Pushpa Shukla is a teacher in Primary School Karchiya, Deobhog block, Chhattisgarh. Inspired by her own primary school teacher, she wanted to follow the same path herself since childhood. It became a reality when she got appointed as the first Government school teacher in her family in the year 2009. But teaching turned out to be not as easy as she expected. When despite her constant efforts, the students were unable to read and write even at the end of Std 2, she realized something was missing. She wanted to know more and hence enrolled for D.Ed in 2013. She constantly applied her learnings in class. However, she was still not satisfied. With this constant feeling that there is something more, something that she has missed, she enrolled in the first batch of Early Grade Reading Course conducted by Language and Learning Foundation (LLF) in the year 2016.
From here she learnt about reading strategies like Interactive Reading, importance of oral language development and the use of mother tongue in primary classes. She applied whatever she learnt. Today, she is popularly known as the change maker of her state. Being recognized for her efforts, she is today invited by teachers in her state, NCERT and UNICEF to conduct trainings and to spread her knowledge as well as learnings from her experience in order to benefit maximum children possible.
“I have always been very involved with the kids. I love to talk to them, laugh with them, spend time with them…they are a very important part of my life! One significant improvement that I have worked towards recently is increasing interactive reading in my class. Earlier I used to tell them stories with full enthusiasm and zest, followed by discussion on the story with kids. But the way I do stories now is much more than that– I have understood better what goes into pre reading, during reading and post reading. Now I encourage children to make predictions, I ask question to stimulate their higher order thinking, I connect their reading with writing tasks and much more. I had never thought on these lines earlier! In fact, now I also ensure a print rich class for my children, even if it means that I need to spend from my own pocket. With such change in my classroom practices, I can see clearly the change it is bringing about in my children – how they are becoming more and more confident, more and more engaged and how they are turning into avid readers!”
After 2 months of implementing the lessons from her course with the children of the school, Pushpa fondly talks about some of her success stories.
Murlidhar had learnt to write alphabets from his elder siblings at home. So during the class he would insist on only writing the alphabets and not pay attention to what was going on in the class-he would only ask a aa wala kaam (writing alphabets). Gradually the stories and discussion surrounding the stories encouraged and motivated him to open up. Now he participates enthusiastically in most of the discussions and class activities. As Pushpa says smilingly “This has been one of my biggest achievement. These kids motivate me more and more to do more and more with them. It is extremely satisfying!”
Bhubaneshwar, an extremely diffident child, would sit quietly in the classroom and would never reply to any question. He was extremely irregular and would miss school more than others. I however always gave him attention and encouraged him to do tasks at home whenever he missed his school. With his parents’ help, he completed those tasks. The result is that now he has opened up towards his teachers and his friends. He comes to school regularly and even asks for tasks to do at home!