To Umesh Pandey, making learning exciting is what being a teacher is all about. Pandey, a Science and Math teacher in Almora, India, has written books, created a digital library and virtual classroom (by digitizing old books, manuscripts and documents), and developed two innovate computer programs that make learning about multiplication and Chemistry’s Periodic Table more student-friendly. “Chemistry Made Simpler,” which contributed to Pandey winning the Innovative Teachers Leadership Award (ITLA) in 2006, is now available on CDs and has been used in many classrooms throughout India. It is used as a state resource and is being replicated as a teaching aid across schools.
Since winning the ITLA award, Pandey went on to be honored by the government of India for his all-round contribution in education (2008) and as “Science Teacher of State” (2010). He is currently focused on simplifying mathematics in nature and the atomic structure.
Why is education important to you?
Education makes me an active member of the society who can bring positive changes in the field of Science and Mathematics. It helps me live a true democratic life, and enjoy
learning and facing difficult situations easily and logically.
Can you describe the teacher who most influenced you?
I have two teachers who have influenced me the most. Sri T.P. Joshi, my chemistry teacher in K-12 standard. He was a master in his subject. He always made an extra effort to make subjects easier and took care of most of his students. And Prof. V.K. Pandey, my mathematics teacher in B.Sc. standard. Mr. Pandey was genius in his subject and had a deep insight of subject. Mathematics appeared like a fun subject when he taught classes.
Describe the most inspiring day you’ve experienced as an educator.
As an educator, I was most inspired when Microsoft IT magazine (Sparsh) published a page-long story on a few of my academic works. Uttarakhand’s IT manager, Radha Chateerjee, brought it to me. It was a great moment for me because it was a total surprise.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
To be declared “One of The Most Innovative Educators in the World” in Helsinki, Finland 2007 for my work on Chemistry “Chemistry Made Simpler.”
About Chemistry Made Simpler: Chemistry Made Simpler focuses on more than forty properties of the each elements of Periodic Table in an interactive way. How a particular element looks, what are its ores, when it was discovered, what is its conductivity and resistivity, method of its extraction, its state (solid, liquid or gas), where it is used, it’s effect on environment, synthesis of compounds related to it and lot more. The student /learner can get the detailed information about every element.
If you could change one thing about today’s “system” of education, what would it be?
To help teachers feel more capable in their subject matter and teaching skills so that students can enjoy their time in the classroom.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
Today the best opportunity for innovation in education is to optimize different IT tools to
What advice would you give a new teacher?
Teachers today are required to be excellent. They have a responsibility to shape the
students of the 21st century who should more innovative, dedicated, and master communicators. Students need to have the skills to work in a group, and they must know how to access information and construct knowledge. Teachers must have a thirst for knowledge and have access to all sources of information.
What is your greatest hope for the future of education?
Today in India, the government has started to provide a quality education to students. I hope in the future we will have better-equipped schools and quality teachers. This will
allow Indian students to contribute more in shaping a better and peaceful nation and world.
About Umesh Pandey
Person who inspires me most: My students.
Favorite childhood memory: When I was young and in grade 12, sometimes I would go to my chemistry teacher’s home to learn chemistry. One day, he wanted me to be at his house by 5 a.m. But that morning, I had the wrong time on my watch and rushed to my teacher’s house at 2:30 a.m. My teacher was stunned to see me there at such an odd time, but he took me in the room and gave me a chemistry problem, and asked me to solve it a few different ways. I had lot of time, so I solved the question 14 different ways. At 5 a.m., when he came to check my work, he looked very pleased and gave me a smile of appreciation. It is an unforgettable day for me.
Favorite book: Rameshwaram To Rastrpati Bhawan by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam