One Million for One Billion (1M1B) Foundation, a United Nations accredited not-for-profit organisation is holding Lead Z Teacher Awards in July for educators across India who made extraordinary efforts to provide quality education during the pandemic.
1M1B had received 1,000 applications, out of which, 100 teachers were selected; four educators being from Delhi. The final 10 winners will get the opportunity to showcase their work at the sixth edition of the 1M1B Activate Impact Summit scheduled at United Nations, New York in December 2021.
Manav Subodh, while noting that 1M1B had worked with over 10,000 teachers on programmes such as AI and digital creativity, says, “In March 2020, overnight the teachers were asked to change their teaching methods, go online, and expected to keep the students engaged in the new virtual classrooms.
We saw teachers put in hours and hours of behind-the-scenes efforts, dealing with stress and even breaking down due to parents’ unreasonable expectations, zoom bombings and even open criticism as from a closed classroom. Teachers were now in everyone’s living rooms. So, we decided to bring some of these extraordinary efforts to people’s attention.” Below are the four Delhi educators running for the 2021 award under various categories:
Alka Kapur, 54, Principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh
Category: The Social Impactor
The pandemic had a critical impact on children’s education, but under Kapur’s guidance, the school launched three buses — library on wheels, science park on wheels, and roti bank on wheels. The school even established Muskurahat - a 24x7 hotline to keep a check on the mental health of the children where children can vent out their emotions to keep themselves stress free. “I, myself have been taking the calls to assure them that there is someone who would listen to them without any preconceptions,” says Kapur, who has been teaching for 32 years now. As a young girl, she always wanted to work for the underprivileged. “With my pocket money, I used to get them books and even feed them pakoras,” adds Kapur. Her other initiatives are Nav Chetna Shiksha Kendra, a school for the weaker sections of the society; and Roti Bank.
Sheetal Sharma, 27, Chemistry Teacher, Army Public School, Shankar Vihar
Category: The Happiness & Wellbeing Activist
“As facilitators, we need to keep in mind the psychological and understanding levels of every child by providing individual attention and engaging them in ice-breaking activities, experiential learning, art integrated, lab, and fun activities,” says Sharma. Whenever she conducts an Eco-club session with kids, she makes sure to include applications of mathematics, art, science, and other subjects, too.
“I encourage my students to build a love for science by watching sci-fi movies and learn from the struggles of scientists. Some of the interesting club activities I have done with students include measuring the green cover of the school, counting the number of nests in school, making seed bombs, using old tyres to beautify school etc. This approach is a must for the holistic development of a child,” says Sharma, who has been into the profession since 2017. Sharma adds that she makes sure to stand by her students in their achievements and also their failures.
Deepali Rai, 45, Social Sciences Teacher, Mount Carmel School, Dwarka
Category: The Social Impactor
“I believe young students have a lot to contribute from an early age and they can even influence the adults to make change,” adds Rai, a teacher for the past 22 years. She believes in encouraging students, leading by example. “When we deal with students, it is important to use appreciation as a tool to motivate and encourage. So, if they develop the habit of switching off the unused appliances, the energy that they save, may help them earn their favourite chocolate.”
She feels blessed to be a teacher because she has been able to sensitise the masses. “The lockdown was a hurdle initially, but with efforts, I encouraged the students and got the tasks done remotely,” she adds.
Nothing is impossible has been the pandemic’s takeaway for her. “Same goes when it comes to the environment,” adds Rai, whose goal is to see a greener earth and she is taking baby steps towards it.
Nidhi Tewari, 46, Information Technology Teacher, Springdales School, Pusa Road
Category: The STEM champion
During her two-decade career as an educator, Tewari realised that she could not drive all the change in the use of technology, alone. “Hence, I have maintained a special focus on bringing my peers to match the speed. Be it Science, Humanities, Arts or Sports, we use technology at the frontier of driving learning outcomes at every level,” she says.
Thanks to her, the fellow staff are well-versed with the latest developments in cyber security, cyber ethics, technological trends, etc. “However, I derive the utmost satisfaction when the economically weaker and the differently abled students do well,” says Tewari, who received the National Teachers Award in 2018.
Though transitioning into online mode was difficult, she motivated herself to think of it as an opportunity to learn and enhance the knowledge base of not only my students, but also hers. “My life mantra is that an educator has to be a lifelong learner,” she adds.