Reported for KM by Bisma Bhat
Srinagar, 23 Aug 2020
Roohi Sultana’s day starts with collecting scrap from the roads and shops in the old city. For 49-year-old government school teacher, collecting chips wrappers, soap covers, empty tetra packs, mango seeds, and butter papers are cost-effective tools for teaching tiny tots.
“I write Huroof-i-Tehji on white plastic butter containers. I ask students to identify particular alphabets. I then ask them to pronounce the word and make a sentence. They enjoy learning and do not feel bored,” she said.
For her unconventional teaching and dedication, she was conferred prestigious National Award for Teachers 2020 by the Ministry of Education, Government of India.
Hailing from Nowshera area of Srinagar, Roohi is posted at Government Primary School Danger Pora, Tailbal. Most of the students are from a poor background and the school has only one classroom for six classes.
“I many times purchased powdered lime from my own pocket to whitewash classrooms. I myself whitewashed the walls and do not feel any shame,” Roohi said.
She has been inventing many innovative and creative methods of teaching to make education interesting for rural kids.
“I feel no shame for asking leftover from the shopkeepers. Last time I went to a diagnostic lab to get some tests done. They were installing a new machine and throwing off its wrappings. I requested them to give the wrapping paper to me and carried that to my school. I pasted that on the lower wall of the classroom so that students can use it for writing,” Roohi said.
Roohi has shunned the traditional ways of teaching. Rather than asking students to mug up things, she encourages them to assemble different shapes and alphabets from the scrap in order to clear their concept.
“I do not force students to use a pencil or paper. Rather I made them do things practically. This way they did not get bored and motivate others to join the school,” she said.
Teaching has been a passion for 49-year-old Roohi since her childhood. She always wanted to become a teacher not just to earn money but to educate the poor which she thinks is the service to God.