“GururBrahma GururVishnu GururDevo Maheshwaraha
Guru Saakshaat ParaBrahma Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha”
A teacher goes above and beyond the regular duties to truly make an impact on a student, school, district or community. Teachers are remarkably giving people. They share their knowledge, provide guidance and inspire their students daily. We revere teachers for the incredible role they play in recognising their students’ hidden potential and in moulding their students to realise their full potential. And, while we do revere them, that doesn’t suffice for the wonderful work they do in shaping our country. So, Learning Matters has made a humble effort to recognize and reward these extraordinary individuals through our Star Educator Awards.
Learning Matters has been working to equip teachers and students with pedagogically-designed digital and non-digital tools and skill development. Our efforts are aimed at retaining the teacher as a key player in the learning equation. The Star Educator Awards is our humble initiative to show our perennial support for the teaching community and to recognize some of the finest teaching talents. With hundreds of nominations pouring in from across the country, it was truly heartwarming to see the manner in which people were supporting the educators in their lives - be it their current or past teachers or colleagues.
The Star Educator Awards Gala concluded successfully on the 12th of September with inspirational sessions by distinguished guest speakers Mrs. Geeta Dharmarajan and Dr. Rajagopal G. Mrs. Geetha Dharmarajan, Padma Shri Awardee, renowned writer, storyteller, and the Founder of Katha, spoke about keeping students engaged online using story pedagogy. Dr. Rajagopal, former Dean and Professor of The English and Foreign Language University and a celebrated author, addressed the audience’s burning questions about the implications and ramifications of the New Educational Policy (NEP) during his ‘Ask Me Anything’ session.
And the nine inspirational educationists who were felicitated at the event shared their unique thoughts and perspectives on teaching that have made them heroes to their students and schools.
Winner: Excellence in Creative Teaching
Mr. Naidu has co-founded “Shiksharth” a grassroots organization that is working towards improving the quality of education in rural and Naxal-affected tribal areas in Sukma, Chattisgarh through implementation of action-based research and contextual education solutions.
Mr. Naidu on receiving the award said that teaching is the most creative profession and to be a teacher naturally means to be creative. He further dedicated the award to all the teachers who are making sure that children are learning in the distressing times of pandemic.
Winner: Excellence in Teaching Social Studies
Ms. Varsha Singh is a social-studies teacher at Delhi Public School South, Bengaluru. She is passionate about using practical activities to augment the learning experiences of students.
Ms. Singh on receiving the award took the chance to share a few tips and tricks to make social science interesting for students. She said connecting the past and the present is highly crucial to keep students interested in the subject. So, one has to go beyond the textbook and utilize additional resources. These could be either including music or art forms in teaching or making it visual by planning a digital gallery walk or even a skype call with historians, as an example.
Winner: Excellence in Teaching Languages
Mr. Adheesh is an avid Sanskrit lover who works as a Sanskrit teacher at Air Force School. He loves the idea of changing the belief that learning Sanskrit is difficult and has started a Sanskrit Theatre along with his students as well as made Sanskrit movies. He has also created a YouTube channel to promote Sanskrit learning through movie media.
Mr. Adheesh on receiving the award shared that the best way to teach a language is by offering more than just a simple textual method to learn. Language learning should be explored through other mediums like movie making which aids students to learn other skills as well while learning the language.
Winner: Excellence in Teaching Mathematics
Ms Farida Ali is a Mathematics teacher at MSB Educational Institute, Nagpur. She believes in training students to build on their creative and emotional intelligence and to do so, devises a dynamic lesson plan that addresses student’s strengths and weaknesses.
Ms. Ali upon receiving the award said Mathematics is universal and crucial. A teacher can make the subject interesting by explaining how mathematical concepts can be applied in real life. Manipulatives play a critical role in determining students’ interest towards the subject. Thus, a teacher has to adopt an activity-based approach.
Winner: Excellence in Digital Innovation
Mr Deepak is an Assistant School Leader at Infant Jesus MHSS, Kalpakkam. He is the technical lead of the project Reading Genius - Bilingual Stories which is one of the finalists of the British Council’s ELTons Innovation Contest under the Local Innovation category. He also leads Project Prayogshala, an initiative to bring out the maker culture in India.
On receiving the award Mr Dennison said that it is important for adults to understand their own strengths, weaknesses and insecurities. He further stated that, “Insecurities can’t be overcome by developing solutions to undermine the weakness but they should build solutions to leverage the strength”.
Winner: Excellence in Teaching Science
Ms. D Mary Sorna Rani is a teacher at Bhavan’s Adarsha Vidyalaya, Kakkanad, Kochi. She was awarded the CBSE Best Teacher award in 2017-2018 and she was also nominated by CBSE to be a part of MHRD’s International Teacher Exchange Program to Japan in 2019.
Ms. Mary on receiving the award shared her thoughts on how a teacher can make science an interesting subject for students. To teach a fascinating subject like Science one needs to create curiosity around it. Curiosity makes our brain more receptive towards learning. Also, the kind of questions asked also play a vital role. Furthermore, she said questions need to be framed in a way to trigger inquisitiveness among students to probe and learn more.
Winner: Excellence in Teaching Non-Scholastic Activities
Mr. Rajnikant Mishra is a founder of S M Sportathon Pvt Ltd. He has been honored by the Elets world education summit (2015, 2016) and ReThink India (2018) for his commendable contribution to sports.
Mr. Mishra on receiving the award shared the significance of being physically active for everyone to maintain their immunity and strength. Teachers, in particular, tend to neglect their own health and this is of paramount significance during a pandemic situation. He advised that people must try their best to indulge in physical activity such as yoga and aerobics or just walking around the room.
Winner: Excellence in Teaching Children With Special Needs
Ms. Santhi Karamacheti is the founder of EDventure Academy in Bangalore and had also co-founded Eka Educational & Charitable Trust. She is one of the top-50 finalists of the Global Teacher Prize, dubbed as the Nobel prize for Teachers, in the year 2016.
Ms. Karamcheti on receiving the award spoke about her mission in life which is to mainstream children and young adults with disabilities into schools and employment by making inclusion a norm. She said inclusion is something we all want but don’t know how to achieve. It starts with you accepting everyone and not discriminating against anyone for their disability. Inclusion is not an end product but a lifestyle.
Winner: Excellence in Inclusive Leadership by a Principal
Ms. Parvathy E is the principal at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kerala. She has been a Resource Person for the COE, CBSE, and has been conducting workshops for senior secondary teachers, both online and offline. She also has been a head examiner for the AISSCE.
The Star Educator Awards Gala was an evening filled with learning and motivation. Every winner shared their ingenious method of imparting education effectively, which was truly inspiring.