The Ganjurwadi ZP school in Chakur tehsil of Latur district in Maharashtra is a typical government primary school having four classrooms and run by two teachers. But Gopal Suryavanshi Sir of this school got national recognition recently when he received the ‘President’s Ideal Teacher’ award on 5th September 2017. I visited this school to find out how his name and his work got attention at the national level.
As I entered the school, I was greeted by students wearing colourful clothes. Then the students did an impressive experiment about air pressure. At first the students filled up a bottle halfway with coloured water and closed it with a valve on top. Then using a pump, through this valve, they filled up the empty space in the bottle with air. They later closed the valve with ‘m-seal’. After this they attached the bottle to a rope one end of which was tied to the school building and another to a large tree facing it. The moment a teacher opened the valve, the bottle moved swiftly from one side to another accompanied by a piercing sound, spraying the coloured water like a fountain as it went along. This is one of the experiments done in this school to make the students understand the concept of air pressure. The school is full of such educational resources.
As Suryavanshi Sir is fond of art and drawing, he has painted the entire school by himself using his own funds and while doing so he has also painted the entire solar system on the ceiling of one of the classrooms. There is an array of material made out beads, card paper and strands of beads to teach the students the numbers and alphabets. As far as possible Sir makes use of waste material to make these educational resources.
A game to help students learn the place value of numbers, is made up of old water bottles and a cycle/scooter tyre. The tyre is laid on the ground with the bottles stuck on it at intervals. (as can be seen in the picture). Each bottle has a place value written on it starting from units and tens going up to lakhs and crores. The students are given a 7-8 digit number, then they quickly form a group such that each student represents one digit of that number. Next, each one stands near a bottle with the appropriate place value, calling out the number as they do so. eg. the number 35,89,61,234 will be formed by 9 students each representing one digit of the number. Then each one will stand at the appropriate place value in this manner: (3) 10 crore, (5) crore, (8) 10 lakh, (9)lakh, (6) ten thousand , (1) one thousand, (2) hundred, (3)ten and (4)unit, making: 35 crore, 89 lakhs, 61 thousand 234.
Sometimes using the same number students are asked to arrange the digits in the ascending and descending order or odd and even numbers etc. All such games and activities have helped the students master their mathematical skills.
Suryavanshi Sir’s students also play dumb charades to guess numbers and words. Sir has fixed certain signs /actions /gestures for the entire alphabet and digits from 0-9. on the basis of this students form numbers running up to crores! Suryavanshi Sir has demonstrated this novel methodology to the officials at MSCERT as well (Maharashtra State Council for Educational Research Training). Suryavanshi Sir says, “Most of the students belong to the marginal farmers or farm labourers. Education is their only hope. So both of us teachers try to provide as good quality an education as possible to each of our students.”
Suryavanshi Sir joined this school, in the year 2007. He says.”The school did not even have a building. The classes used to be held in the village temple. But then a senior member of the village Babruvan Shinde donated this 60*55 sq ft land to the school and we could thus build our classrooms. The village community here is quite poor and can not help the school financially. So I have spent almost five lakh rupees from my pocket for improving the school infrastructure like painting, some educational resources, shed and other repairs.”
Sir has even decorated the daily timetable artistically. The school gets many good quality books and magazines so that the students get an early exposure to good quality literature. He himself pays to get the ‘Balsadhana’ Diwali magazine which was first started by Sane Guruji (a teacher, social activist and a noted freedom fighter from Maharashtra). One can see the dedication with which Suryavanshi Sir works for the all round development of his students.
Blog & photographs: Snehal Bansode-Sheludkar
Translation & editing: samata.shiksha team