the classroom. He has been fortunate enough to receive the same at his school.
“Since he joined our school, we could see that Pankaj possesses an unmatched passion to teach and a set of unique skills that can have a long-term impact, not only on students he teaches but also on the culture of knowledge transaction,” says Sanjay, the school Manager.
“Beyond making knowledge generation exciting for students, Pankaj’s presence in the school has also positively influenced how other teachers perceive teaching as a discipline.”
While the clamorous enthusiasm of students surrounding him itself is an affirmation of the joy his students experience in attending school regularly, the data reflecting improvement in grades further consolidates the effectiveness of practicing student-centered teaching methods.
“Primary school students are very impressionable and are quick at grasping concepts. At the upper end of the grades they can also extend their understanding of concepts to its logical end. While I’ve learnt a lot during the two years of my teaching experience, I owe a lot to the previous two years of training under the NeTT Programme,” admits Pankaj.
“It was the NeTT training that made me receptive to the needs ofyoung students, and the responsibility of a teacher to deliver.”
And Pankaj – along with several other teachers like him trained under the NeTT Programme – continues to impart lessons and dispensing his services as a teacher, while leaving indelible impressions on the young minds of his students. Impressions, rendered permanent, through experience.