Dr. Indira reminisces about her journey with STIR Education which started in 2012 with the very first set of INNOVATORS. At that time her innovation, “CONVERSE” was only an idea. She always wanted to teach English to children from disadvantaged backgrounds through conversation. Her innovation took concrete shape only after STIR recognised it. She implemented it in her school in November 2012 and was further asked to implement in all seven branches of the school in April 2013. The programme is running in all seven schools for classes 1 and 2.
She observed that students in higher classes were also not able to read English because of which they could not do well in other subjects too. She started special classes for them in her free time. During the course of these classes she made another innovation, PLAY-ENG, teaching English through games. She continues to take classes before school and is now called “READING CLINIC”. What was a great achievement for her was when one of her students who came for these classes, Harish Vikram, scored 9 CGPA in X Board exams and stood second in school. Another student, Prashant, who is in class IX now, came for the classes when he was in class 7. And now his language has improved to such an extent that he can easily frame answers on his own.
It gives her a sense of satisfaction that she has created awareness among the major stakeholders of the school about the problem that has to be addressed on a war footing. Last year the school management created a special section for students who cannot read and a teacher was especially assigned to teach them reading skills. Moreover each teacher of the school was asked to adopt two students and teach them to read.
In December 2015 she was selected as one of the winners of competition held by Paper seed Foundation. With the support of STIR and some donors she has set up a Library cum Activity Room for the Primary section of her school. The library has books in English, Hindi and Tamil. It has many games and learning materials.
After retirement the management has offered me two years extension to do my project exclusively. She says, "The journey has not been a bed of roses. There have been disappointments and despair, frustration and tears, trials and tribulations, jealousy and envy, mistakes and mindblocks! One must learn to have realistic expectations and persevere. One should learn to find an opportunity in every adversity. You should be like water - adapting to every shape but still managing to find one's own path!"