Annapurana Mohan changed the look of a Villupuram government school and you will be let awestruck with the changes. “I tried to create a good environment for English in my classroom. I conversed with my students in English from the beginning of the class till the end. In the beginning, some of them didn’t understand it, but in time, they began to respond,” said Annapurna to The News Minute. Interactive smart boards, colorful tables, and chairs and lot of English books to choose from, this classroom in the Panchayat Union Primary School (PUPS), Kandhadu seems as fine as any in a well-funded international school.
However, what’s even better is that the students have an amazing command over the English language which is impeccable. But the students of this classroom are fortunate to have had Annapurana for a teacher, She has not only struggled hard to build her students’ language skills but has even sold her own jewelry to create the kind of classroom she feels her pupils deserve. “I used to teach them in a British accent using phonetics. Teachers in Tamil Nadu don’t use this system and teach English by parroting, which builds a fear of English in students. Through phonetic basics, I taught them the sounds, which helped them read out complicated English words.”
Annapurana makes her classes very interesting and that is by transforming every class of hers into a short skit. This makes the classes more communicative and engaging. “I uploaded a video of a skit on my Facebook, and a teacher saw that and sent a money order of Rs 10 for the student in the video. That student was excited upon getting the money order. And then that student started doing well after being appreciated,” she said.
This encouraged her to post more of her students’ activities on Facebook, and the recognition spread. “People from places like Canada and Singapore also started appreciating them, and even sent in a badminton racquet. It made me think that I have to do something for my students who deserve it,” she added. Within three days, she arranged for the money by selling off her own jewelry and installed a digital smart board system, new furniture, a new floor and even bought books worth Rs 5000 for her students.
“I decided to do it by myself because I did not want to burden anyone. Doing it myself also helped to get it done more efficiently, as I did not have to rely on anyone else,” explains Annapurna.Meanwhile, Annapurna’s interview has garnered her class, even more, attention, with several more people coming forward to help her and her students. With so many offers of funding pouring in, Annapurna now aims to change the methods of teaching used across her school.
“The standards of teaching in government schools are not as good as those in private schools, and parents pay lakhs of rupees for education that is offered for free. With a little bit of effort, government schools can also provide quality education for families who cannot afford the fees of a private school.”