“Education is the root for a healthy community. Education gives knowledge and prepares our children for a better future.” – Chitra Subramanian, India
“Teaching for me is not just a job; it’s a mission, a passion, a commitment and a purpose for my life,” says C. Subramanian. “My dream is to create an e-school where students will love to explore, learn and share beyond frontiers. The true success of a teacher is to be able to create joyful learning environments.” Subramanian, who has been teaching in her small Indian village since 1996, indeed embraces the daily challenges that come with her role. “After joining the teaching profession, I realized that there is so much to learn and there is no standard method of teaching,” she adds. “Each day a new challenge accidentally comes my way. To overcome them, there is a need to explore, learn and change.”
Subramanian, whom I met at the Partners in Learning 2011 Global Forum, is determined to give her students the best education possible. While technology can be an issue in her rural setting, she hasn’t let that stop her. For instance, Subramanian developed PowerPoint presentations, and then worked with her students to create their own. The project created such a buzz in her school, they turned the PowerPoint into a digital book. She has a wiki that she created to share her resources with other teachers, has participated in many national and international conferences and was the executive and general council member for three years on the National Council for Educational Research and Training in New Delhi. She also creates wikis for other teachers to work together and share resources.
Today, Subramanian shares her perspective on why education is so important, and what provides her inspiration each day.
Why is education important to you?
Education is the root for a healthy community. Education gives knowledge and prepares our children for a better future.
Can you describe the teacher who most influenced you?
I am lucky – I had many motivated teachers when I was in school. Mrs. Mallika, my 6th grade science teacher from Ganananda Matriculation Higher Secondary School, was the one who motivated and fostered my interest in science through lots of innovative activities. She is highly knowledgeable and very calm by nature. She always motivates her students to study well. She also knows every student’s background and guides them according to their capability. I wish to be like her as a sincere, dedicated teacher.
Describe the most inspiring day you’ve experienced as an educator.
The day my student used and prepared teaching aids using ICT to teach her peers. Additionally, one of my students, age eight, made a presentation by himself that he shared at the state level, with state project directors.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
I have created lots of digital lesson plans on various subjects to make my teaching very easy and interesting. My students use self-learning materials and score high marks in their exams. I also engage my students in project-based learning. My school’s students have won many awards for their participation in project-based learning. My proudest day was when I received the best IT teacher award from Honorable President of India in October 2012.
How can other educators facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned?
Most of the teachers are interested in using technology in education. But some of them are not aware of the usage of technology as they are used to the “chalk and talk” method. By adopting innovative methods and using technology, every teacher can achieve what I achieved.
If you could change one thing about today’s “system” of education, what would it be?
I would like to change the evaluation system, which is more marks oriented in this country. I would like to evaluate the students based on their understanding of the concept, rather than their ability to write a few words. Also I would like to change the traditional teaching methods (chalk and talk method) to activity-based learning.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
There is always hope for innovation in education. Innovative teachers with commitment and dedication, using tools like activity-based learning, will help the students to understand the concept.
What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?
Today’s student is very smart. Teachers must know various methods and skills for the new learner. Keep learning to become a successful teacher.
What is your greatest hope for the future of education?
Students and parents are the greatest hope for the future of education. Today, there is great awareness among parents and society about education — their expectations are very high, which will keep the education system more vibrant and student-centric.
Starting on November 28, teachers will be competing for one of the 12 Partners in Learning Global Forum Educators Awards. To attend the Global Forum, each teacher has already been chosen as a winner from among the 200,000 teachers who will compete in national and regional events.
Celebrate the best of worldwide education!
The Global Forum is the flagship event – a veritable Olympics for teaching and learning – for Partners in Learning, a key element of Microsoft’s recently announced YouthSpark initiative, in which we’ve committed to reach more than 300 million young people over the next several years. Partners in Learning helps educators and school leaders connect, collaborate, create and share so students can realize their greatest potential. It celebrates the world’s most innovative educators and school leaders for bringing technology to life in the classroom and impacting millions of students.
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About C. Subramanian
Chitra Subramanian is panchayat union school teacher with 15 years of work experience in village schools. Her project at the Partners in Learning Global Forum 2011 was about making learning of English Grammar easy. As an innovative teacher, she concentrated on usage of principles, resources, methods, materials and explanations that have not been incorporated before. Innovative teaching aimed at equipping the learner with all the skills necessary to face the challenges of the 21st century. To fulfill this she created an ICT atmosphere in classrooms. The use of multimedia changed the educational environment in her school as students now have wide choices. Use of text, video, animation, photos etc. helped in conveying the ideas in the best possible way.
- Birthplace: Manampoondi
- Current residence: Chennai-44
- Education: B.A., B.Ed.
- Website I check every day: Partners in Learning Network, arvindguptatoys.com, Facebook.com.
- Person who inspires me most: Swami Vivekananda, Eleanor Watts – UK school primary teacher and author of The Blackboard Book.
- Favorite childhood memory: Dancing, singing, craft work, participating in sports and cultural activities in my school days are all my favorite days.
- Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Georgia, where I look forward to understanding how they achieved 100 percent literacy.
- Favorite book: The Blackboard Book by Eleanor Watts, Ten Little Fingers by Arvind Gupta.