“Teaching is a noble profession. As teachers we are involved in building the base of society and I feel that I can contribute directly towards its betterment.”
Initially set out to be an IAS officer, Mrs. Rita Gangwar decided to pursue the B. Ed degree at the behest of her father. 15 years later, she is thankful to him for his advice on taking this path. An Economics teacher of 11th and 12th standard in GGSS School, Shahdara, Rita Ma'am works with the mindset that each child has something unique to bring to class. Inspired by her Biology teacher who used to approach teaching as a collaboration between teachers and students instead of a one way process, Mrs. Gangwar tries to use the same philosophy in her interaction with the class. With this outlook, she tries to encourage discussion in her classroom, understand students' perspective and engage with them on non-academic matters as well.
Distinctive in her ideas, Rita Ma'am feels that STIR has helped develop an attitude of collaboration between teachers. “Working with STIR has reawakened the spirit of innovation in me! Initially it was difficult to get everyone together and have good discussions because we were trying to break out from the status quo, but slowly we are making progress.”
As a shared challenge in her school, the network teachers decided to tackle the problem of late submission of assignments in senior class students by co-creating a micro innovation. The idea of giving positive praise and feedback to all students who submitted on time was suggested by a teacher to address this on-going problem. Although a little doubtful about the response to this experiment, Rita ma'am was pleasantly surprised when teachers suddenly received a lot of completed notebooks on time with students literally following the teachers around in order to get their notebooks checked. “It was astonishing to see this. I thought that giving remarks like 'good work', 'well written' etc. only work in junior classes and elder students would not be motivated by it, but the success of this experiment changed my perspective about human behaviour,” says Rita Ma'am.
Reflecting on the micro-innovation that is now being implemented by the network teachers in their respective classrooms, she feels that it is important to give the right praise to the students that enables them to put in more efforts in whatever they do; thus, the growth mind-set is inculcated in them which in turn gives them courage to explore unchartered avenues. This as a process stands effective for teachers as well. As an Education Leader, she is trying her best to create a culture of sharing and acknowledging the innovations and efforts of her co-teachers and students alike, within and outside her school.