CHITRADURGA: “Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire!” Thus spake legendary Irish litterateur William Butler Yeats, which aptly describes the grit and passion of Mruthyunjaya Swamy S M, a teacher at the Patel Basanna High School in Madanayakanahalli, Chitradurga district.
March 25 – the day the pandemic lockdown set in – schools had to abruptly close down to an uncertain future. Swamy then decided to visit students’ homes and coach them. And he has been carrying out this home tutoring ever since while efficiently maintaining social distancing norms.
Be it Newton’s laws or the Periodic Table, the teacher is there to coach the young ones and resolve any doubts in the realms of physics, chemistry and biology. Apart from Madanayakanahalli, he also travels to nearby Hunasekatte, Chikkappanahalli and Bangarakkanahalli villages to coach them.
He says he was inspired by the words of Prathima, who was the Joint Director at the Commissioner’s Office. “Even though she is no more, I still remember her words about empowering students of rural areas. Whenever she visited our school, she used to tell me: ‘Recall whether you have done justice to the remuneration you receive for your work. If not, introspect yourself and teach them’.
These words encouraged me,” says Swamy. By incorporating innovative teaching techniques, which involve practicals, use of electronic gadgets and even household items, this rural school teacher is very popular among his students. Through lab experiments, videos and other visual teaching aids, he has ensured that his students easily understand different scientific disciplines. Along with this, he also conducts weekly quizzes and mock tests to break the monotony.
“I was weak in optics, Newton’s law of universal gravitation, and some chemistry topics. But thanks to our teacher, I am now quite knowledgeable,” says Anusha H, a student from Chikkappanahalli. The students under Swamy’s tutelage are from the very school he’s employed at. Equipped with his effortless coaching and tips, all the 24 teenagers, including Anusha, are appearing for the ongoing SSLC examinations.
About his teaching techniques, Swamy says, “First and foremost, I monitored the students carefully to know what they did at home, and then took up refreshing their knowledge chapter-wise. After that I asked them questions to gauge their level of knowledge. In case of their failure, I would refresh the topics rigorously and brief them about the difficult portions in any chapter.” “Now, all 24 students are thorough in their subjects and can answer any question on the same.
I also framed mock question papers, directed them to answer them, which I evaluated. In case of any problems, they were clarified on the spot,” he says, adding that he has taught tirelessly for 12 hours daily, free of cost. In the two months of the lockdown, Swamy used to travel 30-40km every day, despite fears of Covid-19, to teach.
“During the initial days, the police would stop me at check-points, but when I apprised them about my task of imparting lessons to students in villages, they would allow me to pass. In due course, I was permitted to move more freely.” Thanks to Swamy, the students are able to attune themselves to their studies, handle their exams, and wait for that day when the morning bell rings again.